Verstappen takes pole in super tense qualifying session

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Max Verstappen took the all-important pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Dutchman snatched away provisional pole from Alonso thanks to an impressive final sector in the closing seconds. Home hero Charles Leclerc will start from third.

The tight and twisty Monaco circuit obviously makes traffic a big topic during qualifying, and this time again nearly all drivers went out in the first 30 seconds. It seemed like only the two Aston Martins were a bit more patient but it also took less than a few minutes before they got going.

Verstappen was immediately well on the pace and went fastest, topping Perez thanks to a better final sector. Fernando alonso ended up at one tenth and was only just narrowly quicker than Stroll on their first laps.

As they continued for a cooldown lap, Norris jumped to the top of the timing sheet with a 1:13.486, followed by Piastri who went second fastest and then Zhou slotting into third. Their times though were still a bit off of what we've seen in practice.

When Perez started his second flying lap he quickly ended his qualifying session by going off quite hard at Ste. Devote, the first corner on the circuit. He clearly went in too hot and slid sideways into the barrier, stopping a few meter further down the road and forcing a session stoppage.

After some barrier repair work the session got going again 17 minutes past starting time with 11 minutes left in Q1. Again, everybody would out quickly and pretty much everybody immediately improved on their earlier times.

5 minutes from the end Alonso set the fastest time but he would still slowly drop down the ranking as Verstappen went faster still. In the closing stages Sainz and Hamilton had increasing pressure them as time ticked away and mistakes left them with just a single lap to get through to Q2. They both did but it will surely have caused some tension.

Times tumbled quickly as the session progressed, leaving Perez dead last as everybody went quicker than his single timed lap. Sargeant ended up in 16th, followed by Magnussen and Hulkenberg for Haas and Zhou in 19th.

Notable surprises in Q1 were Tsunoda who ended up at 0.256s of Verstappen and Albon ended up third fastest at 0.320s of the pace setter.

Q2 saw Verstappen, Russell and Hamilton take the track immediately at the pit light went green. Verstappen again went fastest, this time lapping the track in 1:11.908. The competition was fierce though with Alonso second fastest with his second lap at 0.199s. Gasly, Ocon, Sainz and Leclerc were next while the two McLarens of Norris and Piastri in 7th and 8th were also still within half a second of Verstappen.

Mercedes on the other hand had work to do with both drivers on the brink of elimination. Albon also found himself in danger, just like Stroll and Devries.

Both Mercedes though used tyres from Q1 on their first laps and made use of a quiet moment on track to make another effort. It turned out well for Russell as he moved up into third while Hamilton remained 10th noting he suspected a problem with the right rear suspension while kissing the wall on his lap as well.

Moments later Norris ended up breaking the left steering rod at the exit of the chicane and unknowingly went into the next corner, obviously ending up in the wall. The McLaren driver went on to go to the pits, allowing for the session to continue.

That was great news for Hamilton as he could make another effort and finally make it into Q3 by going 5th fastest, 0.005s slower than what Russell had managed a few minutes earlier.

Q3 started with a sluggish lap by Verstappen, more than three tenths off his best from Q2. That didn't bother the competition though as Alonso went ahead to top the timing sheet with a 1:11.706. Sainz followed up in second at 0.029s and Leclerc third at 0.053. Those three went back into the pits after that flying lap while Verstappen opted to do two cooldown laps and give it another go with the same set of tyres. Verstappen followed two competitive sectors with an impressive third sector to take provisional pole by 0.052s;

Lewis Hamilton followed that up by going third fastest before Ocon surprised everyone by going fastest of all, 0.101s ahead of Verstappen.

But then the final laps of the main contenders still had to come. Sainz soon found out he couldn't improve on his earlier time while Leclerc set 3 purple sectors to go fastest. As he did his lap though Alonso improved on each of those sectors to top the Ferrari driver by 0.022.

At Aston Martin they were going crazy already and as Verstappen then lost 2 tenths in the first sector it looked to be a pole for the Spaniard, but Verstappen's final sector, strong the entire weekend was 3 tenths faster than Alonso's, resulting in Verstappen's first pole position at Monaco.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:12.3861:11.9081:11.36530
214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.8861:12.1071:11.44925
316Charles LeclercFerrari1:12.9121:12.1031:11.47126
431Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:12.9671:12.2481:11.55326
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:12.7171:12.2101:11.63028
644Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:12.8721:12.1561:11.72530
710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:13.0331:12.1691:11.93325
863George RussellMercedes1:12.7691:12.1511:11.96429
922Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:12.6421:12.2491:12.08229
104Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:12.8771:12.3771:12.25423
1181Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:13.0061:12.39522
1221Nyck De VriesAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:13.0541:12.42820
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:12.7061:12.52719
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.7221:12.62319
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:13.0381:12.62522
162Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:13.11313
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:13.2709
1827Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:13.2798
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:13.52313
2011Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:13.8504