This qualifying offers two lucky ones!
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (32) sets the fastest time in qualifying in Monza for the Italian Grand Prix with 1: 19.555. This means that the Finn is on the first row of the grid in the unfamiliar sprint race that takes place before the Grand Prix! But not only Bottas can consider himself lucky – but also a rabbit. Shortly before the end of the first third, the animal saved itself from a Williams racing at over 200 km / h into the forest just in time.
But one after the other. Unusual for Formula 1 fans: The qualification will not take place on Saturday as usual, but on Friday. And: You will not qualify for the main race, but for the sprint race. The 18-round event then determines the starting line-up for Sunday.
There are also serious differences in the distribution of points this weekend. In Monza, the pilots can clear twice. Because the top three drivers in the sprint race receive counters. The winner receives three points, the second two and the third one for the drivers’ ranking.
Mick Schumacher (22) will most likely have nothing to do with the win and the points. The German dropped out again in the first section of qualifying. BUT: Schumi Jr. not only beat teammate Nikita Mazepin (22) this time, but also Alfa driver Robert Kubica (36). Mick will start the sprint race from 18th place on the grid. In front of him are AlphaTauris Yuki Tsunoda (21st / 17th place) and Williams driver Nicolas Latifi (26 / 16th place), who also retired.
But none of the drivers delivers the scene of the first third! Shortly before the end of Q1, a rabbit runs across the track. Latifi just misses the terrified animal. However, the incident does not come as a complete surprise. The track in Monza is in the “Parco di Monza”, a park that is twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Not the only animals to stir up the Formula 1 circus in Italy. Many gray squirrels and deer can be seen around the paddock.
In the second third, the second German is eliminated. Sebastian Vettel (34) only reached eleventh place. Bitter for the Heppenheimer that he only missed the final section of the qualification by three hundredths. After all: Lance Stroll (22), his teammate at Aston Martin, he leaves behind. Also out: Williams George Russell (23) and the two Alpine drivers Fernando Alonso (40) and Esteban Ocon (24).
Vettel radioed after his departure: “I’m sorry. I made a small mistake at turn six. Maybe I didn’t take the corner hard enough in the heavy traffic. ”You can already see it in the pit lane. Shortly before the time runs out, the pilots want to be on the track practically at the same time. It comes to an almost accident in the pit lane between Vettel and Hamilton. Not the only shock. Other wild birds were left out of the garage. Verstappen radioed: “What the hell are they doing here ?!”
Spectacular: Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi (27) reaches Q3 again. Last weekend in Zandvoort (Holland), the Italian had made it into the last third despite the car that was behind. For Giovinazzi, the high comes at the right time. The Alfa driver is still fighting for a cockpit for the coming season.
Somewhat surprisingly, Bottas set the fastest time in the third third, ahead of his team-mate Hamilton. A satisfaction for the Finn, who will drive for Alfa Romeo in the coming season. Most recently, Bottas had to make way for the Briton on the track again and again.
Still there is a problem. Because in the race on Sunday (3 p.m.) Bottas has to start from the end of the field because a new engine was installed on him before qualifying on Friday. A bitter pill that the Finn has to swallow …