The stage is set for the second of 23 races on the record-breaking 2021 Formula 1 calendar following the qualifying session at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Like the qualifying session for the 2021 Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit three weeks ago, the qualifying session for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari featured a tight battle between Red Bull and Mercedes.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in second place, but the two swapped places in the race itself.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas placed third in both qualifying and the race.
Did history repeat itself in Imola?
Not quite. Hamilton took the pole position for tomorrow’s 63-lap race around the 21-turn, 3.05-mile (4.908-kilometer) road course in Imola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy by recording a top lap time of 74.411 seconds (147.559 miles per hour) in the third and final round of qualifying for the race.
This pole position is the 99th of his Formula 1 career, further extending the all-time record. He qualified ahead of a Red Bull in second place, but it was the RB16R of Sergio Perez, not Verstappen. Perez has never started a race from the front row in 192 attempts over 11 seasons. Verstappen qualified in third and is set to start alongside not Bottas but Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in fourth.
Verstappen entered this race having outqualified his teammates in 25 consecutive races.
Five teams are accounted for in the top six on the starting grid, as AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly qualified in fifth place for the second consecutive race ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.
Lando Norris would have qualified ahead of his McLaren teammate, but he lost his best lap time for exceeding track limits and is set to start in seventh place. Bottas qualified in a disappointing eighth.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso also saw a lengthy qualifying streak come to an end, as he was beaten by teammate Esteban Ocon, and quite handily. Ocon qualified in ninth place ahead of Alonso in 15th. Alonso had been on a 27-race streak of outqualifying his teammates.
Williams’ George Russell continued his streak, which now sits at 39, excluding his lone race at Mercedes last season as the replacement for Hamilton after Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19. Despite the fact that teammate Nicholas Latifi was quicker than he was in Q1, he beat him in Q2. Russell qualified in 12th place ahead of Latifi in 14th.
Here is the full starting lineup for the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
1st – Lewis Hamilton
2nd – Sergio Perez
3rd – Max Verstappen
4th – Charles Leclerc
5th – Pierre Gasly
6th – Daniel Ricciardo
7th – Lando Norris
8th – Valtteri Bottas
9th – Esteban Ocon
10th – Lance Stroll
11th – Carlos Sainz Jr.
12th – George Russell
13th – Sebastian Vettel
14th – Nicholas Latifi
15th – Fernando Alonso
16th – Kimi Raikkonen
17th – Antonio Giovinazzi
18th – Mick Schumacher
19th – Nikita Mazepin
20th – Yuki Tsunoda (crashed out, no lap time)
Tune in to ESPN at 9:00 a.m. ET tomorrow morning for the live broadcast of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.