After a year away from the Monegasque coast, Formula 1 is back in Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix and with one of the most highly anticipated Quaifying sessions in years. Scuderia Ferrari have been incredibly strong in every practice session while Championship Leaders Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have struggled massively with their car balance. Have the top teams been sandbagging or are Ferrari finally back?
Q1 – Schumacher misses out on qualifying
19 cars took part in the first qualifying session after Uralkali Haas F1 Team‘s Mick Schumacher hit the barriers at Casino Square in the third Practice Session.
The majority of teams took a while for their cars to get up to speed on an uncharaccteristically cold track. All the drivers raced around the track to make sure they got a strong lap in incase of a potential yellow or red flag on the tight track. Kimi Räikkönen locked up his tyres into Saint Devote around the ten minute mark and ended up sliding off track.
Lando Norris lapped extremely well from the beginning and looked like he could potentially cause trouble for one of the top teams in his McLaren F1 Team car at some point later in Qualifying.
The session ended with a disappointing performance from Alpine F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso alongside Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda‘s Yuki Tsunoda, Williams F1 Team‘s Nicolas Latifi, and Haas’ Nikita Mazepin. They all joined the absent Schumacher in the elimination zone.
Q2 – Usual suspects
Despite there being less cars on track there was no major difference from the first qualifying session as every car raced out to get a strong early lap in to cover off from any accidents. Carlos Sainz Jr. set the fastest lap of the first runs out, getting clear of his teammate Charles Leclerc in second place.
In the final laps the Mercedes drivers seemed to be driving on the absolute edge but could not get anywhere close to Max Verstappen and the two Ferrari drivers. Despite a remarkable performance from his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo could not drag his car into the next session.
Hometown hero Leclerc sat on top of the timing sheet for the session as Williams‘ George Russell was joined by the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN of Räikkönen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon.
Q3 – Leclerc becomes first Monegasque to grab pole at Monaco
The excitement had been building up all morning and these were the 12 minutes that Formula One fans had been looking forward to. Of the first times through, the Ferraris were dominant, with Leclerc taking top spot.
Sergio Pérez had clearly been struggling and this means that Verstappen is likely going to be by himself in terms of strategy in tomorrow’s race.
While Valtteri Bottas‘ lap times were strong when compared to the rest of the weekend, a lock up during his best lap in the first section meant Hamilton only sat in seventh place.
Verstappen was the first of the cars out as rain clouds loomed over Monaco with Five minutes left in the session, but he could not immediately improve on his time.
Leclerc ended up smashing into the barrier at the Swimming Pool with just 18 seconds left, preventing anyone else from getting a lap in and guaranteeing himself Pole Position.
This makes Leclerc the first Monegasque driver ever to take Pole Position in Monaco. A bittersweet ending to the session for Leclerc who could potentially have Gearbox damage.
Thus we end with possibly the most surprising grid of the Formula One Season. A lot to look forward to tomorrrow.
|1||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:11.113||1:10.597||1:10.346|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:11.124||1:10.650||1:10.576|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:10.938||1:10.695||1:10.601|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:11.324||1:10.806||1:10.611|
|5||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:11.321||1:11.031||1:10.620|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:11.560||1:11.179||1:10.900|
|7||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:11.622||1:11.116||1:11.095|
|8||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:12.078||1:11.309||1:11.419|
|9||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:11.644||1:11.019||1:11.573|
|10||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:11.658||1:11.409||1:11.779|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:11.740||1:11.486|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:11.747||1:11.598|
|13||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:11.979||1:11.600|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:11.899||1:11.642|
|15||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:12.016||1:11.830|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:12.096|
|17||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:12.366|
|19||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:12.958|
|20||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||———–|