Charles Leclerc placed Ferrari in pole position for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday, on a qualifying day that ended with research on the drivers.
Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will join the 21-year-old Monegasque in the front row, and his Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start third, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fourth on the grid.
On the final lap, nine riders zigzagged and braked without anyone being willing to take the initiative. Only Carlos Sainz of McLaren did a quick final lap.
“This was worse than the junior formula,” Toto Wolff, director of the Mercedes team, said furiously to Sky Sports TV.
“The problem was that everyone wants to take advantage of the current (from the car in front) and nobody wants to go to the front and then everyone looks like idiots,” he added.
The judges said in a note on the timing screens that the last lap was being investigated.
The irony of the slowest qualifying lap on the fastest track, a circuit where the flow of the car ahead can be of great benefit, was noted by Hamilton, who has won more poles than any other driver.
“It’s interesting. You get pole position on the first lap and then you finish everyone’s time,” said Hamilton, apparently accusing Ferrari, whose army of fans celebrated anyway.