Daniel Ricciardo scores front row start at Monza - Image: Motorsport Images

By Rhys Vandersyde

Australian Daniel Ricciardo has secured a front row start for the Italian Grand Prix after an eventful Sprint Qualifying Race at Monza.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas put in a dominant performance to be the first to take the chequered flag having led the sprint led from start to finish. However, courtesy of a power unit change penalty will be relegated to the rear of the grid for the main race.

The penalty promotes Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to pole position for the Italian Grand Prix after his second-place finish. While Riccardo, who started the sprint fifth and charged his way up to third, will also move up a place for the 53 Lap race.

Action started early in the Sprint, with last year’s Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly out of the race at the Curva Grande. The Frenchman suffered damage to his front wing after slight contact with the rear of Riccardo’s McLaren as the field bunched up for the first chicane.

Under load, the wing went under the front wheels of the AlphaTauri sending Gasly into the wall at the high-speed corner. He walked away from the incident unharmed but will have to start the main race from the rear of the grid.

Yuki Tsunoda, in the second AlphaTauri, was also caught up in a first lap incident. The Japanese driver made contact with Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) at the second chicane just prior to the Safety Car being called for the previous crash.

Kubica ended up facing the wrong direction in the gravel trap but was able to rejoin the race. Tsunoda returned to the pits to have his front wing replaced before resuming the race at the back of the field.

The second row of the grid will see a resumption of the battle for fourth place from the Sprint. McLaren’s Lando Norris held off Lewis Hamilton to claim the position at the flag.

Hamilton had a terrible start from the front row of the grid and tumbled down to fifth by the first chicane. The reigning champion was unable to recover any of those positions with Norris holding off all attempts by Hamilton to get by.

Ferrari had a strong result despite a rough FP2 session. Charles Leclerc crossed the line sixth after reportedly being unwell. While seventh was a good result after Carlos Sainz’s car required a significant rebuild following a crash in the morning practice session.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi took eighth ahead of Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) who rounded out the top ten.

Fernando Alonso crossed the line in 11th for Alpine, with Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) 12th and 13th respectively.

Nicholas Latifi was the best of the Williams drivers just ahead of George Russell in 14th.

Tsunoda recovered to 16th ahead of Nikita Mazepin (Haas), Kubica and Mick Schumacher (Haas) who rounded out the finishers.

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