Valtteri Bottas pipped his record-breaking teammate Lewis Hamilton to score his 15th pole position for the qualifying session in the first race at Imola since 2006. As usual, Max Verstappen occupied the second row in P3 but this time around his performance came with the backdrop of a spark plug issue which threatened to end his qualifying session at Q2 itself. Verstappen's former teammate and junior team driver Pierre Gasly scored a valiant P4 for the AlphaTauri.
Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault managed P5 while Alex Albon in the other Red Bull managed P6, notably being out-qualified by Gasly who was confirmed for an AlphaTauri seat in 2021. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc just managed P7 which also was achieved by using soft tyres in Q2 - capping of another poor qualifying performance in what is the Scuderia's third home race of the season. Daniil Kvyat managed P8 which was his first top ten qualifying in over a year in the second AlphaTauri underlying its strong pace.
The McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr managed P9 and P10, while Racing Points' Sergio Perez struggled to P11. Esteban Ocon in the other Renault managed P12 while George Russell again muscled the Williams to P13 ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel who managed P14. Lance Stroll in the other Racing Point just managed P15 after his time was cancelled for violating track limits which meant that he didn't qualify beyond Q1.
The outgoing Haas pair of Grosjean and Magnussen managed P16 and P17 respectively while an animated Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo just managed P18 as even his time was cancelled for track limit violations. Nicholas Latifi managed P19 in the second Williams while Antonio Giovinazzi managed the last position in the second Alfa Romeo.
Most drivers are enjoying the track as it is a new experience for them. Only Raikkonen has raced at Imola before. Many believe track position will be critical as overtaking will be hard as the track is narrow and has only one DRS zone.
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes - 1:13.609
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes - +0.097s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull - +0.872s
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri - +0.893s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault - +0.911s
6 Alex Albon Red Bull - +0.963s
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari - +1.007s
8 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri - +1.087s
9 Lando Norris McLaren - +1.205s
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren - +1.302s
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point - 1:15.061s
12 Esteban Ocon Renault - 1:15.201s
13 George Russell Williams - 1:15.322s
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari - 1:15.385s
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point - 1:15.494s
16 Romain Grosjean Haas - 1:15.918s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas - 1:15.939s
18 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing - 1:15.953s
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams - 1:15.987s
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing - 1:16.208s