Charles Leclerc has mixed feelings despite securing his first pole position of the season, but will have an anxious wait on whether his gearbox will need replacing after colliding into the wall.
Scuderia Ferrari dominated the practice sessions on Thursday and that carried into Saturday as the Monegasque driver stormed to pole position in qualifying, but the session came to a disappointing end for Leclerc.
In the final few minutes of Q3, Leclerc clipped a wall and damage the right front of his car and that brought out the red flag, bringing a halt to Max Verstappen’s final flying lap who had improved in the first sector.
Leclerc says it felt amazing to secure pole in his home Grand Prix, becoming the first Monegasque to start at the head of the pack in Monaco, but is keeping his fingers crossed that the damage won’t involve changing his gearbox which will result in a grid penalty.
“Mixed feelings today. On the one hand, being on pole here is amazing. I was quite happy with my fastest lap in Q3.
“The first sector wasn’t ideal, but in the second and third, I put it together. I knew I could do better but I pushed too hard on my final lap trying to improve. Unfortunately, I hit the wall and now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope that the damage won’t result in a penalty.
“Of course, it is encouraging to see our performance, but I believe that it’s a bit of a one-off as the track suits the characteristics of our SF21 really well.
“That’s why we were so competitive today. We have to keep in mind that we are still not at the level of the two teams leading the championship, but for now, it does feel great to have extracted the maximum today.”
Leclerc also added wherever he has to start on the grid tomorrow, he will give his all and expects a great challenge around the streets of Monaco.
“Whatever the outcome, I will give my all tomorrow. It feels great to be at home and to see all the fans around the track.
“It’s Monaco, it’s very unpredictable, and also challenging for us drivers, especially in the race with so many laps. It’s a great challenge and we will try to put everything together to get a good result.”
Carlos Sainz – “Today was very frustrating for me”
Carlos Sainz says he is very frustrated with his qualifying result after a very strong weekend for the Spaniard and Ferrari, but his final flying lap was ruined due to a red flag.
Sainz looked competitive throughout all practice session and had every chance of securing the first pole position of his career. However, that came to an abrupt end as the red flag from his team-mate ended his flying lap, finishing fourth fastest overall.
Despite starting on the second row in the Monaco Grand Prix, Sainz was frustrated that the abrupt end to the session compromised his flying lap, but vows to maximize his chances tomorrow.
“Today was very frustrating for me. I’ve been driving well all weekend and I was very strong in qualifying.
“I felt confident with the car and I had a very strong pace. Unfortunately, my last attempt was a bit compromised with traffic during the preparation lap and then I didn’t have the chance to finish the flying lap due to the red flag.
“It was my first chance to put it on pole here in Monaco and lining up P4 is really frustrating. I’m not happy.
“Tomorrow it will be tough to overtake, but I will do my best and I will try to maximize our chances. Well done to the team for giving us a strong car to fight up there today.