F1 – Italian GP – Qualifying
Ciao MiniFans! Welcome back at Imola for the 14th race of the season! The weather doesn’t look too bad for today, while we expect some rain during the race tomorrow. Let’s get into it!
Before qualy got underway, we had a note from the Racing Director Masi to emply a minimum speed to make sure that the drivers didn’t run too slowly and gain an advantage through aerodynamic tow when others passed them. In other words; it’s hard to get slipstream. Renault, however, coped very well with this new rule. Ricciardo drove the 5th best time of the session and Hulkenberg even ended up on a whopping P2!
Verstappen drove his flying lap during the final seconds of Q1. The Dutchman wasn’t too bothered by it, since he is going to start from the back of the field anyways. He recieved a penalty for his brand new Honda engine. Though, right at the beginning of his quick lap, he had a severe powerloss and couldn’t set a time. Red Bull said later on in Q2, that everything should be fixed before tomorrow’s race. Almost simultaniously with Verstappen’s problems, we could see Perez parked along the track. It seemed like his Racing Point suffered from yet another engine problem. Grosjean, Perez, Russel, Kubica and Verstappen were all knocked out in Q1.
Q2 was rather calm. Ferrari dominated the whole weekend up until this point. Hamilton set the best time of this segment of the qualy and was only 0.089 seconds faster than Leclerc. No less than seven different teams got into Q3! Raikkonen closed off the top ten and pushed his team mate Giovinazzi out by only two thousands of a second! The Italian, Magnussen, Kvyat, Norris and Gasly were all out in Q2.
Only a couple of minutes into Q3, the session was stopped by Raikkonen, who ended up yet again in the wall at the long righthander Parabolica. This happened to him yesterday during FP1 as well. When it was time to head out back on track, we got a very odd end of the session. No one was willing get out first and have the risk of not getting the advantage of slipstream during this all-decisive final phase.
With all nine of the remaining drivers all at once in their out lap like a swarm of bees, they got caught up in traffic and lost a lot of precious time. Only three of them were able to start a flying lap before the checkered flag was being waved!
Charles Leclerc took his second consecutive pole in front of 1000s of Tifosi! Hamilton ended up on P2, followed by Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Albon, Stroll and Raikkonen.
The grid will be shaken up a bit due to all the penalties. Norris and Verstappen, among others, will start from the back of the grid. We would like to see you again tomorrow for another exciting race! Until then, stay MiniCool!