Valtteri Bottas has earned pole position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola with an impressive last lap effort to defeat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn had topped both of the first two qualifying segments but found himself three-hundredths down on Hamilton after both of their first runs.
Hamilton then bettered his own pace to set a 1.13.706s, but Bottas eclipsed that moments later with a 1m13.609s.
“You don’t ever get pole positions easily and I really enjoyed it,” said Bottas.
“This track, when you push flat-out, it’s beautiful. I knew I had to improve in the last lap and I found those small gains that were needed, and it’s a great feeling when you get those.
“Definitely I had the shakes after. It was good fun.”
Max Verstappen was a distant third, overcoming a scare in Q2 when his Hinda engine suffered a misfire.
Verstappen returned to the pitlane with a reported drop in power. His Red Bull team quickly identified the issue as a misfire and made a spark plug change to salvage his qualifying.
Joining Verstappen on the front row is AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly who had a sublime Q3 session to match his career-best starting position.
Daniel Ricciardo was 0.018s behind Gasly with Alex Albon starting sixth in a make or break weekend for the Red Bull driver.
Aware that a strong performance this weekend could endure he retains his Red Bull seat for next season, Albon recovered from a spin and a track infringement penalty to secure a commendable sixth.
Charles Leclerc comfortably outmatched Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel. The Monegasque eased into Q3 and posted a lap time good enough for P7.
Daniil Kvyat made it both AlphaTauri’s in the top-ten and will line up in eighth, ahead of Lando Norris who fronts an all-McLaren fifth row.
Sergio Perez was the lead Racing Point down in 11th, four places in front of teammate Lance Stroll who had a tumultuous Q2 session which left him without setting a competitive lap time.
George Russell secured his eighth Q2 appearance of the season and will start 13th, outqualifying the second Ferrari of Vettel who will start just behind the Williams driver.
Romain Grosjean headed the cluster of those eliminated in Q1. Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen will start 16th despite running off the track on his final attempt.
Kimi Raikkonen could have made it to Q2 but his best lap time was deleted for track limits, leaving the Alfa Romeo driver to start 18th. Though he still finished the session ahead of teammate Antonio Giovinazzi who makes up the final row alongside the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi.
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1.302s|