Lewis Hamilton beats Sergio Perez to Imola pole

Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton took pole position ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in a thrilling qualifying session at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hamilton was just 0.035 seconds clear in the Mercedes as Perez beat team-mate Max Verstappen in only the Mexican’s second race for Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc put the Ferrari fourth, while Valtteri Bottas was only eighth in the second Mercedes.

Lando Norris went second fastest in the McLaren but had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits and was seventh.

It was a bitter blow for the Englishman, who had looked fast all session and appeared to have a chance of qualifying among the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

He was no more than a foot outside the track at the fast Piratella left-hander, where countless drivers have had lap times deleted through the weekend.

And while Hamilton being on pole might appear commonplace, it was a clear surprise to the Mercedes team judging by the exchange he had with race engineer Peter Bonnington on team radio afterwards, as both expressed incredulity at beating the Red Bulls.

More to follow

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