Charles Leclerc picks up the fourth pole of his Formula 1 career, edging out Lewis Hamilton as qualifying ends in farcical fashion.
Charles Leclerc led Ferrari to pole position for the Italian Grand Prix after edging out Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton in a qualifying session that ended in farcical fashion.
Leclerc managed to take provisional pole for Ferrari with a lap of 1m19.307s on his first run in Q3, edging out Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by less than half a tenth of a second.
But eight of the 10 drivers who made Q3 missed the chequered flag at the end of the session as the field bunched together, trying to get the tow from others, unwilling to be the first in the queue.
The clock counted down to zero with only Leclerc and McLaren's Carlos Sainz getting across the line before the session ended, leaving the rest of the field to stick with their initial times.
The stewards quickly confirmed that the final qualifying lap was under investigation, having warned drivers about minimum speeds before the session began.
Leclerc did not improve his time, keeping pole ahead of Hamilton and Bottas, with Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel finishing fourth, 0.150s behind.
Renault drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg locked out the third row in fifth and sixth, while Sainz only managed seventh for McLaren on his final run. Alexander Albon and Lance Stroll both failed to set a time in Q3, leaving them eighth and ninth respectively.
Kimi Raikkonen suffered his second Parabolica crash of the weekend in Q3, losing his car mid-corner and spinning into the barrier to bring out a red flag. The shunt left Raikkonen P10, and his car with significant damage his Alfa Romeo team will need to repair ahead of Sunday's race.
Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi missed out on a place in Q3 by just two-thousandths of a second, leaving him 11th on the grid ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen. Daniil Kvyat could only manage P13 for Toro Rosso, calling the session a "mess" over team radio, while Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly opted against proper runs in Q2 due to their grid penalties that meant they would start at the back of the grid regardless.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean was eliminated in Q1 for the first time since the French Grand Prix in June, qualifying 16th despite only lapping six-tenths of a second slower than session pace-setter Leclerc, with fine margins separating the field.
Sergio Perez was outqualified by Racing Point teammate Stroll for the first time this year as he finished 17th, albeit by default after an issue forced him to park up at the side of the track at Curva Grande with four minutes left in Q1.
Perez wasn't the only driver to hit trouble in the opening session, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen also reporting an issue. Verstappen was due to start last anyone due to an engine penalty, but failed to set a time at all in Q1 after going out late and reporting a loss of power on his car.
Williams drivers George Russell and Robert Kubica finished 18th and 19th in Q1. Both drivers will gain two places due to grid penalties for Norris and Gasly.