Leclerc on pole for F1 Italian GP after late farce stops final runs

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix after a farcical climax to Formula 1 qualifying

Leclerc on pole for F1 Italian GP after late farce stops final runs

Leclerc put his Ferrari on pole position with a lap of 1m20.126s on his first run in Q3, giving him an advantage of 0.039s over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

But with the tow crucial at Monza, ahead of the second runs the 10 Q3 drivers engaged in a 'slow race' for the ideal position to start their flying laps, with most failing to make it to the end of the lap before the chequered flag.

This meant no driver was able to improve their time on the second run, with Hamilton complaining that the Ferrari drivers had held everyone up and "just timed everyone out".

The stewards are investigating "the last lap of qualifying", with drivers having previously been warned about slow outlaps.

Valtteri Bottas, who just completed his first lap before the red flags flew in Q3 for Kimi Raikkonen spinning into the wall at Parabolica, was third fastest, just 0.004s slower than his team-mate.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest in the second Ferrari, a tenth off Bottas and ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth fastest ahead of Carlos Sainz, who was the slowest of the seven drivers to set a time in Q3.

Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Raikkonen were classified eighth, ninth and 10th respectively, with none of them posting a time.

While Raikkonen's was thanks to his first-run crash, which crucially cost Hamilton time on his first run, Albon and Stroll were unable to complete a lap thanks to the late-session shenanigans.

Antonio Giovinazzi showed how big a difference a tiny gap can make and ended up as the fastest of the five drivers eliminated in Q2, despite lapping just two-thousandths slower than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Giovinazzi jumped Haas driver Kevin Magnussen with his final lap, with the Haas driver ending up a tenth slower in 12th place after failing to improve on his first Q2 run time.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat was 13th fastest, with the rear stepping out at the exit of the second chicane on his final attempt and leading to him take a bite of the gravel.

That lap was his fastest and was enough to put him ahead of two drivers who did not mount serious Q2 attempts - thanks to having back-of-the-grid penalties for power unit changes - in McLaren's Lando Norris and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

Romain Grosjean was quickest of those eliminated in the first segment of qualifying in 16th place despite lapping just 0.658s off Q1 pacesetter Leclerc.

The Haas driver was in trouble after the first runs in Q1, which were separated by a four-minute red flag caused by Sergio Perez's Racing Point stopping on track, but did improve on the second attempt.

This temporarily put him into the top 15, but improvements by Sainz and Stroll meant he missed out on advancing after lapping 0.061s slower than Kvyat.

Perez, who ground to a halt at Curva Grande after suffering a loss of power at the end of his first run, ended up 17th.

The red flag did not cause much disruption as it fell between the first and second runs of the drivers.

But Vettel was on a lap that was set to be an improvement running on mediums that he had to abandon, and he subsequently did go out on softs as a precautionary measure and did not set a time.

George Russell won the intra-Williams battle for the slowest driver in qualifying, lapping 0.556s faster than Robert Kubica.

That put them 18th and 19th, with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen not setting a time after reporting a lack of power on his run.

Verstappen was always set to start at the rear thanks to being one of three drivers with a back-of-the-grid penalty, along with Gasly and Norris.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m19.307s -
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.346s 0.039s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m19.354s 0.047s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.457s 0.150s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m19.839s 0.532s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m20.049s 0.742s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m20.455s 1.148s
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda - -
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes - -
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m20.517s -
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m20.615s -
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m20.630s -
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m20.784s -
14 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m21.800s -
15 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m22.356s -
16 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m21.068s -
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m21.125s -
18 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m21.291s -
19 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda - -
20 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari - -


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