Valtteri Bottas to start P1 for The Sprint at Monza after qualifying

10-09-2021 18:04
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Valtteri Bottas to start P1 for The Sprint at Monza after qualifying

Valtteri Bottas will start from P1 in The Sprint tomorrow, after qualifying ahead of the rest of the competition this evening. The Mercedes driver finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in second and third respectively. The Finn will start with his teammate on the front row of the grid tomorrow for The Sprint, but will have to start from the back of the grid come Sunday.

The McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo followed the front three, Pierre Gasly finished in sixth. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc claimed seventh and eighth, Sergio Perez was ninth and Antonio Giovinazzi claimed the final spot in Q3.

Lap times removed and traffic key features in Q1

Ferrari, Haas and Williams were first on track to try and jump the traffic predicted. Sainz and Leclerc sat on top of the timings charts until Verstappen and Norris moved ahead of Sainz into second and first respectively. As cars started to file out of the pitlane, the track filled up and caused issues for some of the drivers on their fast lap. Bottas and Hamilton then moved into first, with a 1:20.543 lap for the latter of the Mercedes duo. 

As the session continued, the traffic piled up and caused issues for many of the drivers. Majorly, Verstappen. The Red Bull driver was approaching the Ascari Chicane and had to abort a fast lap, before shouting his feelings down the team radio. A large number of drivers had their laps removed in Q1 due to track limits. It came down to all the final laps of Q1 to decide the elimination zone. Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda and Sebastian Vettel were the drivers most at risk, but the Aston Martin drivers were able to move into Q2. Tsunoda's lap time that moved him into Q2 was deleted.

OUT IN Q1 - Mazepin, Kubica, Schumacher, Tsunoda, Latifi

Mercedes on top in Q2

All cars were out on track within two minutes of Q2 starting and the traffic built up quickly, once again. Red Bull didn't appear to have the pace at the start of the second qualifying session, as both Perez and Verstappen were 1.210 seconds and 0.774 seconds off the Mercedes duo at the front. After the first fast laps of the session were done, it was a Mercedes one-two at the front, followed by a McLaren three-four.

As teams got ready to leave the pitlane for their second attempts at a fast lap, an incident almost occurred. Vettel's Aston Martin was released into a large amount of traffic, which almost caused a collision with Hamilton and a collision with an Alpine mechanic. Mercedes sat one-two at the end of Q2, followed by Norris, Verstappen and Ricciardo.

OUT IN Q2 - Russell, Ocon, Alonso, Stroll, Vettel

Tight battle in Q3

10 drivers out meant less traffic and it was a lot easier for the drivers to set a lap time without having to worry. Yet, the tow from cars in front came up important for Verstappen and Norris. Hamilton led the way after the first set of fast laps, followed by the Dutchman and the young Brit. It was Ricciardo behind Norris and Bottas in P5. The teams then left the pit lane with two minutes left to start their second runs, with a 10-driver train being strung across the whole track. 

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