Ferrari’s Leclerc takes pole for Italian Grand Prix

Sports Desk, Sep 10 (EFE).- Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) grabbed pole Saturday in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the home race for the Scuderia.

Defending champion and current points leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull) set the second-fastest lap, followed by the other half of the Ferrari duo, Carlos Sainz.

Yet because of engine and gearbox penalties, the Dutchman will start Sunday’s race from seventh on the grid and the Spaniard will be relegated to P18.

The fourth- and fifth-place finishers in qualifying, Mexico’s Sergio “Checo” Perez (Red Bull) and British seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) will also drop down the grid due to penalties, to P13 and P19, respectively.

The losses for the penalized drivers translate into gains for Briton George Russell (Mercedes), who qualified sixth but will share the front row with Leclerc; and McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

The British driver moves up from seventh to third and the Australian veteran – who won last year’s Italian GP – is vaulted from eighth to P4.

Also benefiting at the expense of penalized drivers are France’s Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), who gets P5, and Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso, set to start from sixth on the grid.

Dutch F1 debutant Nyck de Vries (Williams), replacing appendicitis-stricken Alex Albon, will start eighth on Sunday. The fifth row will be occupied by China’s Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) and Canadian Nicholas Latifi (Williams).

Verstapen, with 310 points, has a significant lead in the driver standings over Leclerc and Red Bull teammate Perez, both on 201 points.

Russell is next with 188 points, followed by Sainz (175) and Hamilton (158). EFE caf/dr

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