ROAD TO F1: Ilott takes F2 Monza pole as nine drivers get qualifying penalties in F3
Callum Ilott may have lost the Championship lead to fellow Ferrari Academy driver Robert Shwartzman last time out in Belgium, but he has responded in the best possible style. The Briton took his fourth pole position of the season, and his second in a row at Monza, in Formula 2 Qualifying.
Meanwhile Red Bull junior Liam Lawson will start from pole in Formula 3, after a total of nine drivers were penalised following Friday’s messy Qualifying session.
Mick Schumacher had dominated the first half of the session, and looked on course to score his first F2 pole, but struggled to match this pace in the second half. In the end, the German pushed the limits too hard, lost control of the rear and dumped his PREMA in the barriers.
The German’s crash brought out a red flag and ended the session early. This handed Ilott an easier route to pole, who had already posted a strong time on the board – although he admitted on team radio that it “didn’t feel like a good lap.”
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Title rival, and Red Bull junior, Yuki Tsunoda missed out by just three hundredths of a second, ahead of Italian Luca Ghiotto, who scored his highest Monza Qualifying position in F2 on home soil.
Penalties galore in F3
There was a sense of déjà vu in F3, as for the second season in a row, a whole host of drivers were penalised for infringements made while attempting to gain a tow. Theo Pourchaire had initially taken pole for the first time, ahead of Lirim Zendeli, but the duo will now start from sixth and 12th.
The tow - when a driver attempts to slipstream the car in-front - can be worth as much as three tenths in F3 at Monza, but with a 30-car grid, there is precious little room for this.
Nine different drivers have been served with varying degrees of grid drops for “driving unnecessary slowly, which forced cars to slow down and caused a potentially dangerous situation.” The offences were mostly committed on the second and 11th corners.
This means that Lawson – who qualified fourth – will now start from first place, ahead of Matteo Nannini, who had originally qualified seventh. Calan Williams has been promoted from ninth to third, while Logan Sargeant will start from fourth, after qualifying in tenth.
Championship contender and Renault junior Oscar Piastri is amongst those who have been handed grid drops and will now start from 15th.