Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton are all set to do battle back as they share a”box-office” front row at Sunday’s Italian GP, with dwelling favourites Ferrari trying to finally end Mercedes’ Monza dominance.
Leclerc, Ferrari’s new star who just hauled off Hamilton a week ago in Spa, begins on pole and will have the weight of a country on his shoulders as the in-form youthful Monegasque bids to the Scuderia’s first triumph in front of the passionate’Tifosi’ lovers since 2010.
The race starts at 2.10pm Sky Sports F1, together with accumulation at 12.30pm.
“Seeing all the fans as mad as [Saturday] was incredible,” Leclerc told Sky F1 after rolling out a eccentric qualifying session. “I actually expect to see that way [on Sunday] below the podium.”
But with Sebastian Vettel at the Ferrari, Leclerc is vulnerable.
Hamilton starts behind the 21-year-old and will direct Mercedes’ charge before Valtteri Bottas, along with the Silver Arrows are confident considering they’ve been considerably closer than they ever anticipated at F1’s fastest track.
“I love that it is that close and it’s not multiple tenths,” explained Hamilton, only 0.039s away Leclerc on Saturday.
With Hamilton the victor, mercedes have won the past five races at Monza. This past year, he passed Vettel about the very first lap before searching down Kimi Raikkonen’s following the qualifying one-two of Ferrari.
He’s in an even better position in 2019.
“I definitely think we could keep them up,” added that the championship leader, that will try to extend his 65-point benefit. “Whether or not we can close the gap and overtake themtime will tell.
“I need to be grateful that I’m on the front row. We expect to have a struggle. We’ve split themas a group it is a really good position for us to be in.”
Leclerc said:”It is obviously going to become very, very difficult because, first of all, they’re fast, second, slipstream and DRS are very important . For certain it’s going to be very difficult to maintain them behind, although I think the race pace is good at Spa.
“I feel a very good beginning from myself and also from Seb will be very vital for the good result.” .
The Paul Di Resta of sky F1 is enthused by the possibility of Leclerc vs Hamilton again.
“It’s box office,” said Di Resta. “Ferrari on pole gets the crowd going. Charles has been embraced by them.
“Lewis has to do some overtaking to acquire this race, as he did last year. Tricky circumstances, it should be helpful.”
Vettel, with no victory in over a year, will begin together with Daniel Ricciardo before Nico Hulkenberg Saturday, after their superb. The row is shared by Red Bull’s and carlos Sainz Alex Albon.
And look out together using the Dutchman behind Pierre Gasly who have engine 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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