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Valtteri Bottas on pole for Sprint Race at Italian GP from Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Valtteri Bottas set the quickest time in Friday qualifying to ensure he will start on pole position for Saturday’s Sprint Race ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton had been quicker than Bottas all session but the Finnish driver who it was announced will be leaving Mercedes at the end of the season, pulled out a quick lap to pip the seven-time champion by 0.096 seconds.

Bottas though has had a chance to his power unit meaning he will start at the back of the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, regardless of where he finishes on Saturday.

Valtteri Bottas will start at the front for Saturday’s Sprint Race alongside Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was pipped by his departing team mate by a very narrow 0.096 seconds 

Max Verstappen starts third in his Red Bull with team mate Sergio Perez down in a lowly 9th

Max Verstappen struggled for pace early on in the session and looked like he could be under threat from the two McLaren drivers of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

The Dutchman put in a strong lap in the final part of qualifying though which puts him behind the two Mercedes driver on Saturday, though the Red Bull doesn’t look as strong at Monza compares to their rivals.  

Norris put in a fine effort for fourth ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo who put in one of his strongest performances of the season. Pierre Gasly again impressed in sixth ahead of the two Ferrari’s of Carlos Sainz and Charles LeClerc.

Sergio Perez qualified in a lowly ninth though team principal Christian Horner claimed that the Mexican had sacrificed half a second by giving Verstappen a tow to ensure the title challenger was not beaten by the quick McLarens. 

Verstappen struggled for pace compared to the Mercedes but third was a strong result

Bottas will take an engine penalty which means he will start at the back in Sunday’s race

George Russell on the week where it was announced he would replace pole-man Bottas at Mercedes, qualified in 15th position.

The Williams driver looked like he was heading out in the first part of qualifying, though the Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda had a lap time deleted promoting Russell. 

There was a mess in the pit-lane during the second part of qualifying as the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel was released into the path of Hamilton with the pair narrowly avoiding contact.

George Russell just barely made it out of Q1 and could do no better than 15th in Q2

A mechanic from the Alpine team had to quickly dart backwards in order to allow Vettel some space.

Arguably there were a number of unsafe releases during the session and it was announced that the incident would be investigated after qualifying.

It was also messy on track as cars squabbled to get in position to get a tow which is very valuable at the Monza track. 

Gasly had a particular nervy moment when he had to overtake six cars around the outside going into and through the Ascari chicane. 

Q2 saw both Aston Martin and Alpine cars drop out of the session with the Williams of Russell.

Antonio Giovinazzi in his Alfa Romeo is fighting for his future and he put in a solid effort for tenth compared to his team mate Robert Kubica, who standing in for Kimi Raikkonen qualified down in 18th.    

The McLarens looked like they could beat Verstappen but were happy to get P4 and P5

There was drama as cars were released in the pit-lane which will be investigated

Ferrari struggled to impress in front of their Tifosi and will start on the fourth row on Saturday

Sportsmail’s Kieran Lynch provided live Formula One qualifying coverage of the Italian Grand Prix, including build-up, updates and result. 

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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