Formula 1

Verstappen set for pole position for Italian Grand Prix as penalty-hit Bottas wins Monza Sprint

Valtteri Bottas has triumphed in the second ever F1 Sprint at Monza – but it’s second-placed Max Verstappen who claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, with Bottas set to start the race from the back of the grid on Sunday after a raft of power unit changes despite a faultless drive from P1 in the 18-lap, 100km Sprint from the Finn.

Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, finished third, Lando Norris fourth, with Lewis Hamilton finishing fifth after starting P2.

As the lights went out, Hamilton had a nightmare start from P2, mugged by Verstappen, both of the soft-shod McLarens and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly to sit sixth by the time he reached Curva Grande, as Bottas led Verstappen, the fast-starting Ricciardo and Norris – Ricciardo having passed his team mate after starting P4.

Gasly, though, had made light contact with the rear of Ricciardo at Turn 1, and as he rounded the Curva Grande, the AlphaTauri driver’s front wing went under his front wheels, Gasly spearing into the gravel and hitting the wall. The Safety Car was brought out, but not before Yuki Tsunoda and Robert Kubica made contact, Kubica spinning around.

FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2021

Sprint results

POSITION TIME POINTS
1  Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes 27:54.078 3
2  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +2.325s 2
3  Daniel RICCIARDO McLaren +14.534s 1
4  Lando NORRIS McLaren +18.835s 0
5  Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +20.011s 0

The Safety Car was in by Lap 4, with Bottas acing the restart to sit 1.5s clear of Verstappen by the end of the lap, Verstappen then ahead of Ricciardo, Norris and Hamilton in P5, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in sixth and seventh for Ferrari – Sainz’s SF21 having been rebuilt after his FP2 crash – with the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi P8.

By Lap 5 meanwhile, Lance Stroll had climbed to P9 after starting on used softs, having passed the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez into Turn 1. Lap 9 saw Perez attacking Stroll back into Turn 1, Perez driving onto the run-off but holding the position for half a lap before his engineer instructed him to give the position back – with Perez pulling off the legitimate pass a lap later at the same spot.

Hamilton, meanwhile, was doubtless frustrated as, lap after lap, he sat on the rear wing of fourth-placed Lando Norris but couldn’t seem to find a way past the Mercedes-engined McLaren – with the Ricciardo-led group having dropped 10 seconds behind the fast-running Bottas and Verstappen fight with five laps to go.

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