Charles Leclerc will start his home race at Monte Carlo in pole position. The Scuderia Ferrari driver was in the zone throughout qualifying, setting the quickest time in Q1, Q2 and Q3.
The Monaco Grand Prix qualifying finished under red flags after Sergio Perez crashed late in Q3 and was then collected by Carlos Sainz.
Leclerc had led his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz ahead of the final laps in Q3, with his one minute, 11.376 seconds the time for pole.
Perez looked to be Red Bull’s best hope for P1 after topping FP3 and leading Max Verstappen throughout qualifying and he trailed Leclerc on the final flying lap on the soft tyres, the second set for the top three runners in the final segment.
Leclerc set a purple sector in the opening third of his final effort – he ended up with the quickest time in all three based on his one minute, 11.376 seconds lap – while the following Perez could not reproduce a personal best at that point.
While Leclerc was exiting the tunnel, Perez lost the rear of his Red Bull and smashed the right rear of his car against the barriers at the exit of Portier, after which Sainz also spun when he came around the right hander and found the wrecked Red Bull.
Sainz therefore struck the right front wheel of Perez’s car and was also stranded, with the red flags flying and preventing any late improvements or position changes as there was less than a minute of Q3 remaining and no chance of it being restarted.
That sealed the deal for Leclerc’s second Monaco Grand Prix pole in a row, with Sainz’s best time from the start of Q3 putting him 0.225 seconds adrift, with Perez third thanks to his one minute, 11.629 seconds.
Verstappen ran one set of softs throughout as he opted to continue chasing time to the flag, ending up fourth and unable to improve – he had just set a personal best in the first sector that was 0.1 seconds down on Leclerc’s leading time there – because of his teammate’s incident.
Lando Norris slotted into fifth position just before the leaders began their final laps, with George Russell sixth for Mercedes.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso took seventh, but he too had a late crash, ending up in the barriers at Mirabeau at nearly the same time as Perez and Sainz were crashed further down the hill in sector two.
Lewis Hamilton ended up eighth, with Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top ten.
Leclerc led the session’s middle segment, which featured a worrying moment for the Ferrari driver as he missed his call to visit the FIA’s weighbridge with just over five minutes of Q2 remaining.
Fortunately for Leclerc he stopped in the pitlane before returning to his garage and so could be pushed backwards by his mechanics to be weighed, the result of which should mean he does not receive a sporting penalty, as returning to the Ferrari pits risked a qualifying disqualification.
At the end of Q2, Yuki Tsunoda failed to produce a personal best when it mattered and he was eliminated in P11.
Valtteri Bottas jumped to P12 on his final run, with Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher also their quickest times of the session on their final fliers behind.
They ended up P13 and P15, sandwiching McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who also set a personal best at the end of Q2 but could do no better than P14.
In Q1, which Leclerc also topped, Tsunoda clipped the inside wall at the hairpin and picked up an immediate puncture with just over two minutes of that segment remaining, with the red flags flying as a result.
That led to a huge queue at the end of the pitlane as the drivers below the top five at the time rushed out to try and secure one final lap, with track evolution a major factor in who progressed through the early sessions as rubber went down and the drivers built confidence.
But gaps emerging between the cars in the long snake leaving the pitlane meant several drivers missed out on a chance to even start a final flier, with Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu eliminated in P17 and P20 as a result – the former’s banker effort slowly shuffled down the order until Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri teammate was knocked out with the chance to post one last effort.
Alex Albon had headed the cars that queued at the end of the pitlane and managed to post a personal best with his final lap, but was subsequently pushed down as others behind found time.
This was particularly the case with the Tsunoda and the McLaren drivers, who all jumped out of the drop zone with their final Q1 laps to leave Albon P16 and out.
Lance Stroll could not post a better time on his last Q1 run and was dumped out, screaming down his team radio, in P18, ahead of Nicholas Latifi, who did save his best for last but could do no better than P19.
So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in scoring pole position at his home race. As overtaking is next to impossible around Monte Carlo, starting at the front is the best chance of racing success. But rain is being threatened come race day, so anything can happen in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Monaco Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:11.376
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:11.601
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:11.629
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.666
5 Lando Norris McLaren 1:11.849
6 George Russell Mercedes 1:12.112
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:12.247
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.560
9 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:12.732
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:13.047
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:12.797
12 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:12.909
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:12.921
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:12.964
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:13.081
16 Alex Albon William 1:13.611
17 Pierre Gasly AlphaTaur 1:13.660
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:13.678
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:14.403
20 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:15.606