Carlos Sainz edges Verstappen to secure Monza pole

Carlos Sainz edges Verstappen to secure Monza pole

Carlos Sainz edged Max Verstappen to claim first place in qualifying at Monza, fulfilling his dream of securing the pole position for Ferrari’s home Grand Prix in front of the cheering Tifosi.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz set the fastest marks in two out of the three practice sessions thanks to Ferrari, which displayed remarkable speed. The Spaniard went fastest in Q3 to topple Verstappen, as the Maranello squad maintained the good form.

Sainz faced the possibility of losing the lead when he was placed under investigation for disobeying the race director’s order to meet a minimum lap time while on a slow lap to avoid traffic on the course.

The stewards, however, declared that there would be no additional investigation and that the legendary Monza pole remained safe.

Sainz’ final lap of 1:20.294s was just 0.013s faster than Verstappen’s. Charles Leclerc came incredibly close to securing a Ferrari front-row lockout but was had to settle for P3 ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, who was followed by Sergio Perez and Alexander Albon.

A new qualifying format that required all drivers to use specific tyre compounds in various stages of the session was put to the test at Monza as well. They were all equipped with hard tyres, which resulted in a warm-up struggle on the weekend’s most challenging compound.

However, it was a disastrous session for Alpine as both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon failed to make the first cut at the end of Q1, placing them P17 and P18 on the grid. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll remained in bottom place.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen were the first to leave the pits for the session. Max Verstappen quickly followed suit, but Ferrari left their fanss waiting a little bit longer before joining the action.

Verstappen quickly topped the rankings with a speed of 1:22.047s, putting him a tenth faster than Mercedes’ George Russell. However, the lap was later deleted for exceeding track limits at turn 7.

Russell lost the lead to Alex Albon after a flying lap in the Williams, and Sergio Perez moved up to third after the Red Bull’s oil leak was fixed during the break since FP3. Alonso became the most recent driver to have a lap taken away as morning pacesetter Carlos Sainz finally made his first lap placing fourth, with his teammate Charles Leclerc in eighth.

Albon was finally ousted from first place in the times by Perez, and Verstappen followed by putting everyone else in their place with a new record of 1:21.573s while Alonso moved up to third.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who struggled to complete a clean lap after skimming the gravel at turn 10, was also behind in the drop zone while his teammate Pierre Gasly complained of brake issues.

With Albon putting in a late surge to finish second ahead of Charles Leclerc, Tsunoda, and Perez, Verstappen didn’t need to gain any additional time to take first place. Logan Sargeant attested to Williams’ strong performance, placing sixth behind Sainz, Hamilton, Norris, and Alonso.

Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, the Alpine duo, and Haas Kevin Magnussen got eliminated in the first round. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll suffered the price for not having any running time on Friday and finished last among everyone.

Starting the second round on used mediums, Verstappen took the lead while Perez followed closely after in quest of a tow. Verstappen was the fastest even without the assist, clocking in at 1:21.035s, about four tenths faster than Perez.

Albon regained his speed and passed the Bulls before the Ferraris arrived on the scene. Sainz beat Verstappen by 0.044 seconds, while Leclerc passed the Williams to take third place, demoting Perez to fifth place ahead of Alonso, Norris, and Oscar Piastri.

Russell landed in sixth place while Hamilton came in only 12th after being delayed by cars leaving the pit lane. The Mercedes duo were the last to finish a lap. He was put in the drop zone alongside Nico Hulkenberg, Liam Lawson, Logan Sargeant, and Valtteri Bottas. Despite this, all of them still had time to do additional runs, and everything was still up for grabs.

Albon lead Sargeant back out with a tow, but the American’s lap was sloppy and he was eliminated. Tsunoda, Lawson, Hulkenberg, and Bottas were also left out.

Verstappen swiftly surpassed Leclerc after the Monesgague had briefly taken the lead. Sainz settled for third position ahead of Perez, Albon, Hamilton, Russell, Piastri, and Alonso.

Bottas’ out-lap delay at the beginning of Norris’ final drive caused him to finish 13 thousandths outside the cut.

As the track went green and soft tyres were now required for all ten of the remaining cars, Verstappen and Perez were once more quick to get around. Verstappen was quick, but as he struggled to maintain his line, he tripped on some gravel in the second chicane, costing him a crucial tenth of a second.

Due to this, Sainz and Leclerc were able to take the lead, followed by Verstappen in third, Russell, Albon, and Perez followed by the two McLarens. Alonso was provisional P10 and tenth of a second slower than Hamilton, who was merely the ninth-fastest driver.

Sainz set the fastest time among the Ferraris, clocking in at 1:20.294 seconds. Verstappen was unable to match that and came up short by 0.013 seconds. Leclerc, whose early blistering lap faded in the closing laps, finished third ahead of Russell, Perez, and Albon while Piastri finished seventh ahead of Hamilton. Norris dropped to ninth place ahead of Alonso.

2023 F1 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING RESULTS

POS.DRIVERNAT.TEAMQ1Q2Q3
1Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m21.965s1m20.991s1m20.294s
2Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m21.573s1m20.937s1m20.307s
3Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m21.788s1m20.977s1m20.361s
4George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m22.148s1m21.382s1m20.671s
5Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m21.911s1m21.240s1m20.688s
6Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m21.661s1m21.272s1m20.760s
7Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m22.106s1m21.527s1m20.785s
8Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m21.977s1m21.369s1m20.820s
9Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m21.995s1m21.581s1m20.979s
10Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m22.043s1m21.543s1m21.417s
11Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m21.852s1m21.594s 
12Liam LawsonNZLScuderia AlphaTauri1m22.112s1m21.758s 
13Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m22.343s1m21.776s 
14Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m22.249s1m21.940s 
15Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m21.930s1m21.944s 
16Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m22.390s  
17Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m22.545s  
18Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m22.548s  
19Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m22.592s  
20Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m22.860s

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