The qualifying session has come to an end and once again Mercedes dominated from start to finish. The six-time world champion has claimed pole position with his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, 0.069 behind the British. It will be an exceedingly rare second row since we will not see any Red Bull start from there, but Carlos Sainz who managed to stay with third position and Sergio Perez alongside him. In the third row, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will start with Lando Norris accompanying him in sixth place. Both Red Bulls had a rather difficult qualifying session with a Verstappen not so happy with that fifth place and with an Alex Albon who managed to pass to Q3 miraculously and finished in ninth place. We must remember that from this Italian Grand Prix onwards, drivers and teams will only be able to occupy one engine mode both for qualifying and in the race. Valtteri Bottas also commented that Red Bull would not be so happy with this new regulation by the FIA. However, Verstappen commented that this has not affected them at all, confirming that what has gone wrong has been the weakness of their RB16 on tracks where low downforce is required.
“No, I honestly don’t think we have backtracked. I think this is also a bit of a strange track to really see the full benefit or the differences, because at Monza everyone is in the slipstream, some have a better slipstream than others.” The Dutch driver said regarding the banning of those power unit ‘party modes’.
“We have to wait a bit until we hit a normal track again. Nobody wants a slipstream and drive in clean air. It is too early to say anything about it. But I never expected it to be very different. Of course, other people were throwing some different words. It is what it is.”
Verstappen admitted he tried everything with the set-up of his car, but low aerodynamic tracks are not perfect tracks for his RB16.
“I tried everything, very low, medium-low, and a little more [downforce]. I ended up doing the same lap time the whole time, so it just shows that our car is not good enough at the moment.” He commented. “Around here, we know that in terms of top speed, we are under the power of Mercedes especially, and that is a fact, but that is not the deficit that we have with them at the moment.”
“It’s not that big, the power deficit. For our part, we didn’t have a good balance in the car, but not only that, but not only that, but we also lacked grip.” That is how Max finalized.
It was not the best of their qualifying sessions, but we have seen him making some great movements for higher positions. A podium is not a big deal for the Dutchman, although he must overtake some cars in the early stage of the race.