Bottas blames Q3 yellow flag for missing out on pole

Bottas blames Q3 yellow flag for missing out on pole

"It has been a really really tough weekend, this track is phenomenal", Hamilton said.

Lewis Hamilton will start the Tuscan Grand Prix on pole position after he benefitted from a yellow flag which stopped Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas from potentially stealing his place on the grid.

The rest of the livery remains the same as the one used so far this year, with the exception of the style of number on the vehicle, which has been created to look hand painted. "Valtteri did a great job pushing me, but I'm really, really happy to be on pole". "I had more to come but didn't get the opportunity", Bottas said.

He may not get many more chances after that because the Mugello circuit is tough for overtaking. "To be third here in qualifying, we can be very happy with that".

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo ended the day in fifth less than 0.1s behind Albon and 0.1s ahead of his Renault teammate Esteban Ocon.

It marked Hamilton's fourth consecutive pole position and the 95th of the Briton's F1 career, acting as a boost heading into Sunday's race where he will look to extend his 47-point lead over Bottas in the championship standings.

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Sainz's last-gasp improvement in Q2 got him through to the final shootout, but at the expense of his teammate as Lando Norris was knocked out in 11th - the first time since the 2019 Italian GP that he has not made it through to Q3.

He was one of the five drivers eliminated from Q1 and let out an angry expletive.

On a lovely morning under blue skies in central Italy, opening free practice began with Bottas setting the early pace before Monza victor Gasly took over followed by Verstappen.

Bottas had been fastest of anyone throughout all three practice sessions at Mugello, and remained quickest in the first round of qualifying. Verstappen then went out for one last run late in the session and split the two Mercedes in an encouraging sign for Red Bull on a circuit which has ultra-fast corners.

Even the look of the race numbers on Charles Leclerc's and Sebastian Vettel's cars "will reflect the tradition of the past", he said, "giving the impression of being hand painted onto the bodywork, while the drivers' race suits will also match the vehicle colour".

The runaway series leader and six-time champion warned of the challenge ahead as former racer Mark Webber, now a television commentator, said the spectacular Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit was so fast that the drivers' "necks are going to snap in half - it's so, so quick!" Drivers have been full of praise for it. "You go through Turns 6, 7, 8, 9 at 170-180 miles per hour (274-290 kph) and the G-force we're pulling is insane", Hamilton said.

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