F1: Leclerc wins pole for Monaco GP, then crashes

In a frantic F1 qualifying session on the streets of Monte Carlo, Charles Leclerc edged out Max Verstappen to take pole position for the Monaco GP. The Ferrari driver turned a lap of 1m10.346s with more than 5 minutes to go and no one could beat it.

Luckily for him because with less than 1-minute to go in the session the Monégasque clouted the barriers hard at the exit of the Swimming Pool, the same place Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams in FP3.

Replays showed that the Monegasque clipped the inside barrier at the chicane, which sent him straight on into the opposing wall. It was a fairly hard shunt.

Whether he starts from pole depends on whether he damaged the gearbox in the crash.  If so, that will be a 5-place grid penalty.

“We are worried, we are checking it – it is too early to tell,” said Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.
Leclerc crashed at end of qualifying

The gap between Leclerc and Verstappen was 0.230 sec. and it was the first pole for a Ferrari in years.

“It’s a shame to finish in the wall, but at the same time, I’m crazy happy about my first lap,” said Leclerc. “Second, and third sector – I nailed it. It’s a bit of a surprise for everyone [in the team] to be on pole, but I’ve always been very unlucky here, so let’s see.”

Plenty of drivers were on a hot lap when the red flags came out of course, so there will be very mixed reactions to that session.

“I felt really comfortable, I was really building up to it,” said Verstappen. “It was going really well, the red flag ruined the chance for pole. Nevertheless, a very good weekend so far. It was working out well.”

Third quick was Valtteri Bottas, 0.255s behind the Ferrari, but the biggest surprise was Lewis Hamilton who could only manage 7th best 3/4 of a second behind.

It is rare to see Hamilton so far down the order – in fact, it is the first time he hasn’t qualified in the top six for the best part of three years. He started 14th at the German Grand Prix in 2018, but did go on to win that day after Vettel crashed out with a big lead in the wet.

“Need to go back to the drawing board, we’re definitely having problems today. Saturday is the day, for sure the win is out of reach,” lamented Hamilton.

Carlos Sainz was fourth, with Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly sharing the third row.

Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT02 Honda (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel had his best qualifying session of the year with his new team, qualifying the #5 Aston Martin in 8th place 1-second off pole.

Sebastian Vettel will start beside Lewis Hamilton on row 4.

More to follow……

Qualifying Results

1 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 1m11.113s 1m10.597s 1m10.346s
2 Max Verstappen NED Red Bull Racing 1m11.124s 1m10.650s 1m10.576s
3 Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m10.938s 1m10.695s 1m10.601s
4 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow 1m11.324s 1m10.806s 1m10.611s
5 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m11.321s 1m11.031s 1m10.620s
6 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1m11.560s 1m11.179s 1m10.900s
7 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m11.622s 1m11.116s 1m11.095s
8 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Cognizant 1m12.078s 1m11.309s 1m11.419s
9 Sergio Perez MEX Red Bull Racing 1m11.644s 1m11.019s 1m11.573s
10 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 1m11.658s 1m11.409s 1m11.779s
11 Esteban Ocon FRA Alpine F1 Team 1m11.740s 1m11.486s
12 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m11.747s 1m11.598s
13 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Cognizant 1m11.979s 1m11.600s
14 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 1m11.899s 1m11.642s
15 George Russell GBR Williams Racing 1m12.016s 1m11.830s
16 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1m12.096s
17 Fernando Alonso ESP Alpine F1 Team 1m12.205s
18 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m12.366s
19 Nikita Mazepin RUS Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m12.958s
DNQ Mick Schumacher GER Uralkali Haas F1 Team


[-ar1_infolink ad=’inline’]