Bottas wins sprint, but Verstappen seals pole; Hamilton fifth
Max Verstappen will start the Italian GP on pole despite finishing behind Valtteri Bottas in Saturday’s F1 Sprint, as Lewis Hamilton’s horror getaway cost him three places and vital title momentum at Monza.
Bottas officially won F1’s second-ever Sprint after 18 laps of drama, but has an engine penalty for Sunday’s race and so will drop to the back of the grid – handing championship leader Verstappen an unexpected pole.
Hamilton was the favourite to be in that position come the chequered flag, but the Mercedes driver was left rueing a poor start that dropped him from second place to fifth, as Verstappen and the McLarens came charging past.
Pierre Gasly also got ahead of Hamilton before heavily crashing out with front-wing damage, causing an early Safety Car.
After that, Hamilton relentlessly put pressure on Lando Norris, with DRS, but just could not get past his young British compatriot.
Verstappen finished a couple of seconds behind Bottas, but takes two points for finishing second to increase his championship lead to five points, while Daniel Ricciardo also collected a point after bringing his McLaren home in third.
He will start Sunday’s race – live on Sky Sports F1 at 2 pm – on the front row behind Verstappen, while Norris and Hamilton will form the second row.
Charles Leclerc overcame sickness to finish sixth for Ferrari ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz, who had his own pre-Sprint worries after heavily crashing his car in Saturday’s earlier practice.
They were followed by Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo, who expertly held off Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull.
Perez had earlier tussled fiercely with Lance Stroll, having to cede position after an illegal overtake at the first chicane. (Sky Sports)