MAX VERSTAPPEN seals pole position in the Red Bull for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza
The iconic race circuit of Monza , located in the Lombardy region outside Milan, and affectionately known as the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, was the setting today, Saturday, September 11, for the second of this season’s FI sprint races – the first being at the British GP back in July – the precursor of tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix, with the normal qualifying session being replaced by this short 100km race of just 18 laps around the famous Italian race track, with the finishing positions deciding the grid line-up for Sunday.
The event at Monza took place in warm, dry conditions in Italy’s Lombardy region near Milan at a track affectionately known as the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, owing to its rich motorsport history and old, disused banked corners nestled amid the trees in Monza’s royal park.
Valtteri Bottas won the sprint in his Mercedes, only to pick up a grid penalty for changing a power unit on his car, which moved Max Verstappen up into first position, and the Finn going back to second, with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo doing a great job to get third on the grid.
Lewis Hamilton made a bad start, dropping him down the field, and he had to settle for fourth in the other Mercedes, while his teammate for next season, Lando Norris, will start from fifth in the second McLaren.
Picking up two points for the sprint, it puts the Dutchman five ahead of Hamilton now in the driver’s table, with Bottas gaining three for his original first position, and Ricciardo getting a single point for third, leaving Hamilton without any points from this part of the weekend.
There were some incidents along the way, as Pierre Gasly – last year’s winner at Monza -spun his Alpha Tauri off into the barrier at around 100mph after colliding with Ricciardo at the first Rettifilo chicane, although the French driver did well to control his car and prevent any major damage.
Speaking after the sprint finish, Max Verstappen said, “The race was better than expected – we had a good strategy and scored nice little points and I’m starting on pole for tomorrow. I’m going to give it a try and stay close. We did trim our car to have decent top speed, so I’m not worried about our top speed in the race, but Mercedes has a very good pace in the whole lap, so I’ll try”.
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