Pole number 99 for Hamilton as Perez starts on front-row

Lewis Hamilton has claimed the 99th pole position of his Formula One career at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.

The session was disrupted early on in the first qualifying session as Yuki Tsunoda, in his second race in F1, crashed into the barriers at Variante Alta causing the red flag to be waved. He was unable to continue due to the extreme damage caused to the car.

Both Williams cars got out of Q1 as Latifi beat Russell in that session, but with Russell finding more pace than Latifi in the second session of qualifying, the British driver maintains his 100% record of always outqualifying his Williams team-mate.

Both HAAS and Alfa Romeo cars were eliminated during the first qualifying session, alongside Tsunoda who failed to set a time.

There was a surprise exit in Q2 for Carlos Sainz, who failed to go into the shootout alongside two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, and both Williams’.

Lando Norris looked set to take an impressive front-row start and was only 0.4 seconds off Hamilton’s time before he got his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits. He wouldn’t be able to improve on his time before and will start the race from 7th place unless there are any grid penalties ahead.

Lance Stroll didn’t get a lap time in the top ten shootout and will start from P10 on the grid, just behind Esteban Ocon and Valterri Bottas, who will be disappointed with his lap time and will have a huge task during the race to overtake a competitive bunch of cars ahead.

The McLaren duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris are ahead, with Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc impressing to start P4 and P5 respectively.

Max Verstappen was expected to take the fight to Hamilton again this weekend, but it’s his team-mate Sergio Perez that will start alongside the seven-time World Champion on the front row.

Hamilton is now only one pole position away from the magical number of 100. While he can’t break anyone’s record other than his own, it will be yet another achievement for Hamilton.

Sunday’s action kicks off at 2 pm UK Time with live coverage on Sky Sports F1. Highlights will be available on Channel 4 in the evening.