The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team will start tomorrow’s Sprint Race on the front row after a strong Friday qualifying session at the FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN GRAN PREMIO D’ITALIA 2021.
Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in Q3 with a blistering last lap to ensure he starts this season’s second F1 Sprint Race in first position.
Lewis Hamilton took P2, just 0.096s behind his teammate, after topping FP1 and the first two Qualifying sessions.
Bottas has taken on his fourth Power Unit of the season – meaning he is set to start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid.
‘Pole position feels great and I really had fun and enjoyed it out there. It was beautiful lap, which I managed to save for the end. I felt relaxed in the car and I am happy with our work as a team. The car has felt good all day, with our performance little stronger than we perhaps expected, especially when you look at the gap to Red Bull. Hopefully it will be similar on the race pace for us.
‘I know I’ll be starting from the back on Sunday with the PU change but the focus is on tomorrow and trying to extract as many points as possible. We know Sunday will be a fight, but our pace is good and I’m sure we can finish strong then too. But our eyes are set on tomorrow and hopefully we have another good day.’
‘First, I want to congratulate Valtteri, that was really a mega lap and he was just quicker. I couldn’t match it at the end so very well deserved. Especially with the news that went out earlier this week, it’s great to see Valtteri driving so well. From my end, I struggled a bit in that last session for whatever reason, so not the best Qualifying for me. But in general, it was close between us all out there and I’m happy to have a front row lockout for the team.
‘We have to get off to a good start tomorrow and try and maximise the opportunities. There has been many lost points this year so every point really counts and we need to try and capitalise during these sprint race weekends. The format is exciting and it’s amazing to see the Italian fans back. I hope we can give them a good show.’
‘Well done to Valtteri, a great lap and a well deserved pole position… even if the rule book says that comes tomorrow. It is always a busy day when you only have one hour in free practice to get the car ready and setup for qualifying but we had a productive session in the morning and the car seemed to be working well. We looked to have good pace through the sessions and that’s helped us save some tyres so we have all options open to us for the race starts tomorrow and on Sunday. Unfortunately, we noticed an issue with Valtteri’s power unit towards the end of the morning session and we didn’t have endless time to investigate so we decided to take a new power unit whilst there was still time to change it. The crew did a great job making sure the car was back together for qualifying. That’s going to mean Valtteri starts from the back on Sunday but it’s great that we’ve got both cars on the front row for tomorrow.’