Italian GP: Bottas beats Verstappen in F1 sprint; Hamilton fifth

Valtteri Bottas won Formula 1's second sprint qualifying race at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, beating Max Verstappen, with Lewis Hamilton fifth after making a poor start from alongside Bottas.

Italian GP: Bottas beats Verstappen in F1 sprint; Hamilton fifth

Daniel Ricciardo finished third for McLaren ahead of his teammate Lando Norris, who kept Hamilton at bay for the duration of the race, which was disrupted by a first-lap crash for 2020 Monza winner Pierre Gasly.

The result means Verstappen will start Sunday's grand prix from the front of the grid, with Ricciardo alongside him on the front row, as Bottas will drop to the rear of the field for taking a fresh Mercedes engine before Friday evening qualifying.

At the start, Bottas led easily away from pole, pursued by Verstappen, as Hamilton's slow getaway meant he was forced to defend against Norris's run to the inside of the first corner.

The world champion was then swamped by Ricciardo and Gasly on his left-hand side and as the pack closed together for the first corners Hamilton was squeezed behind the AlphaTauri and Norris on his right to drop to fifth by Turn 2's exit.

As Bottas, Verstappen and Ricciardo ran clear through the long Curve Grande, Gasly, who had briefly tagged the McLaren's left-rear and damaged his front wing as a result, shot off into the gravel when his wing broke apart and went underneath his front wheels.

Gasly skated across the gravel on the outside and crashed into the barriers, bouncing back into the gravel before coming to a stop where the Frenchman climbed out.

The incident meant the safety car was called – just after a clash between Yuki Tsunoda and Robert Kubica between the two apexes of the della Roggia chicane spun the latter around – as Gasly's car was recovered.

The race restarted on lap four of 18, with Bottas romping clear to a 1.6s lead over Verstappen, with Hamilton chasing the two McLarens – both on the soft tyres versus the mediums on the two leaders and the second Mercedes.

As Norris held Hamilton at bay, even as DRS was activated at the start of lap six, Ricciardo quickly fell away from Bottas and Verstappen.

The leaders were the only drivers able to lap in the 1m23s and by lap 10 they were over five seconds clear of Ricciardo.

Bottas and Verstappen exchanged fastest laps, but the Mercedes' advantage never looked under threat as the gap fluctuated towards and then back from the two-second mark approaching the two-thirds-completed mark.

The leading duo continued to pull away from Ricciardo over the rest of the race, with Bottas in command up front – eventually winning by 2.3s.

Ricciardo came home 14.5s behind the winner, with Norris defying Hamilton, who at times was sliding around dramatically in his countryman's wake, to the flag, where Hamilton ended up 20-seconds behind his victorious teammate.

Charles Leclerc led home his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in sixth and seventh – the former recovering from feeling unwell at the end of FP2 to take the start of the sprint race from eighth, where he climbed from in the first lap melee at the opening turns.

Sainz, who's Ferrari had been hastily rebuilt after his heavy FP2 crash at Ascari, came home where he started and ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Alfa Romeo driver held off the charging Sergio Perez to the finish, with the Red Bull driver involved in the race's other main flashpoint – his attempts to pass Aston Martin's Lance Stroll on lap nine.

After attacking to the outside of Turn 1, Perez cut across the raised kerbs in the runoff beyond and stayed ahead as the pair raced towards Curve Grande.

Red Bull ordered him to give the place back, which he did approaching Ascari on the same lap, and on the next tour Perez pulled off a similar move at Turn 1 to get in front of Stroll and then start his ultimately fruitless pursuit of Giovinazzi.

Stroll finished 10th ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Tsunoda pitted after his clash with Kubica and recovered back up the order to finish 16th with Kimi Raikkonen's temporary replacement at Alfa Romeo coming home between the Haas cars in 18th, as Gasly was the race's only retirement.

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 2.325
3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 14.534
4 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 18.835
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 20.011
6 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 23.442
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 27.952
8 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 31.089
9 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 31.680
10 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 38.671
11 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 39.795
12 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 41.177
13 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 43.373
14 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 45.977
15 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 46.821
16 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 49.977
17 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 1'02.599
18 Poland Robert Kubica
Alfa Romeo 1'05.096
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 1'06.154
20 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri
shares
comments
Italian GP's F1 sprint qualifying race as it happened
Previous article

Italian GP's F1 sprint qualifying race as it happened

Next article

Hamilton expecting "easy win" for Verstappen in Italian GP

Hamilton expecting "easy win" for Verstappen in Italian GP
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021