- Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix descended into one of the more farcical sessions in recent Formula 1 history as a cat-and-mouse game between the drivers to avoid giving their rivals a tow caused seven of them to miss out on a final flying lap in Q3. The group of nine had run slowly together on-track, causing the clock to tick towards zero before they could all begin their final flying laps.

- Only Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz managed to cross the line before the chequered flag came out at the end of the session. Leclerc did not improve his time, but still took the fourth pole of his F1 career after pipping Lewis Hamilton by three-hundredths of a second in the initial Q3 runs.

- The slow-running pack resulted in the stewards investigating the end of Q3 after the session. Carlos Sainz, Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll were deemed to have been the main protagonists, resulting in reprimands for all three drivers.

- As part of the explanation for the ruling, the stewards encouraged the FIA to “expedite a solution” to avoid a repeat of the farce that played out at the end of the session. Lewis Hamilton said he doubted anything would change, though: “It won’t be until someone crashes that they’ll change it, most likely.”

- Hulkenberg faced a separate investigation for going through the run-off area at Turn 1 in Q3, seemingly gaining a track position advantage, but the stewards took no further action. Hulkenberg’s defence was that he had been so focused on the cars in front, he had not realised it was time to turn into the corner.

- Sebastian Vettel was pulled up by the stewards for an alleged breach of track limits during Q2, but no action was taken after the German was given the “benefit of doubt” as the stewards claimed some camera angles were inconclusive. He kept P4 on the grid as a result.

- Away from all the penalty drama, Charles Leclerc called taking pole for his first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver “amazing”. However, he was disappointed Ferrari had missed the chance to lock out the front row of the grid, with Vettel slipping 0.150s behind in fourth place.

- Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas managed to split the Ferraris, an impressive result given the difficult outlook both drivers offered heading into the weekend. Hamilton hinted immediately after the session that he felt the slow-moving pack could have been deliberately orchestrated by Ferrari to give Leclerc pole, but later said he was more disappointed to have missed out on his final lap. Leclerc stressed any move was not intentional, citing the failure to get a one-two as proof Ferrari had not planned for the end of Q3 to play out as it did.

- Renault locked out the third row of the grid with Daniel Ricciardo in P5 ahead of Hulkenberg. Ricciardo was pleased by the team’s performance, again coming at a low downforce track after running well in Canada and Spa. While he felt there was more time in the car, he doubted he would have been able to bridge the gap to the Mercedes and Ferraris ahead.

- Alexander Albon could only manage eighth on the grid for Red Bull after failing to set a time in Q3 as a result of the farcical ending. Teammate Max Verstappen was always due to start last due to an engine penalty, but failed to set a time in Q1 as a result of a late power issue. He will line up P20 on Sunday behind fellow back-of-gridders Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly.

- Lance Stroll recorded his best qualifying result for two years as he reached Q3 for the first time this season. Stroll’s run to P9 – albeit without a time set in Q3 – was his best Saturday result since he qualified fourth at Monza in 2017 for Williams.

- Kimi Raikkonen looks set to take a grid penalty on Sunday for a new gearbox after crashing out in Q3 and damaging the rear of his Alfa Romeo car. Raikkonen spun off the circuit at Parabolica (for the second time this weekend), bringing out a red flag.

- Ahead of qualifying at Monza, Pierre Gasly unveiled a special tribute helmet for the late Anthoine Hubert for the weekend. The helmet incorporates Hubert’s logo and pink design he raced with in Formula 2.

- Hubert was honoured with the playing of the French national anthem as part of the podium ceremony on Saturday in the series’ first race since his death at Spa last weekend. Nobuharu Matushita took victory ahead of Luca Ghiotto and Nyck de Vries, with de Vries extending his championship lead after recovering to P3 from the back of the field.

- Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman edged closer towards the FIA Fomula 3 title by taking his first win since Paul Ricard at Monza, leading home Marcus Armstrong and Jehan Daruvala for a Prema Racing 1-2-3. Shwartzman is now 35 points clear of Daruvala with just three races to go this year.



Loading Comments...