Carlos Sainz put Ferrari on pole position for their home Italian Grand Prix yesterday with Red Bull’s Formula One leader Max Verstappen, chasing a record 10th consecutive win, alongside on the front row.
Sainz lapped Monza’s ‘Temple of Speed’ with a fastest time of one minute 20.294 seconds, 0.013 quicker than Verstappen’s final flying lap with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualifying third.
Just 0.067 of a second separated the top three drivers on a sunny afternoon at Monza with the Ferrari ‘tifosi’, who have had little to cheer about this season, roaring on the red cars as they took the battle to dominant Red Bull.
The pole was Ferrari’s third of a season in which Red Bull have won all 13 races so far but Sainz’s first since Austin, Texas, last October.
The final session took place with a stewards’ enquiry hanging over the Ferrari pair for going too slowly in the first phase but that threat dropped away as the crowd went wild and officials decided to take no further action.
Sainz said he felt goosebumps as he crossed the final line and soaked up the reaction on his slowing down lap after an intense session.
George Russell will start fourth for Mercedes with Verstappen’s team mate and closest rival Sergio Perez fifth. Alex Albon qualified sixth for Williams, ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, Mercedes’ seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Verstappen had been quickest in the first two phases of qualifying, after Sainz was fastest in practice, but could not do it a third time.