MUGELLO, ITALY (AFP, REUTERS) – Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the first Tuscan Grand Prix at Italy’s Mugello circuit on Saturday (Sept 12) with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas joining him on the front row.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified third with team mate Alexander Albon fourth.
Hamilton, who takes his 95th career pole at Mugello, said: “It’s been a really tough weekend if I’m honest.
“Firstly, this track is phenomenal. It’s a really challenging circuit and you saw Valtteri was quicker than me all day yesterday and even this morning.
“I’ve been working hard in the background to improve on my lines and set up and the engineers and mechanics did a great job, so finally I got the lap that I needed.
“The track is crazy. You go through Turns 6,7,8,9 at 170-180mph and the G-force we’re pulling is insane, it gets more and more as you go through.
“Valtteri did a great job pushing me but really, really happy to be on pole.”
Charles Leclerc kept Ferrari’s head up for their 1,000th world championship grand prix, qualifying fifth at a track owned by the Italian team.
Sebastian Vettel qualified 14th in the other Ferrari.
Verstappen said: “I personally didn’t expect to fight for pole but overall this weekend it has been promising.
“We have bounced back well from Monza where it was tricky so at the end, to be third here in qualifying, we can be very happy with that.
“The wind picked up a bit in Q3 because my first run was not amazing but then my second run was a little bit better.
“But I think the track was the same because of the wind so overall, it is what it is. It’s really tricky anyway with the wind.
“The track is amazing to drive and qualifying was really something special.”