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Oscar Piastri took his second Pole position in a row after taking a pole at Silverstone becoming the first repeat polesitter of the season adding four more points to his tally for the season.

Qualifying was again extremely close, Jehan Daruvala achieved his first front row start of the season and was only 0.016 seconds off pole with Piastri’s main championship rival Guan Yu Zhou having to settle for third position but again only 0.051 seconds off pole.

It would be Théo Pourchaire who opened up qualifying, hoping to make the most of the clean air available to him but the Frenchman was down in tenth after the first lot of runs, despite a very quick sector 1.

It was Ralph Boschung the driver who came out last and therefore made the most of a rubbered in track, slotted into first place at the end of the first lot of runs, the Swiss driver registering a time of 1:32.609 to put his Campos at the front.

Championship leader Piastri found his bearings on the next set of laps, stealing first from Boschung by two tenths whilst Ticktum who had lead free practice slotted into third position.

Valtteri Bottas stormed to sprint qualifying victory at the Italian Grand Prix, in what was a mixed afternoon for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, with Lewis Hamilton finishing fifth.

It was a perfect afternoon for Bottas, the Finnish driver led from the off and never looked back in the second installment of sprint qualifying to pick up three all important world championship points, ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. Unfortunately for Bottas he won’t be starting the main race from pole which is of course the reward for winning the sprint qualifying.

Bottas will start the main race from the back of the grid after taking an engine penalty, meaning that Verstappen inherits pole position.

This is bad news for world champion Lewis Hamilton, the British driver had a sprint to forget after an uncharacteristically poor start. Hamilton was riddled with wheel-spin off the line which saw him tumble down to fifth. Unfortunately that would be where Hamilton would finish, the seven-time world champion failed to recover any places lost, meaning he received zero points from the sprint.

Hamilton goes into Sunday’s main race now five points behind Verstappen and will start from fourth, behind Verstappen and both Mclaren F1 Team drivers. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff is proud of Bottas’s performance in what was a mixed day for the team, and is hoping that not all is lost on Sunday.

Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Alex Palou has never raced at Portland International Raceway before, and despite bringing out a red flag, the young Spaniard managed to go fastest in practice ahead of the Grand Prix of Portland.

With thirty-eight minutes remaining, Palou ran too wide in turn twelve and spun in the dirt, coming to a stop just before the edge of the tyre barrier. He was very lucky to avoid damage and continue his run to the top.

Before the session began, it was announced that Ed Carpenter Racing‘s Rinus Veekay will be given a six-place grid penalty for an unapproved engine change this weekend that will be enforced after qualifying. Not the birthday gift the now twenty-one year old Dutchman.

With forty-four minutes remaining in the session, Max Chilton brought out the first red flag of the day after he spun in turn two. The Carlin driver used too much curb in the first corner and lost the back end as he came around turn two, stopping on track. He was not the only victim of the chicane, as Scott McLaughlin also used too much curb and went straight into the grass on the outside of turn two as he tried to return to the racing surface.

The one year break from the demanding Portland circuit caught out experienced veterans as well, as Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly were all reminded how unforgiving the curbs are with brief off-track excursions.

Valtteri Bottas made a much welcomed return to winning ways at the Italian Grand Prix, clinching an easy sprint qualifying victory at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton had a sprint to forget in fifth.

It was a perfect Saturday for Bottas, the Finnish driver cruised to victory ahead of Max Verstappen, adding three world championship points to his tally. Of course Bottas doesn’t receive pole position for Sunday’s main race after clinching the sprint victory, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver will line-up from the back of the grid after taking an engine penalty.

Despite this Bottas is hopeful that it can be a positive fight from the back on Sunday, with overtaking being more than possible during the race.

“A good day in the office for me personally, it was a clean race and I had the pace. Feels like it has been a while since I’ve finished first in a race, so I am very happy. I had a good start and a clean restart as well, so those things were key for me. The car felt good throughout, and it was great to finish P1 today and get some points as well.

“Unfortunately, I’m starting from the back tomorrow, but the speed is there, so I’ll be fighting. There are overtaking opportunities here so I hope I can make my way up the grid and have a good race for the Team. It won’t be easy, but we have the pace and with the right strategy we can make something happen. I’ll give it everything, I can promise you that.”

Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman are celebrating their first pole position as Paddock Motorsport after claiming the top spot ahead of round 7 of the 2021 Intelligent Money British GT Championship from Oulton Park. Fletcher had the Bentley Continental GT3 for the opening session of qualifying which ended slightly early after a high speed accident for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR of Andrew Howard. Team Parker Racing took pole for race 2 as reward after a troubling pair of race meetings at Spa and Snetterton, Scott Malvern putting together a near perfect lap to best Yelmer Buurman by just 0.005 seconds. 

In GT4 it was honours to Newbridge Motorsport. The duo of Matt Topham and Darren Turner set the standard in the third and fourth sessions and the #27 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 will have a clear view for both of tomorrow’s one hour encounters. 

GT3 Am Qualifying – Formidable Fletcher Tops Curtailed Quali. 

Not initially a candidate for pole position, 9th and 6th in the two free practice sessions hinted at reasonable if not pole setting pace, the Paddock Motorsport Bentley triumphed in a session which could have gone any number of ways. Kelvin Fletcher had the duty for the first of two ten minute outings for the GT3 cars by a combination of strong pace and great luck when the music stopped prematurely, topped the timesheets. 

First to top the timesheets was the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO of Michael Igoe and Phil Keen. The WPI Motorsport machine, at the hands of Igoe, lost out to series debutant Kevin Tse of RAM Racing. The Macanese driver subsequently lost out to Fletcher who could have taken pole with his first effort. A second chance saw the TV star turned race driver improve his pace by three tenths which topped the pile as the red flags came out. 

The red flag was for Andrew Howard, who thankfully emerged unharmed from a massive accident on Lakeside, who lost control of #7 Aston Martin, impacted the barrier on drivers left and ended up in the gravel at the Shell Oils Hairpin. Whilst Howard was uninjured in the accident the same cannot be said of the car which needs an overnight chassis change and will surrender 4th place on the grid as a result of the 10 place penalty that change incurs. 


Valtteri Bottas won the Sprint Qualifying Race at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy. Max Verstappen  and Daniel Ricciardo finished in second and third positions.

Bottas was awarded three points for the win. Verstappen clinched two points to extend his lead over Lewis Hamilton. Ricciardo took one point for third position.

Bottas will start the race at the back of the grid after penalties for new power unit components. So Verstappen will start on pole position with Ricciardo on the front row.

Norris and Hamilton will start on the second row. The loss of positions for Hamilton on the starting grid for the race on Sunday and the positions gained by Verstappen is a serious blow to the Briton in the drivers’ championship.

The eighteen lap sprint race to decide the starting grid for the race started under hot conditions with the air temperature at 28 degrees C and the track temperature at 43 degrees C.

Saturday, 11 September 2021. As the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series gear up for a doubleheader at Richmond Raceway, both races will feature a patriotic flair in tribute to those lost in the terrorist attacks that struck the United States twenty years ago. While the political consequences and bloody details of the ensuing war in the Middle East have sparked much debate, the sports world back in America has continued to maintain a somber yet remembering tone throughout the buildup to Saturday.

In NASCAR’s case, many teams will run special liveries, generally featuring patterns such as the American flag or its colours, and the Cup race was dubbed the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders to honour emergency personnel who reported to the sites of the attacks. Fan favourite Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to driving in the Xfinity event, where his car features a “United for America” paint scheme. Similar tributes took place for the ten-year anniversary in 2011, also at Richmond.

While the Camping World Truck Series does not have a race scheduled for the day, Jim Rosenblum and the #28 Chevrolet Silverado of FDNY Racing almost certainly would have shown up to Richmond if there was. A former sports car racer and New York native who owned Cup cars in the 1980s, Rosenblum has fielded a truck since the inaugural season in 1995; Rosenblum and the Nemechek family at NEMCO Motorsports are the only team owners from that year who have run a Truck race in 2021.

However, a small team with meager funding can only go so far in the racing world. FDNY has never run more than seven races in a given year, has an average finish of just 24.3, and only boasts a single top ten—an eighth at Talladega in 2018 with Bryan Dauzat. In 2021, Dauzat finished nineteenth and thirty-fourth in two starts at Daytona and Pocono, while the team’s owner points were sold to Bret Holmes Racing in March.

So what makes this part-time team so different from its peers?

Lewis Hamilton topped the time charts at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy in the second free practice session (FP2) on Saturday.

Valtteri Bottas was 0.222 seconds behind in second position. Max Verstappen in third position was 0.416 seconds behind Hamilton at the end of the session.

The second free practice session took place on Saturday morning as this is the second race at which the Sprint Race on Saturday evening is going to determine the starting grid of the race.

The qualifying session took place on Friday and Bottas, Hamilton and Verstappen finished in the top three positions.

The sixty-minute long free practice session started again under clear skies with the air temperature at 25 degrees C and the track temperature at 37 degrees C.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon will line-up from the seventh row on the grid, after disappointing qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix for the Alpine F1 Team, leaving much work to be done in Saturday’s sprint qualifying. The team have also been fined €5000 for an unsafe release during qualifying two.

Alonso just edged team-mate Ocon at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, to qualify in thirteenth place for Saturday’s sprint qualifying. The Spaniard believes final qualifying may have been possible, had he not messed up his opening lap in qualifying two after locking up at turn one.

Alonso did have a strong start to the day, the veteran ended opening free practice in eighth place, showing that perhaps there is hope for a good haul of points on Sunday if he can make up enough ground during the sprint qualifying.

“We didn’t have many laps today with the shorter format, but we couldn’t find the pace in the end. We got through to Q2 but then my first run in that session wasn’t ideal as I locked up the front tyres going into turn one. This meant I only had one push lap. Q3 might have been possible today with a few tenths to gain.

“It’s the Sprint tomorrow, though, so let’s see what we can do then. It will be more difficult to overtake than it was at Silverstone, and the first few corners will be tight, but we have to remember the points are scored on Sunday.”

George Russell admitted it was a tricky Friday for Williams Racing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, although the Briton was able to make it into Q2 for a thirteenth time in fourteen races.

Initially it had looked as though Russell would miss out on Q2 as he was edged down to sixteenth place, but Yuki Tsunoda’s final flying lap was deleted as the Japanese racer exceeded track limits at the final turn.

Russell was able to improve on his time in Q2, but he was unable to better fifteenth on the grid, and he goes into the rest of the weekend expecting it to be tough for him to be a points contender.

“It has been a really tricky day, and we aren’t quite as competitive here as we would have hoped,” said Russell.  “Since we hit the ground with FP1 we weren’t in the right window with the car and that really compromises you on a weekend like this.

“We did a really good job executing qualifying though and the team got me in the right position on track, but today just wasn’t meant to be. I think we are in a better position for the Sprint Qualifying tomorrow than we were today, but generally I think it’s going to be a tough weekend.

Antonio Giovinazzi was delighted to reach Q3 for a second consecutive race weekend, with the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver securing tenth place on the grid for Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

The Italian was pleased with how he performed in both Q1 and Q2, finishing inside the top seven in both, but with only one set of new tyres for Q3, he knew he would be up against it to challenge for a top spot on the grid.

However, he will start inside the top ten on Saturday, and with a strong car beneath him, he is hopeful of making a good start and make a few positions to give him a better starting position for Sunday’s main Italian Grand Prix.

“I am very happy to have achieved Q3 in front of the Tifosi, it’s unbelievable,” said Giovinazzi.  “We looked solid from the start, even in Q1 and Q2 we did good laps for sixth and seventh and we knew we could get a good result.

“We only had one fresh set of tyres for Q3, so we couldn’t make much progress there, but we’ll take P10. Even if this position is only for the grid of the Sprint Qualifying, it’s a good result and it allows us to start from a great position.

Both Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team drivers narrowly missed out on final qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel qualifying eleventh and Lance Stroll twelfth for Saturday’s sprint qualifying. The team have also been fined €5000 for an unsafe release in the pit-lane during second qualifying to add to their disappointment.

In traditional fashion at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, it was a very messy qualifying with the majority of the grid looking for a tow. Vettel only just missed out on a spot in the top ten by three hundredths of a second, the German blamed his middle sector as the reason why he failed to make it to final qualifying.

Nevertheless eleventh is still a strong position for the four-time world champion to be starting, especially with the uncertainty of what will unfold during sprint qualifying and having shown strong pace in opening practice in sixth.

“It was very busy on track with everybody trying to find a tow and in the end we just missed out on making Q3 by three hundredths. I was happy with my lap in Q2: it was a good lap, but it could have been a little cleaner in the middle sector. It is a shame to miss Q3 by a small margin, but I still believe we can make up ground tomorrow to be in a stronger position for Sunday when it matters most.”

“It is a pity to have narrowly missed out on Q3” – Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll too narrowly missed out on a spot in the top ten and will start alongside his team-mate on the sixth row for Saturday’s sprint qualifying.

Pierre Gasly continued his incredible form this season by qualifying in sixth place for the Italian Grand Prix sprint qualifying, ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari’s. Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team-mate Yuki Tsunoda on the other hand disappointed yet again and starts seventeenth.

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is clearly a circuit that Gasly likes, the 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner put in a solid opening day performance around a circuit where track position is crucial. The Frenchman appears to have pace both on short and long runs, Gasly was fifth after opening free practice and even managed to make it through qualifying one having used only one set of tyres.

This crucially gave the Frenchman two sets of tyres for qualifying three, giving him more than one opportunity to qualify towards the front. Gasly is thrilled with his qualifying performance and is ready for what he expects to be a very intense sprint qualifying.

“I’m very pleased with today, I think I gave everything out there and it was a very good lap to put us in P6. We really maximised our potential, especially in Q3, where I was able to put it all together. It was tricky, but we know it’s always a game of cat and mouse here, as everyone is fighting for a tow. It was very important to get a clean lap and we managed to do that today so I’m really happy.

“Another P6 for us, I think that’s the 11th time I’ve qualified in the top six this year and it shows that the team are doing such a good job. Tomorrow is going to be 18 intense laps, trying to keep up with the guys in front, and make sure we start Sunday’s race in a strong position.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. says Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Friday afternoon highlighted just how Scuderia Ferrari have come since the same race of 2020, but he knows there is still work to do in order to get to where they feel they belong at the front of the field.

2020 saw both Ferrari’s eliminated early in Qualifying, but 2021 saw both make it through to the top ten shootout, with Sainz qualifying seventh, albeit 0.907 seconds down on polesitter Valtteri Bottas.

Sainz felt he managed to extract everything he could out of his car during Qualifying, even if everyone within the team knew early on that a top five placing on the grid was going to be difficult to achieve.

“I think today we showed we have made good progress since last year and we did a good job with both cars in Q3,” said Sainz.  “We obviously want to be further up the order and even more so in front of the tifosi, but I think today we extracted the maximum out of the car.

“Q1 was quite tricky because of traffic and unfortunately we quickly understood we were a bit too far away from the top 5. Despite that, we kept improving throughout the session and managed to put together a good lap in the end for P7.

Lando Norris says it was good to see his McLaren F1 Team back towards the sharp end of the grid at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, particularly after the tough Dutch Grand Prix last weekend.

McLaren struggled for performance at the Circuit Zandvoort, with Norris scoring the team’s only point for tenth place but Qualifying on Friday at Monza saw a much improved pace from the MCL35M, which allowed him to be a contender for the top three all through the session.

Ultimately, Norris was forced to settle for fourth after Max Verstappen edged ahead of him on his final run, but his place on the grid gives him a chance of fighting for points across the remainder of the weekend.

“I’m satisfied with today – we’re back in a much better position after last weekend, and we seem much more competitive,” said Norris. “I think it’s the perfect start to the weekend.

“There was a possibility of being P3 if I’d put the lap completely together – but one small mistake, I think, cost us. It’s a bit of a shame that I missed out on it, but fourth still puts us in a very good position compared to the people we’re really racing against and battling with this weekend and for the Championship.


RaceScene.com