F1 Italian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton takes pole: Lewis Hamilton took pole position ahead of Sergio Perez in a thrilling Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying session. Briton Hamilton was just 0.035 seconds clear in the Mercedes as Mexican Perez, in only his second race for Red Bull, beat team-mate Max Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc put the Ferrari fourth, while Valtteri Bottas was only eighth in the second Mercedes.
Hamilton’s pole marked a significant shift in fortunes at the front since the first race of the season, when the Red Bull was clearly the quickest car and Verstappen was on pole by 0.4secs.
Mercedes have looked much more at home around the sweeps of Imola and technical director James Allison had already said on Friday that the car was “in a much happier place”.
F1 Italian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton takes pole, Sergio Perez 2nd fastest
Lewis Hamilton got the job done when it mattered in a scintillating Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying session, beating Red Bull’s Sergio Perez by just 0.036s at Imola, with Max Verstappen inside a tenth of a second of pole in third.
There was nothing to choose between Mercedes and Red Bull heading into the second qualifying session of the 2021 campaign, with both teams saying the other were favourites for P1 and playing down their own chances.
It was initially Valtteri Bottas who looked the most comfortable out on a track where he dominated all three segments of the one-hour shoot-out last time out at Imola, but he didn’t deliver in Q3 as his world champion team mate rose to the top of the pile with a brilliant first lap in qualifying.
The seven-time world champion failed to improve on his second run, and that pole looked under threat as Lando Norris set a purple first sector and then a purple second to have at least a front row in his grasp. But he lost time in the final sector and though he went second, his time was deleted for exceeding track limits.