Leclerc beats Norris and Sainz to Monaco pole as Verstappen falters

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc came out on top of a nail-biting qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix, beating the McLaren of Oscar Piastri and his team-mate Carlos Sainz. F1Technical's senior writer Balazs Szabo reports on the Monte Carlo qualifying

Q1 - Perez and Alonso fail to progress

Everyone was in a hurry to go out for the first run. Mercedes was so eager to send their drivers out on the challenging Monaco track that George Russell and Lewis Hamilton lined up at the end of the pit lane almost five minutes before the start of qualifying.

The session saw drivers complete a series of quick laps as Pirelli's soft tyres allowed them to perform multiple hot laps. Interestingly, Mercedes driver Russell ended the session atop with the one-time grand prix winner posting the quickest lap with a time of 1m11.492s.

Oscar Piastri put his McLaren in P2 ahead of Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. Alexander Albon took a surprise P6 in the opening qualifying segment, beating Verstappen.

Following their well-documented struggles, Alpine got a good start to their session with both Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon managing to progress into the further part of qualifying.

There was drama in the closing stages of the first qualifying session. Sergio Perez was unable to pull a good enough time out of the bag and suffered a shock Q1 exit. It means that the Mexican will line up only in P18 on the grid for tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix.

Having excelled in Free Practice 2, Fernando Alonso also endured a huge blow as he was knocked out in Q1 which means that the Aston Martin man will start tomorrow's race from P16.

Knocked out: Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.

Q2 - Gasly impresses

Although McLaren did not look particularly quick on Friday, the Woking-based outfit started to reveal their cards in the second qualifying session with Lando Norris setting the quickest lap.

Max Verstappen started to stretch hig legs in the first sector by posting eye-catching times in the opening part of the Monte Carlo circuit. The Dutchman finished second ahead of Oscar Piastri.

Leclerc finished down in P4, albeit he was within a tenth of a second to Norris' benchmark time. Alpine's Pierre Gasly ended up fifth fastest which was a hige result for the Frenchman given the Enstone-based outfit's struggles this year.

The Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished in P6 and P7 respectively, ahead of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda and Williams racer Alexander Albon put in an impressive performance to get themselves through into the last qualifying segment.

Knocked out: Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, LanceStroll and Kevin Magnussen.

Q3 - Leclerc comes back

The first two qualifying segments indicated that Leclerc lost the edge over his rivals, but he immediately posted the fastest lap on his first Q3 lap. He then went on to find another step, recording a lap of 1m10.270s on his second and last hot lap.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri was second in Imola just a week ago, and he took second again in Monaco, just over a tenth of a second adrift of Leclerc's pole time. Having struggled across the entire weekend, Carlos Sainz bounced back in the all-important last segment, posting the third-quickest lap ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Having introduced a new front wing for Monaco, George Russell confirmed the steps Mercedes are taking with a fifth place on the grid for tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix, beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton who will line up in P7 tomorrow.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen looked strong on his first hot lap, but made a mistake into the Sainte Devote corner on his final push lap, and ended up only sixth.

RB driver Yuki Tsunoda delivered another encouraging performance after his strong showing in Imola, posting the 8th quickest lap in Q3 with Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly bringing up the rear of the top ten.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:11.5841:10.8251:10.27026
281Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:11.5001:10.7561:10.42424
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:11.5431:11.0751:10.51828
44Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:11.7601:10.7321:10.54227
563George RussellMercedes1:11.4921:10.9291:10.54328
61Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:11.7111:10.7451:10.56728
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:11.5281:11.0561:10.62128
822Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:11.8521:11.1061:10.85825
923Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:11.6231:11.2161:10.94829
1010Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:11.7141:10.8961:11.31130
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:11.8871:11.28520
1227Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:11.8761:11.44020
133Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:11.7851:11.48221
1418Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:11.7281:11.56317
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:11.8321:11.72518
1614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.01911
172Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:12.02012
1811Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:12.06012
1977Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:12.51211
2024Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:13.02811