Hamilton secures his 99th pole at a 30th different circuit, Perez is on the front row for the first time and both Williams drivers reach Q2. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix!
HAMILTON ON POLE
Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. This was Hamilton’s 99th pole position and, with this being his first pole at Imola, he is the first driver to start from pole at 30 different circuits during his F1 career. Hamilton also becomes the first driver to have taken pole position in fifteen different F1 seasons.
Hamilton’s pole makes him the fourteenth driver to start from the front of the grid at Imola in the circuit’s 29-race tenure on the F1 calendar.
Pole was decided by just 0.035 seconds – the fifth smallest pole margin recorded at the Imola circuit. In F1 history, this is the third time that the pole margin has been 0.035 seconds. Mario Andretti and Ralf Schumacher are the other drivers to have taken pole by the same margin, doing so at the 1982 Italian Grand Prix and the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix respectively.
Hamilton makes this the fifth time that a British driver has started on pole at Imola – the first time it has happened since Jenson Button was on pole at the 2004 San Marino Grand Prix.
THE TOP TEN
Sergio Perez starts alongside Hamilton on the front row of the grid at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. It’s the first time Perez has recorded a front row start in his career – his previous best grid position being third at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix. Perez has qualified on the front row once before, at the 2016 European Grand Prix, but carried a grid penalty into the race.
Max Verstappen qualified in third place, and was out-qualified by his team-mate for the first time since the 2019 Italian Grand Prix. Verstappen is the only driver on the grid to have recorded the same qualifying result at Imola in 2021 as they did in 2020.
Perez becomes the first Mexican driver to start on the front row at a World Championship F1 race since Pedro Rodriguez almost 50 years ago at the 1971 Dutch Grand Prix. This is also only the fifth race in which a Mexican driver has featured on the front row. Other races with a Mexican driver on the front row were the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, the 1968 Spanish Grand Prix and the 1970 Italian Grand Prix.
After two rounds in 2021, Mercedes and McLaren are the only teams to reach Q3 with both cars at both races so far this year.
With Valtteri Bottas qualifying in eighth place, the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is only the fourth race in Bottas’ tenure at Mercedes in which the Finn has qualified outside of the top six.
With Hamilton on pole and Bottas in eighth, Mercedes become the first team to reach Q3 with both cars at 50 consecutive races.
Filling the grid slots from fourth to seventh, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris all qualified in the same positions as they did at the Bahrain Grand Prix three weeks ago.
With fifth place in qualifying, Pierre Gasly made this the fifth consecutive race in which at least one AlphaTauri driver has reached Q3. It’s the Red Bull junior team’s longest streak of Q3 appearances since the end of the 2008 season.
Esteban Ocon qualified in ninth place, recording his first Q3 appearance since the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lance Stroll becomes the first driver for Team Silverstone to qualify in the top 10 at Imola since the 2001 San Marino Grand Prix, when both Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen qualified in the top for Jordan.
OUT IN Q2
Qualifying in eleventh place, Carlos Sainz makes the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix only the sixth time in 29 races at Imola that a Ferrari driver has qualified outside of the top ten on the grid.
For the first time since the 2017 Malaysia Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso was out-qualified by his team-mate.
Both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi progressed to Q2, making this the first time since the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix that both Williams drivers have appeared in the second part of qualifying. It was only the second time in the last 46 races that neither Williams driver was eliminated in Q1.
OUT IN Q1
Both Alfa Romeo drivers were eliminated in Q1 for the first time since the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marks the first time since the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix that Kimi Raikkonen has out-qualified Antonio Giovinazzi.
Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were eliminated in Q1 for a second successive race. This is the eighth race in a row at which both Haas cars have exited in the first part of qualifying.
Yuki Tsunoda was an early casualty of Q1, crashing out of the session. He will start the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from 20th place – the first time a driver for the Red Bull junior team has started last on the grid since Alex Albon at the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.