Thursday 28

Formula 1

Leclerc takes Monza pole

7th September 2019, 16:04 by Neil Foster

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc qualified on pole for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix on pole, with Lewis Hamilton next to him on the front row.

The Monaco man is looking for back-to-back wins after triumphing in Belgium last time out and has given himself an excellent opportunity.

However his pole position does not tell the whole story as the back end of qualifying became slightly farcical.

Leclerc and McLaren's Carlos Sainz were the only drivers who managed to start a final lap in Q3 as the rest of the field waited to try and catch a slipstream from those ahead.

That is a vital part of the Monza circuit and can be worth up to 0.3 secs per lap but, in jockeying for position, they all failed to make the start.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas was third, ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen complete the top 10 but it was Leclerc who was the talk of the paddock after qualifying.

The 21-year-old had already received a rapturous reception from fans in Milan during the week and was happy to come through the strange session to book his spot at the front of the grid.

"It feels unbelievable. Wednesday in Milan was incredible and to see so many people is amazing," he said. "I'm happy with pole but it's a shame at the end it was a big mess and I hoped our last lap was enough.

"The pace was quite good actually during the race simulations, better than in Spa."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.

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