Home hero Leclerc takes Monaco Grand Prix pole position

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

4 thoughts to “Home hero Leclerc takes Monaco Grand Prix pole position”

  1. Monaco Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Charles Leclerc put in a dominant display at home to take pole position for the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, his sensational lap keeping team mate Carlos Sainz at bay by 0.225s on Saturday – a red flag stopping proceedings early…

    This all-important qualifying session, given how essential a front-row start is at Monaco, saw Leclerc top Q1, Q2 and Q3 on the way to take Ferrari’s 12th pole position in the Principality with a sensational time of 1m 11.376s.

    The Monegasque was on course to improve – but a red flag at the end of Q3 saw the field essentially set, Perez taking third with a gap of 0.253s to Leclerc, and Verstappen fourth by 0.290s.

    The Q3 red flag was caused by Perez’s spin just before the tunnel section, Sainz then collecting Perez having seen the yellow flag too late.

    Lando Norris rounded out the top five for McLaren, George Russell behind in P6 for Mercedes. Fernando Alonso (P7) and Lewis Hamilton (P8) share the fourth row, with Sebastian Vettel, ninth for Aston Martin, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10.

    Yuki Tsunoda caused a brief red flag in Q1 after clipping the barrier, but managed to emerge from the session. He ended up 11th on the provisional grid, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas in P12. Neither Haas – Kevin Magnussen in P13 and Mick Schumacher P15 – could make it to Q3, with Daniel Ricciardo splitting them in 14th for McLaren.

    Tsunoda’s brush with the barriers at the chicane and resultant red flag saw Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu miss out on a final chance to set a flying lap and qualify 20th. Neither Williams – Alex Albon in P16 by just 0.07s in Q1 and Nicholas Latifi in P19 – made it to Q2.

    Between those Williams were AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in 17th – another who was caught out by the red flag – and a frustrated Lance Stroll in 18th for Aston Martin.

    Q1 – Leclerc leads Sainz before late scramble

    Not only was the marina brimming with boats, the Circuit de Monaco was chock-full of traffic for Q1 on Saturday afternoon, 20 drivers eager to make their mark in this essential session to set the grid for Sunday.

    Rapid track evolution and drivers on different run plans saw the leaderboard shuffle dramatically, the likes of Perez and Alonso holding top spot early on – but Leclerc would soon set the pace with a lap of 1m 12.569s – Ferrari team mate Sainz 0.047s back in P2 with Russell another 0.15s off in P3.

    With just over two minutes left, red flags paused the session, with Tsunoda having hit the barriers at the Nouvelle Chicane – but he managed to make it back to the pits. The pit lane queue confirmed that there would be a mad rush to set times when the session would resume, with Ricciardo, Ocon, Latifi, Tsunoda and Zhou in the provisional drop zone while Norris was on the edge in P15.

    Neither Ferrari, Mercedes’ Russell, nor the Red Bulls (Verstappen eventually sixth and Perez seventh in Q1) joined the post-red flag traffic, with Williams leading the train for a dramatic end to the session. This thrilling conclusion saw Ocon jump to fourth, Norris to fifth, while Tsunoda recovered to go ninth for AlphaTauri behind Haas’s Magnussen in P8.

    Vettel rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin ahead of McLaren’s Ricciardo, while Alonso was 12th for Alpine. Failing to make it round for another lap, Hamilton finished 13th ahead of Haas’s Schumacher, who just made it out of the drop zone.

    Bottas crept through in P15 to eliminate 16th-place Williams driver Albon by 0.07s, AlphaTauri’s unfortunate Gasly losing out (his previous flying effort curtailed by the red flag) in P17. A furious Lance Stroll ended up 18th at Aston Martin.

    The other Williams of Latifi ended up 19th while a baffled Zhou couldn’t make it round the track for another go and finished 20th.

    Knocked out: Albon, Gasly, Stroll, Latifi, Zhou

    Q2 – Leclerc and Perez go top as Verstappen plays catch-up

    The first laps in Q2 saw Leclerc lead with a time of 1m 11.864s, Perez 0.090s back in P2, while Sainz was third by 0.210s to his team mate and Verstappen nearly half a second back in P4.

    In the provisional drop zone were Magnussen, Bottas, Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Schumacher, who had his opening time deleted for missing the Turn 10 apex. Vettel was at risk of elimination, just 0.010s ahead of Magnussen.

    Verstappen improved but could only manage P4, 0.253s off Leclerc, while Norris rounded out the top five for McLaren. Ocon jumped to sixth, and Hamilton managed seventh despite backing out of two previous efforts.

    Vettel’s last-gasp effort saw him jump to eighth and Russell finished ninth – with Alonso making it through to Q3 in P10, as Tsunoda lost out by a tenth of a second. Bottas couldn’t make it out of Q2 in P12, Magnussen dropping to P13, while Ricciardo eliminated in 14th. Schumacher settled for a provisional P15 on the grid.

    Knocked out: Tsunoda, Bottas, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Schumacher

    Q3 – Leclerc secures pole before calamity strikes

    “This one’s going to be box office,” said Christian Horner before the top-10 face off – but which of these hot shots would emerge as the top gun in Q3?

    Leclerc led the pack into the sunshine and posted a brilliant benchmark of 1m 11.376s, Sainz facing a gulf of 0.225s in P2. Perez was only three-hundredths behind Sainz in third, Verstappen another four-hundredths behind in P4. There was still time for one of them to eclipse Leclerc, track temperatures now dropping.

    The Monegasque driver wasn’t happy with his positioning on the next preparation lap, yet he aced the first sector and was on course to eclipse his pole time.

    Then, another red flag: Perez had crashed just before the tunnel, Sainz collecting him having seen the preceding yellow flag too late, to essentially finish the session. The grid was set: it would be Leclerc in pole, Sainz second, Perez third and Verstappen – his disappointment clear when he climbed out of the RB18 – a provisional fourth on the grid.

    Norris rounded out the top five ahead of Russell, with Alonso – bumping the barriers in an attempt to slow for the late red flag – and Hamilton to share row four in P7 and P8 respectively. Behind them was Aston Martin’s Vettel in P9, and the other Alpine of Ocon in 10th.

    With pole position and his wingman Sainz set to share the front row, can Leclerc ace his home race on Sunday, and see the chequered flag for the first time in his career in Monaco?

  2. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz commented that a blind corner made Sergio Perez Monaco crash inevitable. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Carlos Sainz says Monaco’s blind corners left him no chance to avoid hitting Sergio Perez, who crashed ahead of him during Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying and triggered a red flag.

    The Ferrari driver was involved in the late red flag incident at the end of Q3, when Perez crashed at Portier after losing the rear of his car.

    Sainz was the first driver on the scene and clipped the Mexican when he tried to avoid the stricken Red Bull car.

    The Spanish driver said he saw the initial yellow flags for Perez’s crash at the last moment and due to the high walls around the corner he couldn’t see where the Red Bull driver had ended up on the track to avoid an impact.

    “I was coming from a blind corner that was Turn 7, you go full throttle from Turn 7 and when I entered on my left-hand side I could see a yellow flag coming out,” Sainz said.

    “Immediately as I realised it was a yellow flag I realised that the car in front of me had crashed.

    “You don’t see where he had crashed, so you enter the corner without knowing where he is going to be, so I just hit the brakes. I tried to do the corner radius as tight as possible and just as I was going to manage to avoid him I hit the brake a bit harder and managed to clip him with the back of my car.

    “It would’ve been a pretty good save if I would’ve saved it, because there was basically no time to save it, but it is what happens in Monaco.”

    The Q3 red flag meant the qualifying order remained unchanged before the final laps were completed, which was the same situation that occurred last year in Monaco when Charles Leclerc crashed, and this time around it meant Sainz had to settle for second place in a Ferrari 1-2 behind his pole-sitting teammate.

    “It is still great news for the team, second wasn’t bad, I think it was coming along nicely with qualifying,” he added.

    “Unfortunately in my Q3 run one, we had the two Mercedes in the middle of my fast lap that they were doing a build-up lap. I found one Mercedes in the middle of sector two and the other one in sector three.

    “It was a scrappy first run in Q3 but I was looking forward to that final showdown here in Monaco, that is where you give that extra bit.

    “But every year in Monaco it seems a tradition that someone crashes in front of me and you cannot complete the lap that is normally the most exciting lap around Monaco.

    “We start P2 which I think is a great position to start and tomorrow anything can happen with the rain, if it comes. We’re in a good position.”

    Both Red Bulls will start directly behind Sainz, with Perez taking third place and F1 world championship leader Max Verstappen in fourth place on the grid.

  3. Checo Perez explains Monaco Grand Prix qualifying crash down to cold tyres. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Red Bull Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez puts his qualifying-ending Monaco Grand Prix crash down to his final set of tyres being too cold.

    Perez was pushing eventual pole winner Charles Lelcerc hard throughout qualifying on Saturday and was just 0.09s slower than the Ferrari driver in Q2 but did trail Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ahead of the final Q3 runs.

    On his last qualifying lap, as Perez ran behind Leclerc on the track, he lost the rear of his RB18 as he rounded the Portier right-hander and crashed backwards into the barrier.

    As Perez sat stranded in the wreckage, Sainz hit the Mexican’s right-front wheel before the session was suspended by red flags and Leclerc’s pole from the initial laps in Q3 was sealed.

    Perez said the incident was “just a shame” because “I think we had more pace than that, but we just couldn’t challenge”.

    He added: “I think the strategy with the tyres [was wrong] – especially that final set, it wasn’t up to temperature and it was just too peaky.

    “I nearly lost it already into Turn 1 and in hindsight I think we didn’t get it right today.

    “[At Portier], I was quite close to my time [from earlier in Q3] trying to make it up. Turn 8 [Portier] has been a difficult one for me throughout the qualifying session.

    “So, I was trying to anticipate and get quite early on throttle, but as soon as I touched the throttle, I could feel like the rear tyre was not gripping in and I was playing with it a bit – until I lost it.

    “Then I was actually surprised that Carlos hit me at the time. Just a shame what happened and I feel sorry for Carlos and for the rest of the guys, but this is Monaco.”

    Perez was speaking in the post-qualifying press conference after making a trip to the Monaco medical centre following the crash.

    He said he was “all ok” and was surprised his car’s G-sensor had registered a hit powerful enough to require a medical check given the accident occurred at one of the lowest-speed parts of the Monaco layout, already one of the slowest on the F1 calendar.

    “I think there was a technical issue apparently,” he stated. “Because the G I got was something like 20G, but it’s quite a low-speed section and luckily there is Tecpro there.”

    Perez says the damage to his car “looked bad” but reckons “it should be ok” to be repaired in time to start the Monaco race from third on the grid.

    When asked about being the lead Red Bull driver in qualifying, Perez replied: “We’ve been competitive all the weekend. Since FP1 we’ve always been in the top three. We were fastest in FP3.

    “As always, to get the pole you have to maximise everything and it felt that we could’ve done better – especially on those out laps.

    “At the end, I was stuck with one of the Ferraris [Leclerc] and my final Q3 lap was tyres too cold.

    “But, in general I felt that the Ferraris were a bit ahead this weekend, but we’ll see tomorrow. It’s a long race ahead. Obviously the starting position is very important here. But overall it has been a very competitive weekend.”

    Teammate Max Verstappen was fourth after the opening Q3 runs but had just set a personal best first sector only 0.1 seconds slower than Leclerc’s leading time in that third of the track when the crash occurred ahead of the world champion.

  4. Championship leader Max Verstappen rues Formula 1’s ‘irritating’ red flag rules. Motorsport.com provides the details.

    Max Verstappen thinks that Formula 1’s red flag rules tempt drivers to take too many risks on final runs in Monaco Grand Prix qualifying.

    For the second year running, Verstappen saw his hopes of a top grid slot dashed by someone else’s mistake bringing out a red flag and stopping the qualifying session.

    Last year, pole position man Charles Leclerc crashed at the Swimming Pool exit chicane and brought out the red flags, while this time it was a spin from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez that brought things to a halt.

    A frustrated Verstappen admitted that it ‘sucks’ that drivers who take things too far and crash get away with keeping their grid positions.

    “It is irritating and a pity of course that the one who put it in the wall was my teammate,” he said.

    “But in the end you don’t get a penalty for that. So if you know you have a good first run, then you can think: ‘ah well, you know what, I’ll park it and tactically send it into the wall.’ You could do that.”

    Leclerc’s crash last year prompted some debate about whether or not F1 should adopt red flag rules used in other categories – where drivers who stop sessions lose their best laps.

    In the end, the discussions did not move forward and right now there is no downside to a driver bringing out a red flag.

    Asked if the rules needed to change, Verstappen said: “That’s something we’ve been working on for a while.

    “It’s nice for the person who hangs it in the wall. But for me it’s a bummer, of course.”

    Verstappen has had a weekend where he hasn’t appeared to be as comfortable with the Red Bull as teammate Perez.

    The world champion will start fourth on the grid, one place behind his Mexican teammate.

    Reflecting on what has happened, Verstappen thinks set-up choices have not given him the sharp front end that he likes in a car – although he believes a front row slot was potentially still on the cards.

    “We tried a few things with the car in practice and not all of those things worked out well,” he said.

    “Then we changed a few things for qualifying, which I think made it a bit better.

    “I just didn’t have enough grip the whole time, at the front. And here in Monaco it is very important that the car turns very quickly and I didn’t have that. And then you just lose a lot of time because you can’t attack the corners.

    “He [Perez] is just feeling a bit more comfortable. He had the balance more how he wanted it. He can drive with a bit more understeer, he likes that. But for me the car has to be very strong at the front.”

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