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Why Max Verstappen might not start from pole position in Imola anyway

Max Verstappen finished fastest in qualifying at Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and clinched pole position – but a quirk in the rules means he might not start on pole himself. Here’s why.

In a qualifying session at Imola that lasted nearly two hours, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fastest with a 1m27.999s in wet/dry/wet conditions to claim pole position.

Although the history books now credit Verstappen with a 14th career pole position, a quirk in the rules means he still might not be able to start there.

Why couldn’t Max Verstappen start from pole position at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix despite qualifying?

Photo by GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE/AFP via Getty Images

Max Verstappen’s pole position

When is a pole position not a pole position?

If it’s on an F1 sprint weekend.

The first of three sprint races will be held in Imola on Saturday afternoon.

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They were first followed in 2021 at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos, with Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos 22 hosting them again.

Thanks to a rule error in the sprint races, Max Verstappen is credited with pole position, even if he doesn’t start there.

Article 41.4 of the F1 Sporting Regulations states that:

  • The starting grid for the race will be established based on the final classification of the sprint session, with the driver finishing first on pole.

That means whoever wins the sprint race tomorrow will start in P1 in the race.

If Verstappen wins, no problem – but if Charles Leclerc wins the sprint, the Ferrari driver will be P1 on the grid for Sunday’s main Grand Prix – and Verstappen retains pole position for the history books.

Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Is there a precedent?

In 2021, the results of qualifying on a Friday determine the starting grid for the sprint – which in turn determines the starting grid for the Grand Prix.

However, some drivers were unhappy that the fastest driver in qualifying was not awarded pole position for the race if someone else won the sprint.

This has resulted in a rule change meaning Verstappen could be on pole at Imola but not actually start there.

In 2012, Michael Schumacher was fastest for Mercedes in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

However, due to a collision with Bruno Senna in Spain two weeks earlier, he had accepted a five-place grid penalty.

Therefore, the pole went to Mark Webber, to whom it was credited – even if Schumacher was fastest and had “won” qualifying.

Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

In other news, Adin Ross, who will be banned from Twitch indefinitely, has fans rallying in his support

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/04/22/max-verstappen-f1-pole-imola/ Why Max Verstappen might not start from pole position in Imola anyway

Brian Ashcraft

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