Sprint F1 Qualifying Report: Hamilton Botches His F1 Start to Hand Verstappen Advantage at Monza

Published 09/11/2021, 11:01 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 General view during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini


Valtteri Bottas enjoyed an incredible getaway at the start of the sprint race qualifying in Monza, as the Finn managed to claim his first-ever victory in the F1 sprint. However, the fact that the Finn is carrying a hefty grid penalty means that Max Verstappen will be starting Sunday’s main race on pole.

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Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton, after a poor start to the race, spent the entire session behind McLaren’s Lando Norris and ultimately came home in P5. But what a session that was for the McLaren duo!

Daniel Ricciardo will start his race on the front row alongside the Dutchman, with Norris, just behind in P3. For the second consecutive weekend, Antonio Giovinazzi will start his race from P7. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez, after a shaky start, fought his way back into the top 10 to claim P9 for Red Bull.

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F1 sprint race start at Monza

Most of the drivers opted to go with medium tires, with both the drivers of McLaren, Aston Martin, and Alpine choosing to go with soft tires. It was a shocking start from Hamilton, but that was the least of concerns, as Gasly suffered a high-speed crash around turn 3, bringing out the safety car.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 General view during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Meanwhile, Tsunoda had a moment with Kubica, clipping the Pole’s rear, who then ended up spinning into the gravel. In the chaos, Hamilton ended up in P5, falling behind Verstappen and both the McLaren drivers.

Safety car ends

As the lights went green on lap 4, Bottas managed to make a strong jump and kept himself safe from Verstappen behind. Norris managed to hold off Hamilton, going into turn 1, as the other Mercedes driver constantly extended his gap to the Dutchman.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Down the order, Alonso looked absolutely on fire, leaping ahead of Vettel and slotting himself into P11. Since then, Alonso found himself stuck behind Stroll, who was struggling to keep up the pace with Perez ahead.

But, with the Mercedes engine at the back, the Canadian enjoyed a strong straight-line speed to keep the 2-time world champion at bay.

Final classification of the F1 race

Bottas led the race from the front, while Verstappen kept himself within striking distance and ultimately came home in P2. Ricciardo gained the final sprint point for McLaren after pulling off a stellar show, with Norris keeping himself and his teammate safe from Hamilton.

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Behind the top 5 arrived Leclerc and Sainz, with Giovinazzi in P8. Perez could manage only a P9 with the Red Bull in hand, while his former Racing Point teammate, Stroll, claimed the final spot of the top 10.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Overall, an electric 30-minute session came to an end with all 20 drivers pushing their cars to the absolute limits. However, it is Bottas who came ahead of all in the end.

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However, with the Finn heading to the back of the grid on Sunday, are we in for another intense battle between the subsequent pole-sitter and his rival, Hamilton?

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Rohit Kumar

1139 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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