Bottas: Not getting official Monza 2021 F1 pole stat "annoying"

Valtteri Bottas says not getting Formula 1’s official 2021 Italian GP pole statistic – despite topping qualifying and winning the sprint race – due to a grid penalty is “annoying”.

The Mercedes driver will not be officially credited with pole for the Monza event after the FIA decided that the accolade would usually go to the winner of F1 sprint events, which are being trialled at three events this season.

But Mercedes’ decision to give Bottas his fourth engine of 2021 ahead of Friday evening qualifying – something team trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said was down to it noticing “an issue with Valtteri's power unit towards the end of [FP1] and we didn't have endless time to investigate so we decided to take a new power unit whilst there was still time to change it” – means he will drop to the back of the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.

After chasing Bottas throughout Saturday’s sprint race, following title rival Lewis Hamilton’s poor start from alongside his Mercedes team-mate on the front row, second place sprint finisher Max Verstappen is instead set to be officially credited with the official pole.

As per the often-cited situation of Michael Schumacher not getting the official pole stat for the 2012 Monaco GP (which went to eventual race winner Mark Webber) as he served a grid penalty for crashing into Bruno Senna’s Williams at the previous event in Spain, Verstappen will likely add the Monza pole to his previous 10 as he will start from first on the grid on Sunday.

When asked how irritating it was to have effectively taken pole twice - considering the driver on top in Q3 has received pole at every race between Bahrain 2006 and Silverstone 2021, where F1 held its first sprint race experiment - Bottas replied: “For sure it’s annoying having done a good last two days.

“Good performance and then you kind of reset completely for the day after and start from the back.

“But those kind of things, they’re out of my hands so I’m not going to waste too much energy or be too negative about it because there is nothing absolutely I can do about it.

“The only thing I can do is try my best and go full gas tomorrow.

“But at least I got a few points – every point counts. For me personally and for us as a team. And a beautiful medal.”

When it came to how he feels about starting last for Sunday’s grand prix event after a “perfect” Monza event up to now, Bottas said: “What can I say?

“It’s been [a] perfect weekend so far and then I have a grid penalty. That happens.

“But it’s good to see that we have a strong car here, good pace. I’ll be fighting tomorrow to come as high as I can.

“[A] podium is possible. Anything is possible to be honest.

“If you look at the race last year [and] what happened [with Pierre Gasly winning a chaotic and disrupted race], you never know so I’ll keep pushing.”

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