For once, the Finn managed to snatch pole position during qualifying at Imola, under the nose and beard of his teammate. Frenchman Pierre Gasly finished 4th.
The Finnish Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) took pole position in the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna, on the Italian circuit of Imola, by a small tenth of a second over his teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying on Saturday. Bottas managed to dethrone Hamilton, comfortable leader of the championship with 77 points ahead of the Finn, in their last qualifying round to afford this fourth pole in 2020, the 15th of his career (1’13”609 against 1 ’13”706). “You always have to,” Bottas said after his performance. “It’s never easy and I really enjoyed this circuit. When you are in full swing, it’s beautiful. And, yeah, I knew I had to improve in the last lap and I found those little gains needed. It is a wonderful feeling when you find them. ” Hamilton winced more: “Valtteri did a great job, and I had a really bad turn. It happens, you can’t always be perfect. I’m grateful for the level of performance we have here, which is truly remarkable. ”
Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), after a scare caused by a faulty spark plug during the second part of qualifying (Q2), and Frenchman Pierre Gasly will take the start on the second row on Sunday. A superb performance for the Alpha Tauri driver, as he explained with a smile at the microphone of Canal +: “I am really very happy with this qualification. I felt good in the car this morning during free practice. We managed to do good laps in each qualifying session. And I manage to get my best lap in Q3, on the last attempt, to take 4th place. ” The Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), the Thai Alexander Albon (Red Bull), the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), the Russian Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) and the McLarens of the British Lando Norris and the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr complete the Top 10 qualifiers.
Mythical name in F1 history, Imola hosted 27 GPs between 1980 and 2006, none since. Veteran Finnish Kimi Räikkönen (41, Alfa Romeo) is therefore the only one on the grid to have raced in the premier class on the circuit where the Brazilian Ayrton Senna was killed in 1994, during a nightmarish weekend. which also claimed the life of Austrian Roland Ratzenberger. More recently, in June, the AlphaTauri riders, the French Pierre Gasly and the Russian Daniil Kvyat, did a short practice session there to prepare for the season.