For Max Verstappen, extending his World Championship lead over Lewis Hamilton in sprint qualifying at Monza was not what he expected.

Mercedes had carried a pace advantage throughout practice on Friday at the Italian Grand Prix while Red Bull and Verstappen struggled. But a mega Q3 lap from Verstappen, aided by a tow from his team-mate Sergio Perez, ensured he started sprint qualifying from P3.

With Mercedes locking out the front row, Verstappen was an outsider for the sprint but a poor start for Hamilton saw him drop to P5, the position he would finish after failing to find a way back past the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.

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