Sainz flies and will start third

The Madrilenian equals his best classification with the McLaren at Monza and will start from the second row behind Hamilton, the poleman, and Bottas.


With the big boys, where he has to be, Carlos Sainz qualified the McLaren at Monza. Brilliant since Friday and with confidence through the roof despite the misfortunes of this season, the Madrid-born planted the MCL35 third in the fast laps contest hosted by the Temple of Speed. He worked it, he matured it. He saved a set of wheels in the first session (a good habit that his team should take advantage of), he looked for confidence from the second and he saved everything he had for the final attempt, with the checkered flag displayed. With that lap of genius, without errors, he overtook Max Verstappen by an exact tenth and by a handful of thousandths a leathery rival, Sergio Pérez, who will start fourth in his wake this Sunday at the Italian GP. It is his best result ever on a grid, he repeats Spielberg's in July.

In that first stop you will meet the Mercedes. What a good place to fight and what a good position to defend in the race. The challenge is enormous: a Red Bull, a pink Mercedes, a Renault that flies without downforce ... But they all come out from behind. The pole was Lewis Hamilton with 69 thousandths over Valtteri Bottas. The distance seems small, but it was insurmountable for the Finn throughout the weekend. They were beaten on equal terms, in fact it was appreciated that the two Mercedes left enough distance between them so that the slipstream did not affect, neither positively nor negatively. And in all attempts the six-time British champion won, who is crying out for a rival at his height. Or maybe not. The pressure from Valtteri in the first turn may be the biggest challenge Hamilton has to face all weekend.

Curious spectacle that of the classification of the slips. Track position was key, nobody wanted to lead the pack because air resistance costs tenths at Monza. Mercedes assumed that leadership of the train, dividing the responsibility between its two pilots (one lap each), and thus the traffic problems of the previous year were solved, although the tension in the pit lane was palpable, especially in Q2. The mechanics held the cars until another was started, to then fit them in the tail with millimeter precision. Not too soon, without rivals ahead, not too late, with the risk of not arriving in time to start the lap. A chess game with pieces worth many millions of euros in which the one who holds out the longest serious time wins. All in all, the disaster of the previous year was resolved reasonably well.

Leclerc will start 13th, Vettel did not pass the Q1

The Q1, however, did have a lot of disastrous traffic jam in the Tangenziale in Milan, with overtaking at the end of the straight, complaints and arms raised. Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in that first cut with a disappointing 17th place. The lament of the tifosi is saved because the stands are deserted, but the panorama is just as bleak around Ferrari with a regrettable result, losing positions with respect to the Spa grid. Charles Leclerc, his partner and the poleman and winner of the Italian GP in 2019, was 13th. It finished as the best classified of all those that use the Italian propeller. Then he left a lapidary radio message to his engineers: "I can't do better." Nor can he say it any clearer.

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