Valtteri Bottas will start the Italian Grand Prix from the back of the grid as a result of a grid penalty for exceeding power unit components, but still starts the Sprint from first place.
Friday’s qualifying session was underway when the FIA announced Bottas had taken a fourth power unit, exceeding the limit of three on a number of components. Each new component carries a grid drop, and the Finn accumulates enough penalties to be demoted to the back of the grid.
However, with the Sprint format being used at Monza this weekend, Bottas will be allowed to start Saturday’s qualifying race from the first position he qualified in, as it is the Sprint that sets the grid for the grand prix itself.
He will therefore also be eligible for points in Saturday’s race, when the top three drivers can score points in a 3-2-1 system. Bottas will then take his penalty for Sunday’s grand prix, starting from the back of the grid for the main event.
Armed with the fresh power unit, Bottas was 0.1s quicker than teammate Lewis Hamilton in Friday’s qualifying for the Sprint, with Max Verstappen third behind the two Mercedes drivers. The result ensures Bottas will start one race from the front and one race from the back at Monza.
“That qualifying lap was nice,” Bottas said. “It feels so good when you get a nice lap. I managed to save it to the end, happy to finally get a tow, so it was good one and I enjoyed it. I feel good, I feel relaxed — everything is sorted for the future and I’m, obviously, very pleased for the team today. The car is feeling so good.
“Now I’m focused on tomorrow’s Sprint race — I’m starting from the front, expecting to get maximum points tomorrow and then do the best job we can on Sunday. The weekend has started nicely and I’m happy.”