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Penalty-hit Red Bull proves a point in Monza qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Red Bull - Italian Grand Prix qualifying
© XPB 

It would've been hard to criticise Red Bull if the team had decided to simply sit out qualifying in their warm and dry team garage on pit lane, rather than risking crashing out in cold and wet conditions at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

However that's not the team's philosophy. Instead, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo gave it all they had on Saturday. They pressed Lewis Hamilton hard for pole position, and ended up finishing the session in second and third position on the timing screens.

“It was quite a good qualifying and everything was working well," said Verstappen. "In Q3 I was perhaps not as happy with the car as I was in Q1 and Q2. I was sliding around more and couldn’t get the grip in the last sector.

"I tried to cool down the tyres and then my final run everything worked pretty well," he said, sounding satisfied. "To be second here at the end of the day with the car and package we have means we did a very good job. It was nice to drive in the wet again."

Unfortunately Verstappen faces a 15-place grid penalty for power unit element changes. It means he won't be lining alongside Hamilton on the grid, but will instead be much further down the order.

“I think I start from 15th tomorrow,” Verstappen commented. "It is not a great starting position, but in terms of pace we can get back into the points.

"Let’s hope we can overtake, move to the front - I think realistically the aim will be for fifth or sixth."

Verstappen's Red Bull team mate was only just over a tenth of a second slower in Q3. Sadly, Ricciardo will be starting even further back on Sunday - his combined grid penalties mean a 25-place drop.

“It is, of course, annoying about those penalties here," the Australian sighed. "It would have been nice to start up front. Especially with some different names up that end, and not the usual suspects.

"It would have been a chance to probably stay in the front for longer. But at least I put a good effort into qualifying," he said. ""I'm glad we could do qualifying for all the fans. It was important we did this today.

"In the end I gained one position for doing a good job, and I’ll take that," he insisted. "That puts me up to 18th for the race instead of 19th.

"Q1 and Q2 was quite terrible actually. I was struggling a lot," Ricciardo reported. "We were just slow as I struggled for grip and felt I was a bit like a passenger.

"As soon as we started Q3, I felt straight away that there was some grip that I didn’t have in the first two sessions," he continued. "It just seemed we got a bit better rhythm.

"At the end we were pushing a lot. It was close," he said. "I still feel we left a bit on the table but generally it was a good recovery so I’m happy.

"I will enjoy tomorrow’s race thoroughly and have some fun," he predicted, adding that he certainly wasn't expecting still be in 18th place come the chequered flag.

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