Joel came out on top of a dramatic second qualifying session at Monza on Saturday evening to claim provisional pole position for tomorrow’s second race of the weekend, although the results are yet to be confirmed following an array of track-limit infringements throughout the field.
The 20-minute session, in which the grids for Sunday’s Race 2 and Race 3 are set, featured numerous deleted times as drivers ran wide over the tarmac run-off area on the exit of the Parabolica, the fast final corner of the lap.
Joel set the pace early on with a 1m43.790s lap, but that was deleted and instead he had to do it all over again on his very final effort – responding in style to clinch provisional pole with an even quicker 1m43.720s. That was enough to edge out Race 1 winner Lando Norris (who currently ties Joel in the championship lead) by 0.066s.
Joel’s deleted lap would have handed him pole on the Race 3 grid – based on second-best laps – as well, although that now appears to have landed in the hands of Norris. It is currently unclear where Joel has ended up on the provisional Race 3 grid, although as things stand at the moment he is likely to start in fifth place.
“I’m sure I wasn’t out on that early lap,” Joel comments. “I remember it clearly, because it wasn’t a good lap anyway. It was just incredibly difficult out there, with everyone trying to find a slipstream. In the end I managed to find a better position today than yesterday, getting a tow behind (Maximilian) Günther, but let’s see where everybody eventually ends up.”
The sheer scope of reported track-limit infringements left the stewards unable to scan through all the supposed transgressions during the session, meaning the results are currently pending official confirmation.
An update will follow once the final results have been set.