The Formula One Italian Grand Prix takes place at Monza this afternoon as title-race leader Max Verstappen looks to increase the gap to rival Lewis Hamilton from pole position.
Defending champion Hamilton will start fourth on the grid and trails Red Bull’s Verstappen by five points in the drivers’ standings, with the Dutch-Belgian having gained two points by coming second in Saturday’s sprint race. That contest was won by Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who will be replaced by George Russell next season, but the Finnish driver will in fact start at the back of the grid today after receiving a penalty for a power unit change.
Seven-time F1 champion Hamilton could only manage a fifth-placed finish in sprint qualifying, with Daniel Ricciardo third and McLaren teammate Lando Norris fourth. The pair will therefore start from second and third spot at Monza this afternoon, with Ricciardo on the front line. Last year’s Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly crashed out while entering the first chicane during the sprint and will line up 19th on the grid today.
Following Saturday’s event, Hamilton said: “You saw the pace of Red Bull – I don’t know if they are quicker than Valtteri, but it should be an easy win for [Verstappen]. They’ve got more pace, and from what I understand they bring upgrades to every race.”