F1: Bottas Left Shaking After Late Imola Pole

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Valtteri Bottas in parc fermé after clinching pole at Imola. Image sourced from @MercedesAMGF1 via Twitter.

Bottas Snatches Late Pole In Emilia-Romagna.

Bottas, Valtteri Bottas

On Formula One’s return to the historic host of the former San Marino Grand Prix, it was Valtteri Bottas who prevailed in Imola qualifying.

A track which he has never driven prior to this morning’s single free practice session.

The Finn’s late surge in form secured him a fifteenth career pole position, beating Mercedes’ team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.097’s of a second.

“This track is beautiful and it’s a great feeling to get pole, I had the shakes afterwards,” said Bottas.

“I knew in the last lap I had to risk it and go hard and the car responded. It’s a good place to start tomorrow and I’m looking forward it it.”

Hamilton, who led throughout practice and the early stages of qualifying, will start tomorrow’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix from second place.

Hamilton: Valtteri did a great job, it was a pretty poor lap from myself. These things happen, the track is unbelievable – especially the speed we are going round it.”

“I don’t know why they don’t build tracks like this anymore.”

Thunderball

A bomb in the form of an electrical issue was dropped on the Red Bull & Honda mechanics during qualifying in Imola.

As Max Verstappen suffered a near terminal problem with his RB16 at the start of Q2. Without a lap on the board, the team were on the clock to get Verstappen out in time to progress.

Despite this, the Dutchman was able to set a lap with just two minutes left of the session, making it through on the medium compound.

Verstappen ended qualifying in third, half a second behind the Mercedes’ pair.

“It wasn’t a great qualifying because of the issue, we didn’t have a lot of laps. We definitely seemed to struggle a bit but third isn’t bad,” said Verstappen.

The World Is Not Enough

After being confirmed to stay at AlphaTauri for 2021, Pierre Gasly put on a show at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

The French native secured fourth, as a result equalling his career best starting position.

Gasly, who took his maiden victory at Monza earlier this year and has been labelled driver of the year by many admitted he was “surprised” he wasn’t re-promoted to the factory team amid Alexander Albon’s current struggles.

“In 14 years, Sebastian [Vettel] won a race with Toro Rosso, I’m the only other driver who won a race. Seb got promoted to Red Bull and won four titles with the team. So I’m just surprised I was not really considered.”

“I’ve had two podiums with Toro Rosso, I think this season is going alright and on my side the only thing I can do is try and put some strong performances to give to me opportunities in the future.”

Regarding his fourth place grid position for tomorrow’s race, Gasly said: “We’re starting in a strong position behind the two Mercedes and Max.”

“We need to keep the position at the start and go from there. Looking at the timesheets it’s going to be a tight battle and I’m excited about it.”

In fifth came Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian securing a fourth top-five start of the season.

Ricciardo: “I’m very happy with today’s result. We found speed as the session went on. I’d honestly say it was my best qualifying lap this season.”

An ecstatic Ricciardo re-enforced the opinions of many on how amazing the historic Italian circuit is to drive. Image sourced from renaultsport.com

“This track is amazing. Qualifying fifth was also super important for track position as we can have a really good battle in the race tomorrow since the group around us is very close. If we make a strong start, then we could have a very solid race.”

Dr. No

Following Ricciardo was Red Bull’s Alexander Albon who finished sixth.

After being given an ultimatum to perform over the past few races, Albon’s non-point score at the Portuguese Grand Prix seemed to be his curtain call.

As Red Bull Talent Manager, Helmut Marko all but confirmed to Sky Germany that Albon will not continue with either RB outfit next season. It’s expected that alongside Albon, Danil Kvyat will be ousted.

Making way for Japanese prodigy Yuki Tsunoda to step up from F2 to partner Gasly at AlphaTauri, as either Nico Hülkenberg or Sergio Pérez are set to accompany Verstappen in the works team.

Scuderia’s Solace

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc performed once again on the team’s home soil in Italy. The Monégasque will line-up seventh in-front of Kvyat in eight.

“We struggled quite a bit today,” said Leclerc.

“Especially with the balance of the car and I am not really satisfied with my lap and the way I drove in Q3, but in the end we got seventh, which is not terrible, but probably we expected something better.”

McLaren occupied the ninth and tenth places in qualifying as Lando Norris bested team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.

Despite what may seem like a poor result the Woking based squad remained upbeat as they still managed to outperform the majority of their championship rivals as Sergio Pérez, Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll all bowed out in Q2 by narrow margins.

“The car was quick,” said Norris.

“With the potential to be maybe one position up, but not much more. I’m happy overall, but a bit of a shame we couldn’t be that little bit higher.”

Lando Norris speaking to the media after qualifying in Italy. Image sourced from @McLarenF1 via Twitter.

Sainz: “A bit of a difficult quali for us today. After a positive free practice session this morning, we hoped for a better result because the car was feeling good on track. However, we didn’t seem to be quite there in quali.”

“There’s everything to play for tomorrow. We’ll do our best to find some performance overnight and hopefully score good points.”

Qualifying Highlights

 

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