Botas overtook Hamilton in Monza’s qualifiers

Walter Botas; Photo: Pirelli

Valteri Botas was first in Monza’s qualification for the Italian Grand Prix. The driver of the Mercedes will start from the first position of the sprint race tomorrow afternoon. His teammate Lewis Hamilton will go to him in the front row, followed by Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

The air temperature was 25 degrees and the asphalt 33 degrees – a little cooler than the first workout few hours ago.

No one was in a hurry to get out in the first part of the qualification, which lasts 18 minutes. However, the Ferrari drivers came out first with driven soft tires. Charles Lörkler recorded the first time of the session – 1: 22.803. Sainz quickly improved, followed by Tsunoda, Russell, and Latifi. Only Mazepin and Kubica recorded less time than Löckler. Löckler asked on the radio if there were any problems with stopping. Max Verstappen improved the time of Carlos Sainz, and after him Norris recorded three fastest sectors and a time of 1: 21: 681 – more than four tenths of a second better than the result of the Dutchman. Lewis Hamilton and Valteri Botas were the first to fall below 1:21 – with times of 1: 20.543 and 1: 20.804. After them, Ricciardo was third, followed by Gasley and Giovinazzi, who also lined up in front of Norris. Schumacher, Ocon and Alonso were the last pilots without a recorded lap.

The qualification did not start convincingly for Verstappen, and the local favorite Löckler was among the last in the standings for a long time. His exit from the box near Nikita Mazepin was also risky and the commissioners announced that he would be investigated. Mazepin was also involved in an incident with Robert Kubica, who will also be investigated. Norris took third place after turning his second fast lap, but once again over the weekend his time was erased. Verstappen and Gasley were very angry at the traffic on the track. The Dutchman recorded a third time, Sainz remained fourth. Löckler came out of the risk zone in fifth place, although he said on the radio that it was difficult to pilot the track.

Lewis Hamilton and Valteri Botas failed to improve their times in the second attempt with used soft tires. Norris managed to record a time of 1: 20.916 and third position. He was followed by Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Antonio Giovinazzi. Leclerc, Ricciardo, Perez and Vettel completed the top 10.

After the first qualification, George Russell almost dropped out, but was ranked 15th after the Yuki Tsunoda lap was erased due to non-compliance with the limits of the track. Latifi, Tsunoda, Schumacher, Kubica and Mazepin remained below the line. Right in front of Russell were the Alpin pilots.

Verstappen and Perez were the first to come out in Q2 with new soft tires. The investigation into the incident between Loeckler and Mazepin was terminated, but the problem with his car remained.

Verstappen recorded a time of 1: 20.710, and his teammate was left with 1: 21.146. Hamilton and Botas were ahead of them: an impressive time of 1.19.936 for the Briton and 1: 20.032 for his Finnish teammate. Norris and Ricciardo finished third and fourth with 1: 20.356 and 1: 20.435 respectively, and Pierre Gasley also overtook Verstappen, who finished sixth to 56,000 behind the Frenchman. Behind him were Giovinci and Stroll. Ninth and tenth were Charles Löckler and Sergio Peerez. Fernando Alonso returned to boxing without recording a time. Thus, after the first laps in Q2, Okon, Vettel, Sainz and Russell also remained outside the top 10.

The pilots went out en masse for the last laps in the second part of the qualification about three minutes before the end. Lewis Hamilton was nearly hit by Stroll’s Aston Martin coming out of the boxing alley. Verstappen and Hamilton complained about the traffic in the pie. Mercedes drivers did not improve the times from the first stint. Norris recorded a faster time: 1: 20.059 and third place. Verstappen was fourth with 1: 20.229. Behind them were Gasley, Giovinazzi, Sainz, Löckler and Perez.

Vettel, Stroll, Alonso, Ocon and Russell dropped out of the third qualification.

Work on Loeckler’s car continued. Hamilton and Botas came out at the very beginning of Q3. Verstappen and Perez followed. This time the Mercedes drivers had new tires and Perez used. Hamilton recorded a weaker time than Q2, but was still first with 1: 19.949. A little behind him, 17 thousandths of a second was Verstappen with 1: 19.966. Norris gave the third time – 65 thousandths of Lewis Hamilton, fourth was his teammate Ricciardo with two tenths behind Lando. Fifth was Botas, who made a mistake when leaving the second chicane and went through the gravel. Gasley was left behind the Finn. The Ferrari drivers gave seventh and eighth time. Only Giovinazzi did not record a lap and stayed in boxing.

No one was in a hurry to come out, despite the risk of repeating last season’s qualifiers. After all, the first on the track were the Red Bull drivers, and at the end were the Mercedes, followed only by Lando Norris. Giovinazzi also came out for his only experience in Q3. Valteri Botas gave the best time in sector one and sector two and surprisingly overtook his teammate with 1: 19.555, who recorded 1.19: 651. Verstappen was third, and Norris recorded a fourth time, followed by Ricciardo. Pierre Gasley is sixth. Sainz will start the sprint in front of his teammate Leclerc, followed by Perez and Giovinazzi.

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