Sainz takes stunning pole position for Ferrari at Monza

Ahead of Verstappen and Leclerc


By Franck Drui

2 September 2023 - 17:13
Sainz takes stunning pole position (...)

Carlos Sainz sent Ferrari’s home fans wild with delight at Monza as he narrowly claimed pole position for tomorrow’s 2023 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, beating championship leader Max Verstappen by just over one hundredth of a second, with Charles Leclerc third in the other Ferrari.

Sainz took provisional pole in the first runs of Q3 but when Verstappen went quicker than Leclerc to rise to P1 on his final run it looked like the Red Bull driver was on course for his ninth pole of the season. Sainz was the last of the frontrunners on track, however, and after setting the fastest Sector 2 time of all, the Spaniard claimed the fourth pole position of his career, 0.013s ahead of Verstappen.

At the start of Q1, run on Hard tyres as the Alternative Tyre Allocation returned, It was Alex Albon who set the early pace, with the Williams driver posting a lap of 1:22.123 to top the timesheet ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell.

After having his first lap deleted for exceeding track limits, Verstappen then jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:21.573, a little over three tenths of a second ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez, with the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in third and fourth places respectively.

Both Red Bull drivers sat out the final runs but Verstappen’s earlier lap was good enough to keep him in top spot.

It was Albon who came closest to toppling the Dutchman, with the Williams driver taking P2 less than a tenth off the pace. Leclerc claimed P3 a further tenth of a second behind, while AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda took fourth place ahead of Pérez.

At the other end of the timesheet, there was no place in Q2 for Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu who was eliminated in P16 ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and last-placed Aston Martin man Lance Stroll.

Having switched to the mandated Medium tyres for Q2, Verstappen was first on track and the Dutch set the a target time of 1:21.035. Pérez crossed the line just under four tenths off that to claim P2 before Sainz moved ahead of both with a lap of 1:20.991. Leclerc then took third ahead of Albon, with Pérez dropping to P5 at the end of the first runs.

Verstappen then seized control in the final runs, posting a lap of 1:20.937 to take P1. Leclerc slotted into P2, four hundredths of a second behind, while Sainz abandoned his final run and finished in third, ahead of Pérez who improved to 1:21.240 on his final flyer.

Ruled out at the end of Q2 were Tsunoda in P11 and his AlphaTauri team-mate Liam Lawson who impressed in P12 ahead of Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ Logan Sargeant.

The Red Bulls were once again first on track at the start of Q3, this time on the quickest Soft compound tyres, but it was Ferrari who seized the initiative in the opening runs, with Sainz taking provisional pole thanks to a lap of 1:20.532. That put the Spaniard three hundredths of a second ahead of Leclerc, with Verstappen in P3, 0.099s off top spot.

Verstappen jumped to P1 with his final flyer but Sainz claimed pole by the narrow margin of 0.013s, with Leclerc in third place ahead of Russell while Pérez took P5 thanks to a lap of 1:20.688. He was followed by Albon who took sixth ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, with Hamilton in eighth ahead of Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

Pos.DriverTeamQ1 timeQ2 timeQ3 time
01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:21.965 1:20.991 1:20.294
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:21.573 1:20.937 1:20.307
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:21.788 1:20.977 1:20.361
04 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:22.148 1:21.382 1:20.671
05 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:21.911 1:21.240 1:20.688
06 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:21.661 1:21.272 1:20.760
07 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:22.106 1:21.527 1:20.785
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:21.977 1:21.369 1:20.820
09 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:21.995 1:21.581 1:20.979
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:22.043 1:21.543 1:21.417
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:21.852 1:21.594
12 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:22.112 1:21.758
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:22.343 1:21.776
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:22.249 1:21.940
15 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:21.930 1:21.944
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:22.390
17 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:22.545
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:22.548
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:22.592
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:22.860

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