Lewis Hamilton will start on pole for the seventh time this season from just nine races as the reigning Formula One world champion threatens to run away with another title. The Tuscan Grand Prix however promises an exciting start headed into Turn One with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third. Express Sport brings you live lap-by-lap updates of the race.
This is the first time ever a Formula One race will be held at the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany, with the Italian double header having last week seen Pierre Gasly come out victorious at Monza in an enthralling afternoon.
Fingers crossed, we will be treated to similar action today with the race to the track’s first corner full of uncertainties.
Full-throttle Dutchman Verstappen sits third in the drivers’ standings going into the Tuscan Grand Prix, 54 points behind pole-sitter Hamilton, and his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits they will not hold back.
Horner said: “Max is well up for it, if he gets half a sniff. He’s got nothing to lose, because where he’s in the championship now every race is like a cup final. We’ve just got to throw caution to the wind and go for it.”
While Verstappen insisted: “They [Mercedes] have quite decent top speed this year, so that’s quite good around here. It won’t be easy to pass, but at least the track, the last few corners they are wide and long, so you can do a few different lines.
“So it’s all going to depend on whether you have the pace to follow, and second, tyre degradation.”
Hamilton, who has regularly spoken about his desire to have wheel-to-wheel battles on track, added: “We’ve got an uphill long run down to Turn One with a headwind, we’re all on soft tyres, and we don’t know how long they’ll last. We don’t know what overtaking’s going to be like, what strategy [to take] – whether it’s a one or two stop.
“I’m excited about that, and I love that it’s all unknown. I’m just going to try and prepare the best I can, watching some of these other races [feeder series F2 and F3] to make sure I deliver.
“This track is phenomenal… it’s crazy! You go through Turns 6, 7, 8, 9 at like 170, 180mph, and the G-force we’re pulling through there, it’s insane, and it just gets more and more as you go through 8 and then 9.
“[Turns] 10 and 1 and 2 were the areas where I needed to improve and I managed to pick it up once I got into qualifying, so Valtteri did a great job in pushing me. But I’m really, really happy to be up there.”
Bottas, Hamilton’s Silver Arrows team-mate, sits seven points closer to Hamilton than Verstappen and will be keen not to be leapfrogged in the leaderboard by the 21-year-old.
The Finn has six podiums this season although just one win, which came in Austria in July.
He said: “Coming into the weekend, we thought it would be nearly impossible to overtake here but during practice, we’ve seen how wide the track is and the different lines you can take through the corners.
“So, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to take the fight to Lewis tomorrow and have a good battle. There’s a long run to Turn 1 as well, so we’ll see what happens.”
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While Ferrari are nowhere near title contention this year with their struggling SF1000, the Scuderia – who own the Mugello Circuit – will be keen for a stronger showing than last week.
Their other home race, the Italian Grand Prix, saw neither of their two cars cross the finish line but Charles Leclerc will start in fifth today as he seeks a strong points finish and a possible second podium of the season for the Prancing Horse.
The two Mercedes-powered Racing Points behind the Monegasque may have something to say about that, however, while Renault and McLaren make up the final points positions and are all capable of threatening Leclerc.
The Ferrari racer said: “P5 is definitely the best we could have done. We are lacking performance compared to the guys in front but overall I’m very happy with the balance, which is positive.
“It’s going to be a difficult race because we have quite a lot of cars behind us that might turn out to be faster than us. Hopefully we can give our tifosi some entertainment and finish in this position or even better.”
The race gets underway at 2.10pm UK time and you can follow all the action below – although adblock must be turned off to access the live lap-by-lap feed.
TUSCAN GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Alex Albon, Red Bull
5. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
6. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point (serving one-placed grid penalty)
8. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
9. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
10. Esteban Ocon, Renault
11. Lando Norris, McLaren
12. Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri
13. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
14. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
15. Romain Grosjean, Haas
16. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
17. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
18. George Russell, Williams
19. Nicholas Latifi, Williams
20. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
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