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Max second in Monza qualifying: 'Happy to be second'

Published on 02 September 2023 by Florence Cobben

In an exciting qualifying, Carols Sainz was, to the rapture of the Tifosi, just quicker than Max Verstappen, landing pole position. The Spanish Ferrari driver was thirteen-thousandths of a second faster than Max, who had himself just managed to keep Charles Leclerc behind him.

“It was good. I think we made some good improvements compared to yesterday”, Max explains. “In qualifying, you could see every qualifying session was very tight so I’m happy to be second to Sainz.” It looks like this Sunday Max will be racing inbetween the two Ferrari drivers, whose enthusiastic fans roar over Max’s interview. He remains confident: “It’s nice to see the Tifosi. Ofcourse, tomorrow we’ll try to win the race. Normally we have a quick race car, but I'm not all too worried, because we have prepared the car with a focus on Sunday's race. I expect that the Ferraris will be quite quick in the beginning, but afterwards the focus is on who can maintain the tyres for longest. But let’s first enjoy today and then let’s focus on tomorrow.”

In the first part of qualifiying, the twelve drivers take to the track on (required) hard compound Pirelli tyres. Max’s first lap is deleted, because he violated track limits in turn seven. In his second run, the Dutchman manages a time of 1:21.573 (P1), three-tenths before his Oracle Red Bull Racing teammate Sergio Perez. Zhou Guanyu, Pierre Gasly,  Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll are the drivers that ultimately do not make it into Q2.

In Q2, the remaining fifteen drivers drive out on mediums. Max secures a time of 1:21.035, which Sainz manages to challenge by forty-four thousandths of a second. In his second lap Max improves to 1:20.937, a time closely followed by Charles Leclerc, who is just four-hundredths behind. Yuki Tsunoda, Liam Lawson, Nico Hülkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant set the five slowest times, ending their stint in qualifying.

The ten drivers that made it to Q3 head out on soft compounds, the fastest tyre. Max has a slip up and secures third with a time of 1:20.631, behind the Ferrari’s of Sainz and Leclerc. In the closing seconds of Q3, the differences are minute, but Sainz is the victorious man. Max comes up thirteen-thousandths of a second short, but stays 67-thousandths ahead of Leclerc. George Russell finishes fourth, ahead of Perez and Alex Albon’s Williams.

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Results qualifying Italy:

1Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:21.9651:20.9911:20.294
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:21.5731:20.9371:20.307
3Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:21.7881:20.9771:20.361
4George RussellRUSMercedes1:22.1481:21.3821:20.671
5Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:21.9111:21.2401:20.688
6Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:21.6611:21.2721:20.760
7Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:22.1061:21.5271:20.785
8Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:21.9771:21.3691:20.820
9Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:21.9951:21.5811:20.979
10Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:22.0431:21.5431:21.417
11Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:21.8521:21.594
12Liam LawsonLAWAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:22.1121:21.758
13Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:22.3431:21.776
14Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:22.2491:21.940
15Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:21.9301:21.944
16Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:22.390
17Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:22.545
18Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:22.548
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:22.592
20Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:22.860