Bottas pips Hamilton to pole for Italian GP Sprint

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Bottas heads Saturday's Sprint grid at Monza (AFP/LARS BARON)
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Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix Sprint after snatching top spot in qualifying from his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Finn Bottas clocked one minute, 19.555 seconds on his last qualifying lap to finish just 0.096 sec ahead of seven-time world champion Hamilton, who had been fastest in the first two qualifying sessions and practice and had been leading Q3 until he was pipped in the final seconds.

That means 32-year-old Bottas will lead the field in Saturday's 100km Sprint, which will decide the grid for the GP on Sunday and give championship points to the top three.

First place in the Sprint will take three points, second place two and third place one.

However Bottas will start at the back of the grid on Sunday regardless of how he fares in the Sprint as he was penalised for taking on power unit components.

Red Bull's championship leader Max Verstappen took third as he tries to defend his tiny three-point lead from Hamilton, who on Sunday will again attempt to bring up a century of GP wins.

Hamilton has been stuck on 99 wins since taking the British GP at Silverstone in mid-July.

Charles Leclerc asked the Ferrari fans at Monza to create the same fervour as that which accompanied Verstappen's win at the Dutch GP last week.

And the Monegasque finished eighth, 0.955sec off Bottas and a place behind his teammate Carlos Sainz.

td/nr

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