In a weekend where Ferrari is playing big, Charles Leclerc took pole ahead of the delighted tifosi of Monza. The Monegasque beat Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and his teammate Carlos Sainz in Q3, but the numerous penalties (9 drivers concerned) upset the grid for this 16th round of the season. The Dutchman, leader of the World Championship standings, will therefore start 4th, behind Leclerc, Russell (Mercedes) and Norris (McLaren).
De Vries seizes the opportunity
In Q1, Verstappen set the fastest time ahead of Leclerc and Sainz. Far behind, the Haas, Aston Martin and Latifi took the door. The Canadian came out for two hundredths behind his teammate… Nyck De Vries, reserve driver for Mercedes, who came to replace Alex Albon for the weekend, the latter suffering from appendicitis.
The Dutchman, for his first GP in F1, therefore spun in Q2. On his second flying lap, he was even ahead of Norris, 10th provisional time, but he went off track in the second sector, annihilating his chances of tasting Q3. In the game of multiple penalties, De Vries will still start in the points (8th). Just like Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), present in Q3 and who will start in 6th position. Ocon (Alpine) stayed on the sidelines in Q2 for 6 hundredths.
No less than nine drivers therefore started these qualifications knowing that they were burdened with penalties, ranging from five places to a start at the back of the grid. What transformed the reading of the qualifications of this GP of Monza in puzzle. Verstappen, who fought for pole but failed for 15 hundredths behind Leclerc, received a five-place penalty… but will still start 4th, since Sainz and Hamilton will be at the back of the grid, and Perez has was punished with 10 places.
In front of this confused pack, Leclerc achieved a new feat in qualifying, snatching a 17th career pole position, as much as Verstappen. At the wheel of a Ferrari adorned in yellow above the engine and on the sides of the fins, and in his suit of the same color, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the temple of speed, the Monegasque could raise his fist in the direction of the tifosi , adorned with the usual red. His mind was already on Sunday, when the Scuderia and its driver will want to offer themselves a long-awaited breath of fresh air.