Italian Grand Prix: Leclerc races to pole in Monza - Schumacher suffers setbacks again

Charles Leclerc got on his red Ferrari in the unusual yellow overalls and was celebrated by the enthusiastic Tifosi.

Italian Grand Prix: Leclerc races to pole in Monza - Schumacher suffers setbacks again

Charles Leclerc got on his red Ferrari in the unusual yellow overalls and was celebrated by the enthusiastic Tifosi. The 2019 Monza winner gave no thought to any arithmetic because of countless and confusing starting place penalties from his competitors and, euphoric from the fans, raced to pole at the Italian Grand Prix. "It's wonderful," said the 24-year-old Monegasse. "I took a lot of risks, I knew it was the last lap."

With the final attempt, he saved the 17th pole of his career and nurtured hopes of a home win for Ferrari in the high-speed Mecca Monza. Because World Championship leader and defending champion Max Verstappen came in second in qualifying, but started with a five-place penalty.

Because Carlos Sainz (3rd in the Ferrari), Sergio Perez (4th in the Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (5th in the Mercedes) also had new parts in their cars that exceeded the permitted quota, they also had to move back – albeit differently far. The big beneficiary of this is George Russell, who ended the knockout elimination in sixth place and is moving up to second on the grid.

And even Mick Schumacher, last in the lame Haas on an already problematic weekend, and Sebastian Vettel, 17th in the Aston Martin, will move up positions on the so-called grid this Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky).

But Verstappen was also confident, assuming seventh on the grid himself. "Unless I'm stupid." A clean first lap, then quickly closing the gap and he also has a good chance of beating Leclerc, who, like Perez, is a whopping 109 points behind Verstappen in the classification before the 16th race of the season. Mathematically, the Dutchman cannot yet complete his second world championship title at the last race of the season in Europe this year, but he can at the following Grand Prix in Singapore at the beginning of next month.

Above all, Leclerc wants to prevent exactly that and will again be able to rely on the full support of the tens of thousands of Tifosi in the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. As in the knockout elimination.

Because it got loud when first Sainz and then Leclerc drove the best time in the first period. Instead of orange as recently in Spa-Francorchamps and Zandvoort in the sign of Verstappen fans, Ferrari red dominates almost 20 kilometers from Milan, even if the red goddess wears a bit of Modena yellow this time as a reminiscence to the home of founder Enzo Ferrari. Verstappen was not impressed, he grabbed the fastest lap in the first knockout section, which already meant the end for the German duo.

Vettel didn't want to believe it. "I'm afraid we're out, Sebastian," he radioed into the car. "It can't be," said Vettel. 17th place in the Aston Martin on the circuit where he celebrated his first pole 14 years ago and then his first Grand Prix victory, at the wheel of a Toro Rosso.

Mick Schumacher suffered the next setback through no fault of his own. On Friday he had to leave his car to the former Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi in the first practice session, and then an engine defect stopped the German in the second practice session. In the session before qualifying, there were problems with the clutch, Mick Schumacher was only able to complete 17 practice laps in total and was last in qualifying behind teammate Kevin Magnussen.

"You don't have any reference points at all," explained Schumacher. He is not "too happy". Because some better-placed drivers get even higher grid penalties, he will even move up a bit. Because it was clear, among other things, that Sainz and Hamilton should actually be behind Schumacher because of their penalties, as should Yuki Tsunoda, who was eliminated prematurely.

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