Italian Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas tops qualifying at Monza ahead of Lewis Hamilton

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Valtteri Bottas earned top spot in Friday's qualifying session at the Italian Grand Prix, setting him up with a front row seat for Saturday's Sprint.

The Finn edged teammate Lewis Hamilton into second place, with Max Verstappen set to start the Sprint from third.

Here's what happened, then, across the three sessions at Monza...

Q1 

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Qualifying in Italy in recent years has bordered on farcical at times as drivers back themselves up trying to get a tow around the circuit without giving someone else one.

This happened again in Q1, with laps regularly getting ruined by a glut of traffic at key points on the track.

In the end, Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher, Robert Kubica and Nikita Mazepin were those eliminated.

Q2

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Q2 was not without incident, either, with us nearly coming to a halt in the pitlane. No one wanted to be on the track first in the closing minutes as they'd be the one to punch a hole in the air and, eventually, they all blinked at pretty much the same time as they piled out of their garages.

Lewis Hamilton nearly came together with an Aston Martin, whilst Max Verstappen vented his incredulity at it all on radio.

When push came to shove, though, those that were eliminated were Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and George Russell.

Q3

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It was Bottas who took pole, then, with a superb lap right at the death - one that Lewis Hamilton just could not top as he crossed the line moments afterwards.

Max Verstappen will start tomorrow's Sprint in third place with the two McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris in behind.

Sprint is set up nicely, then, and we'll see what happens tomorrow afternoon as it returns at Monza.

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