Kimi Raikkonen

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F1: Charles Leclerc wins pole in bizarre Italian GP qualifying

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Charles Leclerc claimed the pole position for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza Saturday afternoon, following a bizarre Q3 which saw only two drivers cross the finish line in time to set a final flying lap.

Leclerc set his pole-winning lap of 1 minute 20.126 seconds around the 11-Turn, 3.6-mile circuit early on in the final session, which was interrupted by an 11-minute red flag due to a crash by Kimi Raikkonen in Turn 11.

When the session went green once again, several drivers waited until the final two minutes to return to the track, and with a tow crucial to set a fast lap at Monza, many drivers backed off in order to not be the leader without a tow.

The slow race out of the pits saw only Leclerc and Carlos Sainz cross the start/finish line in time to complete a lap, and with Saniz unable to set a faster lap than Leclerc, the Ferrari driver easily claimed the pole position.

“I’m happy with the pole,” Leclerc said following qualifications. “It’s a shame there was a big mess at the end. Let’s hope for a good race tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton qualified second, 0.039 seconds behind Leclerc, while Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas qualified third.

Sebastien Vettel qualified fourth, while Daniel Riccardo and Nico Hulkenburg qualified in the fifth and sixth positions for Renault.

Carlos Sainz was the slowest of the seven drivers who set a time in Q3 and will start Sunday’s race from the seventh position.

Alex Albon, Lance Stroll, and Raikkonen all failed to complete a single lap in Q3, and will start eighth through tenth, respectively.

The wild end to the qualifying session is currently under investigation by race stewards.

Full qualifying results and times are below:

 

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