Emilia Romagna GP: Bottas on pole as AlphaTauri lay down marker for Sunday

Valtteri Bottas took a brilliant pole position at Imola while Max Verstappen survived a scare in Q2 to take third, with Pierre Gasly joining him on the second row.

AlphaTauri were the standout story of the day, after being highly competitive in free practice, Gasly looked strong throughout the afternoon alongside Kvyat, although the Russian faded at the end to place eighth.

Bottas led all three qualifying sessions after being third in practice, although he left it late as Hamilton held P1 after their first Q3 runs.

He was a tenth ahead of his teammate at the end, with Hamilton describing his final lap as ‘**** poor’.

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Max Verstappen looked in trouble midway through Q2 as he’d complained about no power, and had the engine cover and tyres off in the garage.

It was later confirmed to be a spark plug issue and he was able to get to the final session, then outperform Gasly who was a genuine threat for third.

Several drivers had trouble with track limits at Piratella and a few dipping into the gravel at Rivazza Two – Albon in particular who had his first runs in both Q2 and Q3 deleted.

He was sixth, four-tenths behind his teammate with Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top five. Renault left it late in Q1 and needed flawless final runs to survive the session, and ultimately Esteban Ocon qualified a disappointing twelfth.

Charles Leclerc was seventh which probably constitutes a good result for Ferrari while the two McLarens rounded out the top ten.

The notable casualties of an exciting Q2 were both Racing Points, led by Sergio Perez who was just one hundredth behind Lando Norris.

Lance Stroll barely survived Q1, he looked to be going out but Kimi Raikkonen had his lap time deleted at the death which saved the Canadian’s bacon.

As for the Finn – the only driver on the grid with F1 experience at Imola – he was a disappointing eighteenth as both Haas were closest to making Q2.

George Russell had a superb qualifying session and ranking thirteenth after Vettel had his Q2 time deleted, with Williams saying they set up the car to be best in the race.