Valtteri Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton to claim pole position for Formula 1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
Formula 1 has returned to Imola after a 14-year absence, on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, marking the third visit to Italy in 2020.
Hamilton held the advantage after the opening Q3 runs but Bottas turned the tables in the final stages of the 12-minute shootout.
Bottas clocked a time of 1:13.609 to edge Hamilton by just 0.097s.
It maintained Mercedes’ unbeaten record in qualifying this season.
Nearest rival Max Verstappen, who recovered from a spark plug issue that threatened to derail his day in Q2, finished half a second adrift in third.
The great Gasly stars for home team
Italy has two Formula 1 teams represented on the grid and while Ferrari is the most distinguished AlphaTauri’s factory is located just 15km away from Imola at Faenza.
Pierre Gasly, who showed strong pace in the sole practice session, led AlphaTauri’s charge and claimed fourth place in order to join ex-team-mate Verstappen on the second row of the grid.
AlphaTauri team-mate Daniil Kvyat also made it through to Q3 and while he classified within two-tenths of Gasly the closely-fought nature of the session meant he finished eighth.
Daniel Ricciardo classified fifth for Renault, in front of Alexander Albon, who once more fell shy of getting on par with team-mate Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc fronted Ferrari’s challenge to take seventh as team-mate Sebastian Vettel failed to make it through to Q3.
McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top 10.
Racing Point suffers double Q2 exit
Racing Point holds third in the Constructors’ Championship but had both cars knocked out in the second segment of qualifying.
Sergio Perez missed out on a top 10 spot by just 0.010s while Lance Stroll finished at the foot of the 15-driver session after having a lap time deleted.
George Russell made it out of Q1 once more and even challenged for the Q3 spots, coming three-tenths shy, and out-qualifying Vettel for a second successive round.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon took 12th as his Saturday struggles continued.
Predictable at the back
There was a similar trend at the back of the grid with the Haas drivers, Alfa Romeo duo and sole rookie Nicholas Latifi dumped out in Q1.
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were 16th and 17th respectively as the Dane wrecked his prospects of progressing when he went off through Rivazza.
Kimi Raikkonen set a time quick enough for Q2 but it was erased after he exceeded track limits.
Nicholas Latifi missed some of practice after a brake-by-wire problem and again trailed Williams team-mate Russell.
Sole home representative Antonio Giovinazzi finished as the slowest of the 20 drivers.
Formula 1’s 63-lap Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is scheduled for 13:10 local time on Sunday.
|3||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:14.176||+0.567|
|6||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:14.572||+0.963|
|11||S. Perez||Racing Point||1:15.061|
|15||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:15.494|
|18||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:15.953|
|20||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:16.208|