F1 2019: Leclerc to start from pole for Italian GP after bizarre final qualifying session

The final session of qualifying for the Italian GP is currently under investigation after a bizarre scramble for nearly all drivers failing to set a lap time on the second run.

By: | Updated: September 7, 2019 8:09 PM

Charles Leclerc is said to start the 2019 Italian Grand Prix from pole for Ferrari alongside Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes after the strangest moment in modern F1 qualifying format.

At Monza, it was all about the slipstream-tow in Q3. Mercedes went out first in Q3, and Ferrari followed suit. But both Mercedes pull over at the end of the pit lane to let everyone through as they did at Baku. This led to major chaos as Q3 went underway as all 10 drivers were trying to fall back and get into formation for a tow to set a faster lap time on their first run.

While Leclerc set the fastest lap time on their first run for Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo refused to grip at Parabolica leaving the Finn to spin-out and crash into the barrier for the second time this weekend. Although Kimi walked away from the incident, he was taken to the medical centre due to the recorded G-forces from the crash were high, thus a precautionary medical assessment was necessary. The crash red-flagged the session with six minutes left to run in Q3.

The pit late went green soon after but the drivers stayed station in their garages waiting on others to leave first with four minutes of absolutely nothing happening. But with 1 min 40 seconds to go, Hulkenberg decided to leave first. But with so little time left, everyone was scrambling to make it to the line and also manage to get a tow. Within that scramble, Carlos Sainz was able to get ahead of the pack and just made it across the line, but rest of the pack failed to cross the line in time to be able to set a time.

With Leclerc already setting the fastest lap time, Sainz failed to beat the time, Leclerc will start the race from pole. The Mercedes cars will see Hamilton start from second, and Valterri Bottas third ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari. The two Renaults of Daniel Riccardo and Nico Hulkenberg will start from fifth and sixth ahead of Carlos Sainz in the McLaren. As Alex Albon and Lance Stroll failed to set a time on their first run due to the red flag, they will start from eighth and ninth with Kimi Raikkonen in 10th. However, with extensive damage to the Alfa Romeo, Raikkonen could be awarded a grip place penalty should he require a new gearbox for the race.

The stewards have confirmed that the final session of qualifying is currently under investigation.

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