Bottas is fastest on Friday and wins Sprint Qualifying but will start from the back of the grid. Meanwhile, Verstappen secures Red Bull’s first Monza pole since 2013. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
With Formula 1 trialling Sprint Qualifying for the second time, the traditional qualifying hour took place on Friday evening. Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in the qualifying hour. This was the first time that Bottas was faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the qualifying hour since the Styrian Grand Prix weekend.
Bottas was faster than Hamilton by 0.096 seconds. Had this counted for pole position, it would have been the third year in a row that pole at the Italian Grand Prix had been decided by less than a tenth of a second.
Pierre Gasly, who set the sixth fastest time, is the only driver for the Red Bull junior team to reach Q3 at the Italian Grand Prix in the last eight seasons. He reached Q3 with AlphaTauri this year, last year and with Toro Rosso in 2018.
Ferrari set the seventh and eighth fastest lap times on Friday evening, with Carlos Sainz faster than Charles Leclerc for the first time since the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
For only the second time in his career, Antonio Giovinazzi reached Q3 at consecutive races. He last did so at the 2019 French and Austrian Grands Prix. Giovinazzi’s Q3 appearance is one of only three occasions that the former Sauber team has reached Q3 at the Italian Grand Prix in the last eight seasons.
OUT IN Q2
Aston Martin just missed out on Q3, with Sebastian Vettel eleventh and Lance Stroll twelfth. It was the first time that both of the Silverstone-based team’s cars have been eliminated in Q2 at the Italian Grand Prix since 2013.
Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q2 for a fifth consecutive race – his longest streak of Q2 eliminations. It was the first time in his career that Stroll failed to reach Q3 at the Italian Grand Prix.
For the first time at Monza, George Russell progressed into Q2. This was the first time a Williams driver has reached Q2 at the Italian Grand Prix since 2018.
OUT IN Q1
Yuki Tsunoda’s fastest lap time was deleted, which saw him eliminated in Q1. Tsunoda is the first driver for the Red Bull junior team to be out in Q1 at Monza since Brendon Hartley in 2018.
Nikita Mazepin was slowest of the twenty cars once again, meaning that – aside from cars which have failed to set a lap time – he has failed to set a faster lap time than anyone in any qualifying session so far this year.
This was the second time that both Haas drivers were eliminated in Q1 at Monza. It also happened in 2017.
Valtteri Bottas finished first in Sprint Qualifying, but will start from the back of the grid due to a grid penalty. Instead, it is Max Verstappen who will start the Italian Grand Prix from pole position. Verstappen records Red Bull’s first pole at Monza since Sebastian Vettel was fastest for the team in 2013. It is the first pole position for a Honda-powered car at Monza since Ayrton Senna was fastest with McLaren at the 1991 Italian Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s pole marks the first time since 2017 that a Red Bull driver has qualified in the top four at the Italian Grand Prix.
Following Valtteri Bottas’ grid penalty, Daniel Ricciardo will start the Italian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid. It will be the Australian’s first front row qualification since the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix. That race is also the only other time that Ricciardo and Verstappen have shared the front row of the grid.
Ricciardo finished Sprint Qualifying in third place, equalling his best Italian Grand Prix qualifying position. He also qualified third in 2017. Ricciardo had a grid penalty that year, so his front row start this year will mark the first time he starts in the top four at Monza.
Bottas’ penalty means that both Ricciardo and his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris will start the Italian Grand Prix inside the top three on the grid. It’s the first time both McLarens have started in the top three on the grid since their front row lock-out at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
For the first time at Monza since their front row lock out in 2012, both McLarens qualified in the top four.
Lewis Hamilton’s fifth place in Sprint Qualifying marks the first time that a Mercedes driver has qualified outside of the top four at the Italian Grand Prix since 2017. It’s the first time that Hamilton has not qualified inside the top three at Monza since 2013.
Antonio Giovinazzi’s eighth place in Sprint Qualifying is the best qualifying result at Monza for the former Sauber team since Nico Hulkenberg qualified third in 2013. Giovinazzi will start seventh on the grid after Bottas’ penalty is applied – which means the Italian equals his best grid position for a second race weekend in a row.
Giovinazzi’s seventh place on the 2021 Italian Grand Prix grid is the best grid position for an Italian driver at their home race since Vitantonio Liuzzi lined up seventh on the grid at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
This is the first time since 2017 that neither of the Enstone-based team’s cars have qualified in the top ten at the Italian Grand Prix.
With Nicholas Latifi qualifying fourteenth and George Russell fifteenth, this is the first time that Russell has been out-qualified by his team-mate at Williams.
Pierre Gasly was the only driver who failed to finish Sprint Qualifying. He therefore qualified twentieth – the third back row qualification of his F1 career. He also qualified twentieth at the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix and the 2018 Australian 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. 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 and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.