Hamilton drops to fifth, Verstappen extends championship lead in Italian GP sprint qualifying

Valtteri Bottas kept his P1 but will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid due to engine penalties

By Yuri Coghe
Verstappen will start Sunday’s race in first place despite Bottas’ sprint qualifying victory on Saturday (Photo: F1/Twitter)

Lewis Hamilton dropped from second to fifth in the Italian Grand Prix sprint qualifying on Saturday and also saw Max Verstappen extend his championship lead to fifth points.

Valtteri Bottas kept the P1 earned on Friday for the whole session but will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid due to engine penalties – moving Verstappen to first and Hamilton to fourth.

“It feels like it’s been a while since I finished first in a race and unfortunately, you know, I’m starting from the back tomorrow, but the speed is there, so I’ll be fighting, I’ll be coming as high as I can tomorrow,” said Bottas after the session. “But today, I enjoyed it. It was a very clean race and we had a good pace.” 

The Italian GP weekend is the second time the sprint qualifying system is being tested in the 2021 F1 season. It was first introduced at the British GP.

“That went better than expected,” said Verstappen. “We had a good start, and of course I’ll be starting from pole tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting.”

A poor start by the Briton allowed the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly to move ahead.

The Frenchman crashed and retired moments later, however, after sustaining damage to his front wing on the first turn for clipping the back of Norris’ car. The accident caused a safety car to be deployed.

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Ricciardo, who moved ahead of Norris at the start, will start the Italian GP in second place – the first time the Australian driver will be on the front role since the 2018 Mexican GP.

“It’s been a long time to wait to be in this position,” said Ricciardo. “It’s good to be back.”

Hamilton tried to overtake Norris for the whole session but to no avail.

Charles Leclerc, sixth, also got the best out of his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., seventh. They’ll start in P5 and P6 on Sunday due to Bottas’ penalty.

Antonio Giovinazzi climbed from P10 to P8 while Sergio Perez kept his ninth place. Their positions will translate to seventh and eighth, respectively, in the grid.

Canadian Lance Stroll, tenth, and Fernando Alonso, eleventh, also gained positions from their initial P12 and P13, respectively, to cap off the grid’s top 10 after Bottas’ penalty. They are both ahead of their teammates, as Sebastian Vettel will start the race in P11 and Esteban Ocon in P12.

Nicholas Latifi will start in 13th, one position ahead of teammate George Russell.

Yuki Tsunoda, 15th, Nikita Mazepin, 16th, Robert Kubica, 17th and Mick Schumacher, 18th, will start ahead of Gasly, 19th, and Bottas, 20th.

The 2021 Italian Grand Prix is set for 9 AM E.T. on Sunday.

See the Italian GP sprint qualifying full results:

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One thought on “Hamilton drops to fifth, Verstappen extends championship lead in Italian GP sprint qualifying

  • September 11, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    A nova formula de classificação não agradou em circuito com pouca possibilidade de ultrapassagem e acredito que não deva ser usado em circuitos dessa natureza.. muito menos fazer todo treino classificatorio assim. Hamilton deve fazer tudo amanha para ultrapassar noris e riccardo e isso vai fazer com que a largada seja emocionante. Estou em duvida se a alegria de Bottas é porque conquistou a pole, mesmo saindo em ultimo por foeça da punição ou se é porque o hamilton sai em terceiro no grid. Tudo é possivel.

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