F1 Italian GP: Sainz stuns Verstappen for Monza pole

The session at Monza also formed the second 2023 qualifying session run to the Alternative Tyre Allocation rules that required the drivers to run the hards throughout Q1, mediums in Q2 and softs in Q3. 

Both Ferrari drivers had faced a post-qualifying investigation for failing to follow the race director’s instructions in terms of maximum laptime that had been set ahead of Saturday’s action to avoid traffic chaos in this session, based on the duration of their respective outlaps at the end of Q1. But just as qualifying concluded, it was announced that there would be no further action required by the stewards. 

In Q3, Sainz led Leclerc after the first runs – the Spaniard’s 1m20.532s giving him the edge by 0.032s over his team-mate, who had led the way and provided a handy tow. Verstappen, running ahead of the pack and followed by Perez, ended up running slightly wide out of the della Roggia chicane, as he trailed Sainz by 0.099s. 

On the second runs, Verstappen ran between the Ferrari pair – suggesting the tow factor at both Ferrari and Red Bull was not a critical consideration. Here, Leclerc led the way of the frontrunners and he blitzed to provisional pole with a 1m20.361s before Verstappen stole ahead. 

But Sainz would not be denied – having been the lead Ferrari driver throughout practice and until Leclerc’s final flier just seconds earlier – as he flashed through with a stunning late gain to claim pole with a 1m20.294s and send the home crowd into raptures. 

George Russell finished fourth, with Perez only fifth in the second Red Bull, while Alex Albon took sixth for WilliamsOscar Piastri ended up seventh for McLaren ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Earlier, Verstappen led Q2, where Yuki Tsunoda, Liam Lawson, Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant were knocked out. 

The middle segment featured Lawson reaching that stage for the first time in his short F1 career as Daniel Ricciardo’s injury replacement, while Hamilton needed a big final lap to jump from the drop zone after the first runs to progressing in Q2 sixth. 

In Q1, which Verstappen topped despite losing his first lap to a track limits violation at the second Lesmo, Zhou Guanyu, Alpine pair Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll were eliminated. 

Ocon had two dramatic moments in that session – nearly colliding with Norris when on a preparation lap and the McLaren was flying towards the Parabolica and then running into the gravel exiting the Ascari chicane mid-way through the opening segment. 

Read Also:

F1 Italian GP – Qualifying results

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