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Carlos Sainz scored pole position for the Italian GP, much to the delight of the tifosi crowd. The Spaniard, who turned 29 yesterday, narrowly beat Max Verstappen with a 1:20.294s.
F1 Italian GP qualifying: Who will be on pole?
Carlos Sainz will be on pole for the Italian GP. The Spaniard, who had topped both FP2 and FP3, scored his fourth career pole position. It was his first of the season, beating Max Verstappen to the top spot by a mere 0.013s. Charles Leclerc was third, with George Russell and Sergio Perez completing the top 5.
Q1: Verstappen on top, Alpine and Stroll out early
Under the ATA rules, Q1 was run on hard tyres. Verstappen was the first driver to set a fast lap, but the defending Italian GP winner had his time deleted for a track limits infraction. It allowed Alexander Albon to briefly jump into the lead of the session, although the Williams was later demoted once Verstappen got his second attempt in.
The first part of qualifying was quite frantic, with laptimes quickly improving in sucession and the order shaking up. Towards the final run, some unusual names found themselves near the bottom of the field. Among them were Oscar Piastri, Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, and Lance Stroll.
While Piastri was able to get by in 11th, Gasly, Ocon and Stroll weren’t as fortunate. Ocon, who had picked up damage to the underfloor of his Alpine after a wild ride through the Ascari chicane, could only manage 18th. Gasly, fresh off his podium at Zandvoort, did only slightly better in 17th. Stroll finished last, over a second away from the cutoff. Joining the three were Zhou Guanyu and Kevin Magnuseen.
Liam Lawson, in only his second Grand Prix weekend, advanced to Q2 for the first time. His teammate Yuki Tsunoda was even more impressive, securing fourth place in his final attempt. Williams also showed real pace, with Albon jumping back to second at the drop of the checkered, and Logan Sargeant moving up to sixth.
On a side note, both Ferraris were investigated for slowing down below the minimum speed during their preparation lap, but were only given a reprimand.
Q2: Verstappen leads from Leclerc, Sainz
For Q2, drivers had to run on the mediums. Verstappen was again the first driver to set a time, followed by Albon and Perez. Sainz jumped to the top with his first attempt, becoming the first driver to dip into the 1:20s range in qualifying. Leclerc went third, with Albon and Perez completing the top 5.
Lewis Hamilton found himself down in 12th, while Sargeant was down in 14th. The Mercedes driver managed to advance in sixth place, but the Williams driver failed to improve on his previous attempt and finished down in 15th, last among the Q2 runners.
McLaren narrowly got through, with Piastri only eighth and Lando Norris being the last driver to advance, in 10th position, just over a hundredth up on 11th place. There were no changes to the top 5 right until the end, when improvements came in for Verstappen, Leclerc and Perez. The Dutchman topped the session from the Monegasque, with Perez moving to fourth behind Sainz.
Q3: Sainz beats Verstappen by 0.013s for pole
Verstappen was yet again the first man out on track. A minor off exiting Roggia cost the Red Bull driver, leaving him down in third. Ferrari went 1-2 on the first run, with Sainz leading Leclerc by a mere 0.032s, and Verstappen 0.099s back.
The fight for pole was close. Leclerc was the first driver to set a time during the second run, and went top with a 1:20.361. Verstappen managed to beat the Monegasque’s time with a 1:20.307, briefly taking pole away from Ferrari. But it was practice dominator Sainz who got the last laugh: with a 1:20.294, the Spaniard secured a popular home pole for the Scuderia.
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