Charles Leclerc on pole for Italian GP with George Russell to start second
Home favourite Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from pole position, after emerging quickest in qualifying.
The Ferrari driver pipped championship leader Max Verstappen by just 0.175 seconds, with the other Prancing Horse of Carlos Sainz Jr. in third, much to the delight of the Tifosi.
The starting grid for the race will look very different to the results of qualifying however, as nine drivers will take grid-place penalties for excessive engine changes.
Most notably, five of the six fastest drivers will drop places, including Sir Lewis Hamilton who will start from the back, while Verstappen will line-up seventh on the grid.
As a result, George Russell will start second, which puts the Brit in a good position to win his first grand prix and Mercedes’ first of the season.
Though Leclerc was always likely to start first given all the penalties, it is nevertheless a huge boost for the driver to have beaten Verstappen purely on pace.
‘It is amazing, it wasn’t an easy qualifying session but I knew we had the potential in the car,’ the Monegasque racer said.
‘I just took much more risks, it was the last lap, I knew I had to find a lot of performance there and it worked out. Very happy with the lap and very happy with the performance.’
‘I hope we can do just like 2019 [where he took victory at Monza] tomorrow.’
More to follow…
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