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Bottas wins sprint but Verstappen on pole at Monza

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix on pole position after stretching his Formula One championship lead over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to five points in a sprint qualifying race on Saturday.

Valtteri Bottas won the sprint for Mercedes but engine penalties mean the Finn will go to the back of the grid for the main race at Monza.

McLaren’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo will join Verstappen, second at the flag, on the front row.

Verstappen gained two world championship points, with seven times world champion Hamilton fifth on track after a poor start and set to line up fourth on the grid with McLaren’s Lando Norris third.

Photo Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes-AMG Petronas in action during the sprint race of the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza race track in Monza, Italy, 11 September 2021. The 2021 Formula One Grand Prix of Italy will take place on 12 September 2021. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI