Valtteri Bottas will start the Italian Grand Prix Sprint from top spot after setting the fastest time during qualifying at Monza.
Formula 1 is in the second of three trials of its Sprint format with an 18-lap race on Saturday afternoon set to determine the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.
Bottas clocked a time of 1:19.555s to finish 0.096s clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the reigning World Champions dominated the session.
Bottas will be able to compete for honours in Sprint but will start from the rear of the grid for Sunday’s race after
Championship leader Max Verstappen was third, over four-tenths behind Bottas, as Red Bull was unable to mount a realistic threat.
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez was only ninth-fastest.
McLaren shows strong speed
McLaren was strong at Monza in 2020 and it continued that form into 2021 with Lando Norris fourth and Daniel Ricciardo fifth.
Norris finished within a few hundredths of Verstappen while Ricciardo followed just six-thousandths behind his team-mate.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, victor of last year’s race at Monza, maintained his impressive qualifying form by taking sixth, ahead of Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
Antonio Giovinazzi made it through to Q3 for the second successive weekend and will line up from 10th place.
Aston Martin, Alpine fail to make Q2
Aston Martin had displayed eye-catching pace during practice but neither Sebastian Vettel nor Lance Stroll made it through to Q3, taking 11th and 12th respectively.
They were followed by Alpine duo Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon as the team failed to make much impression throughout the day.
George Russell was provisionally knocked out in Q1 until being handed an olive branch when Yuki Tsunoda’s lap time was deleted, dropping the Japanese rookie down the order.
But Russell was unable to repeat his recent heroics and finished Q2 as the slowest of the 15 drivers.
Tsunoda dumped out in Q1
Tsunoda’s wide moment demoted him to 17th, behind Nicholas Latifi, who came perilously close to striking a rabbit that darted across the circuit at Lesmo 2.
Mick Schumacher claimed 18th, jumping ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica, who is again substituting for Covid-positive Kimi Räikkönen.
Kubica was baulked on one hot lap by Haas’ Nikita Mazepin, who finished at the rear of the 20-car field, with stewards set to investigate the incident.
Saturday’s 18-lap Sprint is scheduled for 16:30 local time
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:19.966||0.411|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr||Ferrari||1:20.462||0.907|
|9||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1:20.611||1.056|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:20.808||1.253|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||1:20.913|
|12||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:21.020|
|19||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo||1:22.530|
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