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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Sainz storms to Monza pole at Italian GP

It was a good day to be a Ferrari fan as Carlos Sainz Jr stormed to his first pole position of 2023 at the most important place he could do it.


In front of a rapturous home crowd in Italy at Monza, Sainz pipped Max Verstappen by a mere 0.013s to take pole and put himself in a great position to finally breakthrough for his first podium this season.


Verstappen, who is gunning for a record breaking tenth consecutive win this weekend, had taken pole in the dying seconds from Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc, but was just pipped by the Spaniard as the session closed.

(Photo by BVM Sports)


It was still a great result for the Red Bull driver after trailing behind the Ferraris for most of the weekend so far.


Leclerc will start from third and narrowly missed out on the front row and pole himself, finishing only 0.067s behind Sainz. If the pace at the front can remain that close for the race, we’re in for one hell of an exciting evening.


George Russell will start in fourth for Mercedes after just pipping Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez. It was a difficult session for Lewis Hamilton however, as he could only manage eighth in the second Mercedes.


Alex Albon once again shone for Williams by putting in a stellar drive to start sixth on the grid, one spot ahead of Aussie Oscar Piastri who continued his good form for McLaren. Piastri’s teammate Lando Norris will start ninth, one spot ahead of Fernando Alonso.


Outside of the top ten, it was a difficult day for Alpine, a week after securing a podium in the Netherlands. Both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon failed to make it out of Q1 and are languishing at the back in 17th and 18th place.


Another driver stuck at the back is Lance Stroll, who after getting very limited track time on Friday had a lap time deleted in Q1 and will start at the very back of the grid.


All eyes will be on the cars in red for the race itself on Sunday, with Ferrari hoping to repeat the antics of the Italian Grand Prix from 1988, the only other time a team had gone into a race this late in the season undefeated to break that undefeated streak.


That year McLaren were having a perfect season and were two laps away from continuing it until Ayrton Senna was taken out, leading to a famous Ferrari 1-2. If that can happen again tonight, there’s no doubting the noise will be audible from every corner of the world from the Tifosi.


QUALIFYING TIMES

1 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:20.294 2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull +0.013 3 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.067 4 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.377 5 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.394 6 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.466 7 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.491 8 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.526 9 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.685 10 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.123 11 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri 1:21.594 12 Liam LAWSON AlphaTauri +0.164 13 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +0.182 14 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +0.346 15 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.350 16 ZHOU Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:22.390 17 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.155 18 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.158 19 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +0.202 20 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.470


This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here

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