MONZA-It was yet again an all-Mercedes battle for pole position as the Formula 1 World Championship rolled into Monza for the Italian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday 5 September.

World champion Lewis Hamilton took another pole, pipping teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.069s as Ferrari failed to get a car in the top 10 at their home race for the first time since 1984. Bottas showed good pace throughout the day, but he simply had no response to Hamilton’s brilliance in Quali 3. Hamilton earned his 68th pole for Mercedes, equalling the number Michael Schumacher (second in the all-time list) achieved throughout his entire career Formula 1 career.

Behind the Mercedes duo, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz came out on top in a qualifying-long battle with Sergio Perez in the Racing Point for third, the Spaniard sealing his second P3 of the season and McLaren’s third of the season. It’s also McLaren’s first top-three start at Monza since they locked out the front row in 2012. Perez will start fourth for the eighth time in his F1 career, without having ever started in the top three

Max Verstappen was classified fifth, meaning Red Bull have failed to start on the front two rows of the grid at Monza since the turbo-hybrid era began in 2014. His under-fire teammate Alexander Albon qualified ninth on the grid. Ferrari’s nightmare 2020 reached new lows as Sebastian Vettel got caught out in Q1, forcing him out in the first segment, meaning he will start from P17. Charles Leclerc didn’t fair much better and his best was only good enough for P13. The fractious team endured the Scuderia’s worst qualifying performance at their home race for over 35 years.

Lando Norris pipped Daniel Ricciardo to take seventh, in what is his 15th consecutive race starting in the top 10, with Lance Stroll eighth and Alexander Albon – who had three laps deleted for exceeding track limits – ninth. 

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly closed out the top 10, as his team seek their first points finish at Monza since 2013.