Nobody could believe it. At 2’ minutes from the chequered flag not even one car hazarded to get out, everyone examining each other. Every team watching the others moves. The desperate rush of Sainz and Leclerc for avoiding the countdown will be remembered.
That was the end of one of the most tactic-centred qualifying of all the season: from the early experiments from Ferrari during Alonso and Massa years, the Italian team always tried out the slipstream move to secure a good result on home race Saturday. This year’s excitement after the recovered good condition from Belgian event, led to an extreme study to this kind of team play lap shot: Vettel in front of Leclerc during Q1 and Q2 and the Monegasque pulling ahead the multiple World Champion for the last session was the plan. Unfortunately, at expenses of the reminder from race director Michael Masi to keep a minimum speed during outlap, all the competitors wasted time resulting the mess of al the qualifying session ever happened in history.
Charles Leclerc secured the 21st Pole Position for the Scuderia:
“Obviously the feeling I got when I went out of the car, hearing the crowd cheer so loud is absolutely amazing.
"To be completely honest, the plan was that, in the first run, Seb was giving me the tow and in the second run, I will give him the tow. So, I actually went out of the box in front of him, and then there was the huge mess after Turns One and Two and the McLaren and a Renault […] they stopped in the middle of the track and we had nowhere to go. […] It’s only on a few tracks during the season where we have this issue. […] It has always been like this. I think slipstream has always been that way. I don’t really know what to say. We just need to analyse a little bit more, the situation.
"I think they’ve been quick all weekend, to be honest. I expected them to be very quick today. The straightline speeds are not as different compared to Spa. I think we were surprised to see them so quick on the straights during free practice. I think it was the same in qualifying, so yeah, I think it’s been the same from free practice to qualifying. I think the race pace was more positive compared to what we had the Friday in Spa, so on that we are pretty confident. But the start will be very important, as always”
Sebastian Vettel was outqualified for the 7th time in a row by his teammate:
“I thought we had spoken about it, I definitely listened to what we intended to do. I think it was clear what will happen in the last bit of qualifying, I think we were foreseeing exactly what happened, but we weren’t doing what we were supposed to do and that’s why it was a mess and I didn’t get a run in the end. Not happy with that, but obviously a good result for the team, which in this country, in Italy, is important. But as I said, not entirely happy because I thought it was clear what we communicated beforehand.
"I was the one trying to indicate ‘Get out of the way’ because it was clear that I should be the one second [behind Leclerc] in the second run getting a tow, because I was the first one in the first run. People were slowing down, Charles was slowing down and in the end I didn’t get across the line, nor did I have a good tow. So not a good outcome.
"Anyways, happy with the car, the qualifying was good, the car was very good. Had a really good lap, I just had no tow. That was the difference between pole and not pole today”