Italy was sent into raptures after an extraordinary qualifying at Monza, as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claimed his second consecutive pole position when his rivals failed to properly judge the time needed to set their final qualifying runs, meaning only Leclerc and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz made it across the finish line to start their second flying laps in Q3.
As the drivers emerged back on track following a stoppage caused by Kimi Raikkonen crashing his Alfa Romeo, all were holding back so as to take advantage of the tow around Monza. But with the clock ticking down, there were farcical scenes as seven of the remaining cars in the segment – including the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel – approached the line to start their final laps only to face a waved chequered flag.
That meant that Leclerc claimed pole position from Hamilton by 0.039s, the Monegasque’s first fastest lap good enough to secure his fourth career pole position, and Ferrari’s second in a row here.
Charles Leclerc explains that plan was for him getting the tow first and in the 2nd attempt to give it to Seb. They went out like that but then suddenly the Renault and Mclaren almost stopped on track. Seb overtook him and on the last straight, the team told him to overtake Sebastian: “I think if you put a penalty to one, you put a penalty to all the drivers who were in Q3 because we are altogether” – Charles said – ” Seb overtook me there, because I think that he was aware that we were tight on timing. After this, I tried to find the best tow and then overtook Seb before the last corner to give him the tow back, but unfortunately, it was too late..”
Sebastian Vettel: “It was not ideal… We need to have a review. I was happy to go earlier. But… Anyways (sigh). I’m not happy because my lap on the first run was completely on my own, which was the worst case plan but it happened to be that way. I was trying to get through, but there was a McLaren & a Renault blocking the road. I’m not happy with how it went. We didn’t make it to get the second attempt like many others, but I thought internally we had a better way that we communicated this. I was the one out front alone in the first run & I shouldn’t have been the one in front in the second run. Because of the last corner I wasn’t but at that point it was too close anyways, plus the session was over so I couldn’t even make it to start a lap.”