Lance Stroll will start the Italian Grand Prix from ninth place after a solid sprint qualifying at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team team-mate Sebastian Vettel to start eleventh.
After starting the sprint in twelfth, it was a good afternoon by Stroll who enjoyed a sprint long battle with Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez, in what was one of the highlights of the sprint event.
The pair battled hard but fairly, with Pérez eventually getting the better of the Canadian. The Mexican had initially gotten past Stroll but was forced to give the place back after running off the circuit. In the end Stroll held on to cross the line in tenth, just ahead of Fernando Alonso, the Canadian will start Sunday’s race from ninth however as sprint winner Valtteri Bottas will start from last after taking an engine penalty.
Stroll enjoyed the sprint and is looking forward to the full race on Sunday.
“That was a fun race today. It was not an easy decision to go for the soft tyre over the medium because, while it provides a better launch, degradation becomes a factor later on. We made a good start and gained some places in what was quite a tricky first chicane with all the tyre smoke and loose grass. I then had some good wheel-to-wheel racing with Checo [Perez] later on, too.
“He gave the position back to me a little later than I expected, which lost our DRS train and allowed [Fernando] Alonso to close in, but we were able to hold onto 10th. We will start tomorrow’s race in the mix for points and I think we can extract a little bit more pace from the car overnight. Overtaking is tricky here so strategy will be important, but I am looking forward to racing again tomorrow.”
“A race of damage limitation” – Sebastian Vettel
It was a more challenging afternoon for Sebastian Vettel, the German who started in eleventh crossed the line in twelfth place. The four-time world champion initially made a good start before locking up going into turn one.
This ruined Vettel’s race as the strength of the lock-up caused the German to suffer from vibrations throughout the sprint, turning it into an afternoon of damage limitation. With Bottas’s penalty, Vettel will again start from eleventh where he hopes he will have what it takes to fight for some points.
“It was a tricky race for me. I made a good start off the line, but I had nowhere to go in the packed field of cars so I locked up into Turn One. As a result, I had significant flat spots on the front left and right tyre, which created a lot of vibration. It became a race of damage limitation. We will start in a similar position in tomorrow’s race to where we did today. As we saw this afternoon, overtaking can be difficult because it is hard to follow the car in front, but we will see what we can do and try to fight for points.”