F1 2021
Round 14

Verstappen Leads Our Charge In Italy, Qualifying P3

it Monza

One Honda-powered car from each team will start the Sprint Qualifying from the top six after a challenging qualifying session on Friday at the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen Leads Our Charge In Italy, Qualifying P3

Trying to avoid being caught out by traffic was a major part of Q1 as drivers looked to get a tow from each other, and all four appeared to have done a good job as they set times quick enough for Q2. Unfortunately for Yuki, he was judged to have slightly exceeded track limits at the final corner and saw his final lap deleted, demoting him to 17th which meant he was  eliminated from the session.

The biggest scares in Q2 came in the pit lane, with some questionable releasing by some teams seeing drivers pulling into traffic in the fast lane, leading to some near-misses for the mechanics waving them out. Both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri negotiated the issue impressively and Max advanced in fourth place ahead of Pierre in sixth and Sergio in tenth to all reach Q3.

With two Red Bulls in the final part of qualifying, the drivers could work together to provide a slipstream and it was Sergio who was the lead car on track, with Max enjoying the benefit of the tow and putting together an excellent lap to pip the quick McLarens to third on the grid.

Sergio was limited to ninth as a result of his approach, but Pierre will be between the two Red Bulls with another strong qualifying performance earning him a spot on the third row as he will start the Sprint from sixth.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
This is the second event run to the Sprint Qualifying format, which means not having much time to assess data and decide on our settings. So it was a busy day for our two teams and the Honda engineers, with just one hour of free practice and then the two and half hours before qualifying to make the right choices. Max’s third place is a good result, given that we struggled a bit in FP1. As for Checo, he was unable to get a tow in Q3 and had to settle for ninth. Pierre, who won this race last year, performed well all day and sixth place on the grid means he should be able to have another good race this time, Unfortunately for Yuki, although he had made the cut to Q2, his time was disallowed for exceeding track limits. But his pace is good, so hopefully he can overtake some cars tomorrow. I don't think this will be an easy weekend for us, but we now have two races to try and do our best with both teams and secure a good result in Monza. 

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It wasn’t the best qualifying session but I think for us this track is always going to be difficult. We struggled a little bit more than we wanted to in FP1, but I think we recovered quite well throughout qualifying. I’m happy with third and it would have been unrealistic to hope for more. I think for the sprint race maybe we can be closer but you never know around here, so of course we will try and keep the pressure on. We’ve got FP2 tomorrow morning so we can see what we can do to help the long run pace a bit more but for us it will be more difficult around here with the long straights, nevertheless I hope we can score good points tomorrow.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m very pleased with today, I think I gave everything out there and it was a very good lap to put us in P6. We really maximised our potential, especially in Q3, where I was able to put it all together. It was tricky, but we know it’s always a game of cat and mouse here, as everyone is fighting for a tow. It was very important to get a clean lap and we managed to do that today so I’m really happy. Another P6 for us, I think that’s the 11th time I’ve qualified in the top six this year and it shows that the team are doing such a good job. Tomorrow is going to be 18 intense laps, trying to keep up with the guys in front, and make sure we start Sunday’s race in a strong position.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
We definitely struggled in qualifying today. Tomorrow our aim in the sprint race is to try to gain some positions and come through the field strong, I think this will be difficult with the DRS train though. Our long runs looked promising today and a lot of things can happen during a race so we’ll see what happens, I’m looking forward to it. We will try to optimise our performance for a strong race on Sunday.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m obviously disappointed with today, but it is what it is. Track limits are the same for everyone, so it’s just a shame I made that mistake. I think tomorrow’s Sprint Qualifying is going to be difficult as it’ll be a DRS train, so it’ll be hard to overtake, but I’ll try my best to make my way forward. I think getting a good start off the line will be really important and the best chance to overtake tomorrow.

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