Formula 1: Leclerc takes pole position for the Italian GP as Verstappen, Sainz suffer grid penalties

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc surged to the pole position for the 2022 Italian Grand Prix in a qualifying programme marked by a number of grid penalties that saw defending champion Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz dropped down the grid for various transgressions.

With the Red Bull driver duo of Verstappen and Sainz dropping down the order due to grid penalties as Mercedes’ George Russell jumped to the front of the row.

Leclerc’s time of 1m 20.161s put him on pole by 0.145s over Red Bull’s Verstappen, while Sainz was 0.268s off his teammate in P3. Verstappen has a five-place penalty, however, while Sainz will drop to 18th. While Sergio Perez qualified fourth for Red Bull, he will drop 10 places — with fifth-place qualifier Lewis Hamilton dropped to the back row alongside Yuki Tsunoda.

Therefore, Russell will start second despite qualifying sixth. McLaren’s Lando Norris qualified seventh to guarantee a second-row start, while Daniel Ricciardo is set to be promoted after qualifying eighth.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who won the title in 2005 and 2006, did not set a time for Alpine in Q3 but will be promoted behind AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

Alpine Renault driver Esteban Ocon lost out on the top-10 shootout in P11, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. Substituting for Williams’ appendicitis-struck driver Alex Albon, Nyck de Vries finished 13th in his first F1 qualifying but is set for a top-10 start on his debut.

Ocon and Bottas finished 11th and 12th before their respective five and 15-place grid penalties kick in. Zhou Guanyu qualified 14th and will also be promoted ahead of Ocon and Bottas — but having sat out Q2, back-of-grid starter Tsunoda will drop to P20 for Sunday’s race.

As Alfa Romeo’s Bottas snuck out of Q1, Nicholas Latifi managed a pre-penalty promotion 16th ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, with Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll taking 18th in Q1. The Haas drivers rounded out the qualifying results, with Kevin Magnussen 19th and Mick Schumacher 20th – that pair to start 16th and 17th as Sainz, Hamilton and Tsunoda drop to the back of the grid.

Albon finished a promising 10th in FP2 and 11th in FP1, as Williams’ straight-line speed appeared to put them in the fight for points at Monza.

However, ahead of final practice at Monza, Williams announced the Thai driver would not take part in the remainder of the weekend.

In a statement, the team said: “Williams Racing can confirm that, after feeling unwell this morning and seeking medical advice from the FIA and local hospital, Alex Albon is now undergoing treatment for appendicitis.

“Following on from this, we can confirm that the team’s Reserve Driver Nyck de Vries will drive in place of Alex for the remainder of the Italian Grand Prix weekend. Alex is in good spirits and the team wishes him a speedy recovery.”




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