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Sainz claims Monza pole


Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 28 degrees C, while the track temperature is 39 degrees. It remains bright and sunny.

While Carlos Sainz was quickest earlier, it's fair to say that we still have no idea of the true pecking order.

The reason for this is the ATA - Alternative Tyre Allocation - which not only reduces the number of tyre sets available but mandates that the hard compound only can be used in Q1, the medium in Q2 and so on.

This meant that while some drivers went for flat-out speed on the softs earlier, others concentrated on the other compounds.

As a result we envisage a few shocks this afternoon, not only in terms of those who don't make the cut but those who do.

Further complicating the issue is traffic, however to that end the FIA has dictated a maximum lap time of 1:41s in a bid to prevent drivers backing off in order to create a gap.

The Ferraris look very, very fast, as does Verstappen, while Mercedes was better than expected, certainly in FP3, and McLaren was one of several teams that focussed on the medium and hard compounds.

At Red Bull, there has been an engine change for Perez following the oil leak that brought his session this morning to an early close. It's an old engine so there is no penalty.

The lights go green and Tsunoda leads the way, followed by Lawson, Hulkenberg, Magnussen and Piastri. They are heading out two-by-two not so much in honour of Noah but in order to take full advantage of the slipstreaming possibilities here.

Tsunoda gets things underway with a 23.234, but Piastri, Magnussen and then Verstappen (22.047) go quicker.

However, the Dutchman's time is delated for exceeding track limits at Turn 7.

Albon goes quickest (22.123), ahead of Russell, Perez, Sargeant and Zhou.

While Leclerc goes seventh, teammate Sainz goes fourth and Alonso seventh. However, the Spaniard has his time deleted.

Having gone tenth, Hamilton is told that he's losing out in Turns 1 and 2.

With 9:00 remaining, the two two-time world champions have yet to post a time.

Perez goes top with a 21.911, but Verstappen is on a flyer. He crosses the line at 21.573. Alonso goes third with a 22.043.

However, Tsunoda goes quickest in S1 as Ocon runs wide at Ascari.

Tsunoda crosses the line at 22.130 to go fifth.

Leclerc goes third with a 21.996, as Ocon asks to have his car checked after his off at Ascari.

Sainz goes third, as Hamilton improves from thirteenth to tenth with a 22.233.

Gasly, Piastri, Hulkenberg, Ocon and Stroll comprise the drop zone, with Magnussen, Bottas and Norris hovering.

Lawson goes ninth with a 22.224.

Hulkenberg goes twelfth, while Stroll can only manage seventeenth.

Norris goes fourth with a 21.995 as the traffic begins to build. Teammate Piastri can only manage twelfth... however that time is deleted, thereby dropping him to 19th.

Leclerc goes second with a 21.788, as Albon goes quickest in S1.

As Albon continues to set a strong pace, Hulkenberg goes twelfth, Russell ninth and Bottas twelfth.

Albon goes second (21.661) and Piastri ninth, Lawson eleventh and Tsunoda fourth.

Ocon and Gasly both fail to make the cut, as Hamilton goes eighth at the death with a 21.977.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Albon, Leclerc, Tsunoda, Perez, Sargeant, Sainz, Hamilton, Norris and Alonso.

We lose Zhou, Gasly, Ocon, Magnussen and Stroll.

The Ferrari pair are under investigation failing to adhere to the maximum lap time rule.

"Lawson complains of a lot of understeer, wondering if it was caused by the cars in front.

The lights go green for Q2 but there is no immediate rush to get back to work.

After a couple of minutes waiting Verstappen gets proceedings underway, followed by Perez, Norris, Albon, Tsunoda and Piastri.

Verstappen crosses the line at 21.035, with Perez posting 21.413 and Norris 21.851, but then Albon bangs in a 21.272 to go second.

Sainz goes top with a 20.991 and Leclerc third (21.175), much to the delight of the fans in the stands.

As the rest of the field continue their cool-down laps, the Mercedes pair head out.

Russell goes sixth (21.480) and Hamilton twelfth (21.866).

"Held up by Perez," reports Hamilton, subsequently claiming "I've got no grip, mate."

The field heads back to the pits for the final assault.

It begins... Albon leads the way, followed by Sargeant, Tsunoda, Russell and Hamilton.

"We need to be overtaking," Bottas is told.

"Someone at the front playing a trick," says Sainz, "trying to stop people getting a lap." The Spaniard was among the last out, with only Perez behind.

Albon remains fourth, while Tsunoda goes ninth.

Russell goes fifth having been quickest in the final sector. However, Hamilton leapfrogs him with a 21.369.

Perez goes fourth which is bad news for Tsunoda, while Norris makes it by the skin of his teeth, the Briton having seemingly been impeded on his final flying lap.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Leclerc, Sainz, Perez, Albon, Hamilton, Russell, Piastri, Alonso and Norris.

We lose Tsunoda, Lawson, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Sargeant.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Monza here.


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1. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 02/09/2023 17:47

"Great work from Sainz today, delivering for Ferrari at a most opportune moment. Let’s hope the team doesn’t throw it all away tomorrow, but I suspect Verstappen will be formidable in pursuit of that record winning streak. "

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