Bottas wins sprint qualifying race and yet Verstappen is on pole

Valtteri Bottas won Formula 1’s second sprint qualifying race at Monza, finishing ahead of Max Verstappen, while Lewis Hamilton was only fifth after making a poor start from alongside Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo took third for McLaren ahead of his teammate Lando Norris, who kept Hamilton at bay for the duration of the 18-lap race, which was disrupted by a first-lap crash for last year’s winner Pierre Gasly.

The result means Verstappen will start Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from the front of the grid, with Ricciardo alongside him on the front row, as Bottas will drop to the rear of the field for taking a fresh power unit before Friday evening qualifying.

At the start, Bottas led easily away from pole, chased by Verstappen, as Hamilton’s slow getaway meant he was forced to defend against Lando’s run to the inside of the first corner.

The defending world champion was then swamped by Ricciardo and Gasly on his left-hand side and as the pack closed together for the first corners Hamilton was squeezed behind the AlphaTauri and Norris on his right to drop to fifth by Turn 2’s exit.

As Bottas, Verstappen and Ricciardo ran clear through the long Curve Grande, Gasly, who had briefly tagged the McLaren’s left-rear and damaged his front wing as a result, shot off into the gravel when his wing broke apart and went underneath his front wheels.

Gasly skated across the gravel on the outside and crashed into the barriers, bouncing back into the gravel before coming to a stop where the Frenchman climbed out.

The incident meant the safety car was called – just after a clash between Yuki Tsunoda and Robert Kubica between the two apexes of the della Roggia chicane spun the latter around – as Gasly’s car was recovered.

The race restarted on lap four of 18, with Bottas romping clear to a 1.6 seconds lead over Verstappen, with Hamilton chasing by a pair of McLarens – both on the soft tyres versus the mediums on the two leaders and the second Mercedes.

As Norris held Hamilton at bay, even as DRS was activated at the start of lap six, Ricciardo quickly fell away from Bottas and Verstappen.

The leaders were the only drivers able to lap in the one minute, 23 seconds and by lap 10 they were over five seconds clear of Ricciardo.

Bottas and Verstappen exchanged fastest laps, but the Mercedes’ advantage never looked under threat as the gap fluctuated towards and then back from the two-second mark approaching the two-thirds-completed mark.

The leading duo continued to pull away from Ricciardo over the rest of the race, with Bottas in command up front – eventually winning by 2.3 seconds.

Ricciardo came home 14.5 seconds behind the winner, with Norris defying Hamilton, who at times was sliding around dramatically in his countryman’s wake, to the flag, where Hamilton ended up 20-seconds behind his victorious teammate.

Charles Leclerc led home his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in sixth and seventh – the former recovering from feeling unwell at the end of FP2 to take the start of the sprint race from eighth, where he climbed from in the first lap melee at the opening turns.

Sainz, who’s Ferrari had been hastily rebuilt after his heavy FP2 crash at Ascari, came home where he started and ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Alfa Romeo driver held off the charging Sergio Perez to the finish, with the Red Bull driver involved in the race’s other main flashpoint – his attempts to pass Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll on lap nine.

After attacking to the outside of Turn 1, Perez cut across the raised kerbs in the runoff beyond and stayed ahead as the pair raced towards Curve Grande.

Red Bull ordered him to give the place back, which he did approaching Ascari on the same lap, and on the next tour Perez pulled off a similar move at Turn 1 to get in front of Stroll and then start his ultimately fruitless pursuit of Giovinazzi.

Stroll finished P10 ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Tsunoda pitted after his clash with Kubica and recovered back up the order to finish P16 with Kimi Raikkonen’s temporary replacement at Alfa Romeo coming home between the Haas cars in P18, as Gasly was the race’s only retirement.

Italian Grand Prix, sprint qualifying results:

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 27:54.078
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 2.325
3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 14.534
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 18.835
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 20.011
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 23.442
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 27.952
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 31.089
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 31.680
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 38.671
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 39.795
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 41.177
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 43.373
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 45.977
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 46.821
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 49.977
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:02.599
18 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:05.096
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:06.154
20 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda DNF

5 thoughts to “Bottas wins sprint qualifying race and yet Verstappen is on pole”

  1. Italian Grand Prix sprint qualifying review as reported by

    Valtteri Bottas has triumphed in the second ever F1 Sprint at Monza – but it’s second-placed Max Verstappen who claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, with Bottas set to start the race from the back of the grid on Sunday after a raft of power unit changes despite a faultless drive from P1 in the 18-lap, 100km Sprint from the Finn.

    Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, finished third, Lando Norris fourth, with Lewis Hamilton finishing fifth after starting P2.

    As the lights went out, Hamilton had a nightmare start from P2, mugged by Verstappen, both of the soft-shod McLarens and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly to sit sixth by the time he reached Curva Grande, as Bottas led Verstappen, the fast-starting Ricciardo and Norris – Ricciardo having passed his team mate after starting P4.

    Gasly, though, had made light contact with the rear of Ricciardo at Turn 1, and as he rounded the Curva Grande, the AlphaTauri driver’s front wing went under his front wheels, Gasly spearing into the gravel and hitting the wall. The Safety Car was brought out, but not before Yuki Tsunoda and Robert Kubica made contact, Kubica spinning around.

    The Safety Car was in by Lap 4, with Bottas acing the restart to sit 1.5s clear of Verstappen by the end of the lap, Verstappen then ahead of Ricciardo, Norris and Hamilton in P5, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in sixth and seventh for Ferrari – Sainz’s SF21 having been rebuilt after his FP2 crash – with the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi P8.

    By Lap 5 meanwhile, Lance Stroll had climbed to P9 after starting on used softs, having passed the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez into Turn 1. Lap 9 saw Perez attacking Stroll back into Turn 1, Perez driving onto the run-off but holding the position for half a lap before his engineer instructed him to give the position back – with Perez pulling off the legitimate pass a lap later at the same spot.

    Hamilton, meanwhile, was doubtless frustrated as, lap after lap, he sat on the rear wing of fourth-placed Lando Norris but couldn’t seem to find a way past the Mercedes-engined McLaren – with the Ricciardo-led group having dropped 10 seconds behind the fast-running Bottas and Verstappen fight with five laps to go.

    Verstappen wasn’t attempting to make much of an impression on Bottas, knowing full well that a penalty would be afflicting the Finn for Sunday’s Grand Prix. And as the laps ticked quickly by at the Temple of Speed, it was Bottas who swept across the line at the end of Lap 18 to claim three points for the F1 Sprint win, 2.325s ahead of Verstappen who took two points.

    Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, put himself on the front row of the grid for the first time since Mexico 2018, finishing third – set to be bumped to P2 on Sunday after Bottas’ penalty. Lando Norris was able to hold off Hamilton by 1.176s to claim fourth, with Hamilton fifth ahead of the Ferrari duo led by Leclerc.

    Giovinazzi, driving for his career at Alfa Romeo, took eighth, holding off the assails of Perez in the Red Bull, who finished ahead of Lance Stroll as the Canadian rounded out the top 10.

    Fernando Alonso was 11th, ahead of the second Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel and the second Alpine of Esteban Ocon. Nicholas Latifi pipped team mate George Russell to P14, Russell P15 as Tsunoda recovered to P16 after his Lap 1 snafu with Kubica.

    Having climbed as high as P15 after starting last, Nikita Mazepin eventually wound up P17, ahead of Kubica and Mick Schumacher, with Gasly the sole retirement.

    So, having never qualified higher than P5 at Monza, it’s Max Verstappen who’s set to start on pole in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, with the McLaren duo of Ricciardo and Norris behind – with Verstappen having moved five points clear of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings for good measure.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton expecting “easy win” for Max Verstappen in Italian Grand Prix following the sprint qualifying session. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton expects Formula 1 title rival Max Verstappen to score an “easy win” in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix after inheriting pole from Saturday sprint race winner Valtteri Bottas.

    Bottas and Mercedes teammate Hamilton locked out the front row for the start of the sprint race, only for Hamilton to make a poor start and drop to fifth place on the opening lap.

    Bottas dominated proceedings in the 18-lap race, going lights-to-flag for the win and three bonus points, but will not start from pole tomorrow because of a grid penalty for taking a new power unit.

    It means Verstappen will line up on pole, while Hamilton will start fourth behind the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris after struggling to get close enough to pass them in the sprint race.

    Hamilton felt he “lost a lot of points” after his bad start, having seen Verstappen pull a further two points clear in the drivers’ championship thanks to his second-place finish.

    Hamilton anticipated that Verstappen would only extend that lead in the race tomorrow, tipping the Dutchman to take a comfortable victory.

    “You saw the pace of the Red Bull,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know if he was quicker than Valtteri, but they’re so fast, and now he’s on pole.

    “So it should be an easy win for him. Me, I’ve just got to try and get past these two guys [McLarens] ahead.”

    Red Bull had downplayed its chances heading to Monza, with the track traditionally suiting the Mercedes cars through the V6 hybrid era.

    The team’s assessment seemed to ring true in qualifying on Friday as Verstappen failed to get in the fight for pole with the Mercedes, but Hamilton felt Red Bull had been underplayed its true pace all year.

    “I think they’ve got more pace than you think they’ve had all year,” Hamilton said.

    “They bring upgrades every week. I think from what I’m told, there’s only one race where they haven’t brought an upgrade, and then they’re constantly adding performance to the car.

    “They did a great job, but well done to Valtteri today.”

    Hamilton sat within DRS range of Norris for the majority of the sprint race, but the McLaren driver held on despite fears his soft tyres may not hold up against Hamilton’s mediums.

    “We underestimated how well they would behave,” Hamilton said of the soft tyres.

    “Anyway, [I’ve] got to try and figure out how I can get by the McLarens tomorrow, and try to limit the damage.”

  3. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez commented that this new format is “very boring” and the F1 sprint races “don’t bring anything” new to shake up the order. has the full details.

    Sergio Perez believes Formula 1’s sprint races are “very boring” for both drivers and fans, and don’t “bring anything” to the series in their current format.

    F1 staged its second sprint race on Saturday at Monza after debuting the 100km event at Silverstone back in July, setting the grid for the Sunday grand prix after holding qualifying on Friday.

    But, just as at Silverstone, the Monza sprint race failed to offer much on-track action, with only a handful of overtakes taking place after the first lap.

    Red Bull driver Perez started and finished the sprint race in ninth place, but was one of the few drivers to make an overtake, passing Lance Stroll for P9 on lap 10 of 18.

    Perez explained that the difficulty in overtaking and the lack of tyre degradation at Monza meant there was “nothing really to do” in the sprint race.

    Asked by what he made of the sprint race format so far, Perez called it “very boring”.

    “There’s nothing happening in it, and I don’t see the benefit of having the sprint race,” Perez said.

    “I can imagine it’s also boring for fans, boring for drivers. It doesn’t bring anything to be honest.”

    Perez added: “I think at the moment, how it is, the current format, I don’t feel it brings anything.

    “But obviously it’s done to improve the show, and we’ll see if the fans are happy with it.”

    F1 is set to host three sprint races at grands prix this year, and is already reviewing the format ahead of a possible expansion in 2022.

    F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn revealed to Autosport/ this week that one option would be making the sprint races standalone events, having no bearing on the Sunday starting grid.

    But Perez felt the biggest issue right now was the pace delta required to overtake a car in front, particularly at a track such as Monza.

    “The problem that we have is with the current Formula 1 cars, to actually overtake, you need a very big delta across cars,” Perez said.

    “To achieve that, you have to have some kind of degradation. I think they’ve probably taken the wrong tracks as well. But I don’t know where it can be a good place to try it.

    “The problem is it’s too short and you don’t hit any degradation.”

    Perez acknowledged that if the redesigned cars in 2022 manage to cut the required pace delta down, then “probably it can bring something” to F1.

    “Fans will like a bit more overtaking in the race,” Perez said.

    “But with the current regs, it’s really hard to get anything.”

  4. Even though he qualified on pole position in Friday’s qualifying session and winning the sprint race, an engine penalty means Valtteri Bottas is not the official Monza 2021 F1 pole winner and he find this “annoying”. has the details.

    Valtteri Bottas says not getting Formula 1’s official 2021 Italian GP pole statistic – despite topping qualifying and winning the sprint race – due to a grid penalty is “annoying”.

    The Mercedes driver will not be officially credited with pole for the Monza event after the FIA decided that the accolade would usually go to the winner of F1 sprint events, which are being trialled at three events this season.

    But Mercedes’ decision to give Bottas his fourth engine of 2021 ahead of Friday evening qualifying – something team trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said was down to it noticing “an issue with Valtteri’s power unit towards the end of [FP1] and we didn’t have endless time to investigate so we decided to take a new power unit whilst there was still time to change it” – means he will drop to the back of the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.

    After chasing Bottas throughout Saturday’s sprint race, following title rival Lewis Hamilton’s poor start from alongside his Mercedes team-mate on the front row, second place sprint finisher Max Verstappen is instead set to be officially credited with the official pole.

    As per the often-cited situation of Michael Schumacher not getting the official pole stat for the 2012 Monaco GP (which went to eventual race winner Mark Webber) as he served a grid penalty for crashing into Bruno Senna’s Williams at the previous event in Spain, Verstappen will likely add the Monza pole to his previous 10 as he will start from first on the grid on Sunday.

    When asked how irritating it was to have effectively taken pole twice – considering the driver on top in Q3 has received pole at every race between Bahrain 2006 and Silverstone 2021, where F1 held its first sprint race experiment – Bottas replied: “For sure it’s annoying having done a good last two days.

    “Good performance and then you kind of reset completely for the day after and start from the back.

    “But those kind of things, they’re out of my hands so I’m not going to waste too much energy or be too negative about it because there is nothing absolutely I can do about it.

    “The only thing I can do is try my best and go full gas tomorrow.

    “But at least I got a few points – every point counts. For me personally and for us as a team. And a beautiful medal.”

    When it came to how he feels about starting last for Sunday’s grand prix event after a “perfect” Monza event up to now, Bottas said: “What can I say?

    “It’s been [a] perfect weekend so far and then I have a grid penalty. That happens.

    “But it’s good to see that we have a strong car here, good pace. I’ll be fighting tomorrow to come as high as I can.

    “[A] podium is possible. Anything is possible to be honest.

    “If you look at the race last year [and] what happened [with Pierre Gasly winning a chaotic and disrupted race], you never know so I’ll keep pushing.”

  5. Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has defended the sport’s new sprint format after the second of three planned experiments in Italy.

    The Monza sprint has been criticised by fans and even drivers after a perceived lack of action on the track.

    The event also served to split title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

    Having qualified second and third, they will now be separated by the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris on Sunday, with Verstappen first and Hamilton fourth.

    Valtteri Bottas won the sprint qualifying event on the road, but he drops to the back of the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix with an engine change penalty.

    “The whole weekend is evolving, we’ve got a three-stage event,” said Brawn. “We’ve got quite a different complexion on the race tomorrow than we thought we had after qualifying on Friday. So I think it’s great in that respect.

    “A little bit quiet at the front of the grid, but then you get that at races anyway. Plenty of action in the middle.

    “Plenty of action at the start, we had a very exciting start. So I think it’s added to it, I think it’s added to the whole thing.”

    Brawn agreed that greater tyre variety than seen in the first sprint at Silverstone, with more teams opting for the soft tyre, added to the show. Ricciardo and Norris used it to jump ahead of Hamilton off the start.

    “Well, that’s what I think I mean, you know that this has brought a different complexion to tomorrow, McLaren made a brave decision.

    “The consequence was that they are now higher up the grid tomorrow. And as people start to see what they can do in the sprint, then we hope they’re going to bring more variety.”

    Asked by if fans would be disappointed that Verstappen and Hamilton were now split on the grid for Sunday’s race, he said: “I guess it depends which fans you talk to! But they were together today.

    “Lewis made a bad start, if he’d made a bad start tomorrow, could be the race was over, but now at least he’s got an opportunity.”

    Brawn conceded that the Monza event saw less overtaking than he had expected, although he’s convinced that the 2022 rules package will improve the situation.

    “We’re optimistic that next year’s car is going to help a lot. But I must say I was surprised how difficult it was to overtake, even with DRS.

    “This was one of the races we selected because we thought there would be more opportunity, but as the race panned out, that didn’t seem to be the case. So next year’s car will definitely be a step forward.”

    Brawn stressed that this was always going to be an experiment over three events, with the last to come in Interlagos.

    “We might find in Brazil we have a fantastic sprint. So it’s over three races, we want to judge it. It’s probably an element in this event that drivers take a little less risk. Because they know they want to be there.

    “It’s unfortunate Pierre [Gasly] had his accident, but now he’s got a chance in the race that he wouldn’t have had if that happened in the race. So lots of positives that we need to work on and build for what we take into next year.”


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