Leclerc claims home pole in Monaco and then crashes

Verstappen 2nd, Bottas 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

22 May 2021 - 16:07
Leclerc claims home pole in Monaco (...)

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took a home pole position for Formula 1’s 2021 Monaco Grand Prix beating Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen with his opening lap of Q3. Leclerc then crashed midway through his final run to deny any of his rivals an opportunity as the red flags came out.

In Q1, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas leds the way, with the Finn setting a session-best time of 1:10.938, around eight hundredths of a second ahead of Leclerc. Verstappen eased through to the second segment in third place thanks to a lap of 1:11.124. Lando Norris was fourth for McLaren ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

At the other end of the order there was no place in Q2 for AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Cruelly, the Japanese driver missed out on a Q2 berth by just 0.018s, pipped by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. Eliminated along with Tsunoda were Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in P17 ahead of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Haas’ Nikita Mazepin. Mick Schumacher failed to take part in the session due to the severity of the damage caused to his car in his FP3 crash.

In Q2 Verstappen took over at the top of the order with an opening lap of 1:10.650. That remained the benchmark until the second runs when Leclerc found enough time to edge the Dutchman out of top spot with a lap of 1:10.597. Behind Verstappen, Bottas went through to Q3 in third place ahead of Sainz.

After the first runs Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez found himself in eighth place, behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton. However, in the final run he made a good step forward and claimed P5 with a lap of 1:11.019 that put him ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and a clearly uncomfortable Hamilton.

At the end of Q2 Esteban Ocon was eliminated in P11 ahead of Alpine’s Daniel Ricciardo, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and Williams’ George Russell.

At the start of Q3, Verstappen set a solid time of 1:10.576 on his opening flyer of Q3 and then prepared for a final push lap. In the meantime, Leclerc powered to provisional pole with a lap of 1:10.346, two tenths ahead of the Dutchman.

However, on his final run, on the entry to the swimming pool section, Leclerc clipped the barrier with his front right wheel and with his steering arm broken he slid into the barriers at the exit of the corner. The red flags were immediately shown and with seconds left in the session Verstappen, Bottas and Sainz were denied a final flying lap and a last shot at pole position.

With Verstappen second, third place went to Bottas with Sainz fourth. Fifth place went to Norris with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in an impressive sixth place. That left seventh Hamilton with the championship leader qualifying ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, Checo and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

Pos.DriverTeamQ1 timeQ2 timeQ3 time
01 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:11.113 1:10.597 1:10.346
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:11.124 1:10.650 1:10.576
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:10.938 1:10.695 1:10.601
04 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:11.324 1:10.806 1:10.611
05 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:11.321 1:11.031 1:10.620
06 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:11.560 1:11.179 1:10.900
07 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:11.622 1:11.116 1:11.095
08 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:12.078 1:11.309 1:11.419
09 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:11.644 1:11.019 1:11.573
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:11.658 1:11.409 1:11.779
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:11.740 1:11.486
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:11.747 1:11.598
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:11.979 1:11.600
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:11.899 1:11.642
15 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:12.016 1:11.830
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:12.096
17 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:12.205
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:12.366
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:12.958
20 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 -:—.---

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