Formula 1 Commentary

Italian GP's F1 sprint qualifying race as it happened

Live updates from Saturday practice and the sprint race for the Italian GP at Monza.

By: Stephen Lickorish, Megan White


  • Bottas dominates F1 sprint at Monza, winning from Verstappen and Ricciardo
  • Verstappen will start Italian GP from pole position, with Bottas set for grid penalty due to new power unit
  • Soft tyres help McLarens to leapfrog Hamilton at the start, with Norris holding off the seven-time champion to finish fourth
  • Gasly crashes out after front wing folds under his car, Tsunoda and Kubica clash on first lap but no further action taken
  • Second F1 sprint after its debut at the British GP
  1. Bottas, Mercedes
  2. Verstappen, Red Bull
  3. Ricciardo, McLaren
  4. Norris, McLaren
  5. Hamilton, Mercedes
  6. Leclerc, Ferrari
  7. Sainz, Ferrari
  8. Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
  9. Perez, Red Bull
  10. Stroll, Aston Martin
Status: Stopped
We'll be back with the build-up of all tomorrow's action from around 1:30 BST before the green flag at 2:00 BST. Thanks as ever for joining us - we'll see you tomorrow for the Italian Grand Prix.
So, pending any further changes, the grid tomorrow will be Verstappen, Ricciardo, Norris, Hamilton, Leclerc, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Perez, Stroll, Alonso. Fancy picking a winner from that lot?
If you missed any of the action from the sprint, then find the full report here:
Having been all excited about Bottas levelling Rene Arnoux's pole tally, we've been informed that his impending grid penalty means will mean he doesn't get the official credit. Much like Michael Schumacher at Monaco in 2012, who had a grid penalty for clattering into Bruno Senna in the previous race in Barcelona. Good news for Verstappen, oh, and for Arnoux too...
Fair play to Olympic sprinter Marcell Jacobs - in addition to getting his photo op before the start, he was also the man chosen to hand the medals to the top three drivers. Good gig if you can get it.
The other aggrieved party tonight will be Gasly - who was duking it out for P5 with Hamilton into Curva Grande before his wing collapsed and sent him into the barriers. From a possible P4 start, he'll now be on the back row of the grid - and all down to the lightest of touches on Ricciardo's armour-plated diffuser.
You have to feel a little sorry for Bottas. He's got three points from today, but the picture tomorrow is likely to be very different due to a factor completely out of his control.
After the first lap drama for Gasly/Kubica and the shuffling caused by McLaren's fast starts, there wasn't too much by way of action. Alonso once again was the main attraction, his cutback move on Vettel into the first Lesmo one of precious few passes - the other of not being Perez's second (legal) move on Stroll at the first chicane.
Bottas is understandably reserved as he climbs from the cockpit. It's a raised arms, followed by a wave to the crowd combo from the Finn.
So what did we make of F1's second sprint? If you're Lewis Hamilton, it's a disaster (remember, he lost out to Verstappen at the start at Silverstone after topping qualifying the previous day) but if you're Ricciardo, it's mega. All the reaction to come, folks.
"It was good, the start was important," says Verstappen over the radio as he's informed that he'll start P1 tomorrow.
"That counts as pole, that's good," says Bottas after notching up pole number 18. He's now level with Rene Arnoux as the man with the most poles without a world championship.
Ricciardo finishes third, his best 'result' since joining McLaren. With Bottas set to be dumped to the back, he'll start second tomorrow, alongside Verstappen.
Bottas crosses the line first to win the F1 sprint, 2.3 seconds ahead of Verstappen, who comes away with the fastest lap.
Hamilton is still stuck behind Norris and it appears that McLaren's gamble on soft tyres has worked a treat.
Meanwhile, Bottas has started his final lap. It's been a fairly comfortable sprint for the Finn, who is presumably making the most of the clean air he's currently enjoying ahead of a hard race from the back tomorrow.
Sure enough, no further action on Perez is confirmed.
FIA race director Michael Masi responds to a query from Red Bull asking why Perez is under investigation for the move on Stroll, saying the stewards wanted to check whether he had given the place back soon enough, and whether he had gained a lasting advantage from the situation. Jonathan Wheatley is most aggrieved.
Perez is pressing on undeterred though and giving Giovinazzi something to think about - the Italian clinging admirably to the coat tails of the two Ferraris ahead, Leclerc three seconds ahead of the hastily-repaired car driven by Sainz.
A Turn 1 incident involving Perez and Stroll is under investigation. We can only assume that's referencing Perez's overtake off the track, which he gave up later that lap. One would expect that to be a no further action.
Hamilton has a bog snap of oversteer at the first Lesmo and has to check up to avoid a repeat of his 2009 final lap accident here. That will bring a smile to the face of Norris, who gets a moment of temporary respite.
Giovinazzi is driving for his career at the moment, but is doing everything in his power to convince Fred Vasseur and the Alfa Romeo team's investors that he's the man for the job in a very solid P8. Far from being gobbled up by the soft-shod cars starting immediately behind him, he's moved forward two positions.
The problem of course for Hamilton is the engine in that that McLaren is one of the strongest on the grid - as he well knows. Even with the benefit of DRS, it's not going to be easy to get the move done unless Norris has a wobble on corner exit.
For Hamilton, this will be a case of biding his time. He knows that Bottas and Verstappen are disappearing up the road, so this will be a case of damage limitation. His ace card will be the faster-deteriorating tyres on the McLarens above - in the closing laps, Ricciardo and Norris will be hanging on for all they're worth.
Interestingly Verstappen now has the fastest lap, but he's 1.8s behind Bottas and not close enough to do anything about the current leader. Ricciardo in third has dropped 6.7s behind, with Hamilton still tucked up behind Norris.
Perez tries again on lap 10 and this time gets the move done cleanly. Alonso is immediately on the scene sniffing an opportunity, but Stroll covers well into the second chicane.
"Give it back Checo, we'll get him back next lap," his engineer says - and Perez complies on the approach to Ascari. P9 is Stroll's once again, for the time being at least...
Perez goes on the attack against Stroll and tries to pass around the outside of Turn 1. Stroll forces him to take the run-off, and Perez emerges ahead, before defending his position down to Turn 3. Stroll won't like that one.
We're not saying it's game over just yet, but Verstappen knows there's a bigger picture at stake here. He drops a point to Bottas, but gains two on Hamilton - and is set to gain a net pole with Hamilton only starting fourth tomorrow as it stands.
Bottas set the fastest lap last time around and has extended his advantage over Verstappen to 2s.
Hamilton is starting to put Norris under pressure and feints to the inside at the end of the long pit straight, but Norris knows he's not close enough to pass and doesn't waste time defending.
DRS is now engaged as we start lap 7 of 18. Bottas though is safely out of DRS range at the front, the gap 1.6s back to Verstappen last time around.
Norris drops a wheel into the gravel exiting the second Lesmo, but Hamilton isn't quite close enough to pounce into Ascari.
The Haas drivers are slipping back - Russell nails Mazepin into the first chicane, as behind Tsunoda takes Schumacher for P17.
Race control noted that the incidents involving Gasly and Kubica were under investigation, but it has now deemed in both instances that no further action is necessary.
The three-lap breather will have helped the soft tyre runners out. The McLaren drivers are currently Verstappen's best friend, providing a healthy buffer between himself and Hamilton in fifth.
Ocon now piles the pressure on Vettel, allowing Alonso to escape. Behind, Latifi is P14, Mazepin P15, Russell P16, then Schumacher, Tsunoda and Kubica.
But Alonso is having none of it, he responds immediately by passing Vettel back into the first Lesmo. Great stuff!
At the line, Alonso had nosed ahead of Vettel but the Aston driver retakes P11 into the first chicane as the pack slowed up.