Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton are set to do battle as they discuss with a»box-office» front row at Sunday’s Italian GP, together with home favourites Ferrari looking to finally end Mercedes’ Monza dominance.
Leclerc, Ferrari’s new superstar who just held off Hamilton a week back in Spa, starts on pole and are going to have the burden of a nation on his shoulders since the in-form young Monegasque bids for the Scuderia’s first win in front of their ardent’Tifosi’ fans since 2010.
The race starts at 2.10pm Sky Sports F1, with accumulation at 12.30pm.
«Seeing all of the lovers as crazy as [Saturday] was unbelievable,» Leclerc informed Sky F1 after rolling out a bizarre qualifying session. «I really expect to see that way [on Sunday] below the podium.»
However, with Sebastian Vettel fourth in the sister Ferrari, Leclerc is exposed.
Hamilton begins just behind the 21-year-old and will direct Mercedes’ charge before Valtteri Bottas, and the Silver Arrows are confident considering they’ve been much nearer to Ferrari than they anticipated the fastest track of F1.
«I really like that it is that close and it is not several tenths,» explained Hamilton, only 0.039s away Leclerc on Saturday.
Mercedes have won the last five races at Monza, with Hamilton that the victor on four of those occasions. He passed Vettel on the very first lap before hunting down Kimi Raikkonen’s following the qualifying one-two of Ferrari.
He’s in a much better place in 2019.
«I certainly believe we could keep up with them,» added the championship leader, who will look to extend his 65-point advantage. «Whether we could close the gap and then overtake them, time will tell.
«I need to be grateful that I’m on the front row. We get to get a struggle with all the Ferraris, that is nice. We’ve split themas a group it is a great place for us to maintain.»
Leclerc said:»It’s going to become very, very difficult because, first of all, they’re fast, secondly, slipstream and DRS are extremely important . I think the race pace is good, much better than in Spa, but for sure it’s going to be hard to maintain them .
«I feel a very good start from myself and from Seb will be quite vital for the great outcome.» .
The prospect of Leclerc vs Hamilton enthuses sky F1’s Paul Di Resta again.
«It has box office,» said Di Resta. «Ferrari on pole gets the audience going. They’ve embraced Charles.
«Lewis must perform a little overtaking to acquire this raceas he did this past year. Tricky states, it should be useful.»
Vettel, without a success in over a year, will begin together with Daniel Ricciardo before Nico Hulkenberg following their superb Saturday, before the Renaults. The fourth row is shared by Red Bull’s and carlos Sainz Alex Albon.
And watch out using the Dutchman ready to do a while as he begins at the rear of the grid , behind Pierre Gasly who have motor penalties and Lando Norris.
Italian GP Provisional Grid
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
4) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
5) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
6) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault
7) Carlos Sainz,» McLaren
8) Alex Albon, Red Bull
9) Lance Stroll, Racing Point
10) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
11) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
12) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
13) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
14) Romain Grosjean, Haas
15) Sergio Perez, Racing Point
16) George Russell, Williams
17) Sergey Sirotkin, Williams
18) Lando Norris, McLaren
19) Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso
20) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
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