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Italian Grand Prix 2022

Why there is so much doubt about Verstappen's starting position in Italy

With Max Verstappen and several other drivers taking grid penalties for the Italian Grand Prix, there is confusion as to where the Dutchman will line up on the grid.

Verstappen Monza
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

More than two hours after the end of qualifying, the provisional starting grid for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix is still not known.

No fewer than nine drivers have so far collected a grid penalty for the Monza race. Max Verstappen qualified second, but will he start the race fourth or seventh?

In 2022, the rule is that drivers with 15 places worth of grid penalties or more must start 'at the back'.

The qualifying position ultimately determines which driver starts before the other, in the event that several drivers have this penalty. For example, Carlos Sainz will start ahead of Lewis Hamilton at Monza as both have back of the grid penalties - although the former qualified ahead.

The situation is different with Verstappen, as he only has a five-place grid penalty, with fellow penalty recipients Sainz and Sergio Perez qualifying just behind.

The Dutchman was originally going to be reduced to seventh position, but because Sainz, Perez and Hamilton also had penalties - third through fifth in qualifying, Verstappen was put fourth by some.

The interpretation of the rules is then as follows: 2 + 5 = 7, but then Verstappen is promoted back up to P4 as P5/6/7 would be vacant following the trio of penalties.

Italian GP starting grid version 1

Pos. Driver Team
1. Leclerc Ferrari
2. Russell Mercedes
3. Norris McLaren
4. Verstappen * Red Bull
5. Ricciardo McLaren
6. Gasly AlphaTauri
7. Alonso Alpine
8. De Vries Williams

A different interpretation of the rules is that a five-place grid penalty must always be a five-place penalty.

In this version, it is assumed that 2 + 5 = 7 always stays that way.

In this case, the disappearance of Sainz, Perez and Hamilton would mean that drivers who are behind this trio get bumped up even more places.

For their part, Verstappen and Christian Horner believe he is set for P7, with Fernando Alonso - who stands to benefit - echoing those thoughts.

Italian GP starting grid version 2

Pos. Driver Team
1. Leclerc Ferrari
2. Russell Mercedes
3. Norris McLaren
4. Ricciardo McLaren
5. Gasly AlphaTauri
6. Alonso Alpine
7. Verstappen * Red Bull
8. De Vries Williams

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RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Dutch Grand Prix.

F1 2022 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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