For the second consecutive year, Charles Leclerc secured pole position for his home Grand Prix in Monaco, but unlike last year, he managed to stay out of the barriers to do so!
The Scuderia Ferrari driver has been on fire in Qualifying all year around and pole in Monaco is his fifth of the season in just seven races and his fourteenth of his career.
Leclerc felt like he was driving at the limit during the session, particularly on his pole position lap, even if the F1-75 had a lot of oversteer to contend with. However, the pole position was secured despite a late red flag, and he will go into Sunday’s race hopeful of rebounding from his Spanish Grand Prix retirement from last weekend.
“I am very pleased with our overall performance so far this weekend,” said Leclerc. “I felt confident in the car and started pushing a bit more in Q3. The first lap was good.
“I think that the second was one of the best laps I have ever done in qualifying. It was so much fun to drive and I was really on the limit. I had a lot of oversteer, so the rear was quite loose. Still, I knew that the lap was coming together nicely and that felt particularly good.
“It’s a shame that I couldn’t finish it, but this is Monaco and we know that the final attempt is always at risk of yellow or red flags.
“We secured pole anyway, so I am really happy. Whatever the conditions are tomorrow, we will start from the best place possible and will do everything to finish the weekend as smoothly as it has gone so far.”
“I did all I could to react quickly and avoid the crash” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. will join Leclerc on the front row of the grid on Sunday, although the Spaniard’s session ended abruptly during his final run when he was first on the scene of Sergio Pérez’s crash.
Sainz attempted to avoid contact with the Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers’ stranded RB18 but spun into the front wheel of the car, with the two cars then causing a blockage on track that caused the red flags to fly.
Despite the incident, Sainz was happy with his Qualifying performance and believed he had a shot at pole position, but for a second consecutive year he was unable to finish his final flying lap in Q3 because of red flags.
“It was a great build up throughout qualifying today, especially up until Q3 when unfortunately things got a bit messier,” said Sainz. “On my first attempt I had to overtake both Mercedes during my flying lap and I left a couple of tenths on the table, especially overtaking [Lewis] Hamilton at the swimming pool.
“However, I was confident for the second attempt until obviously Perez crashed in front of me. I did all I could to react quickly and avoid the crash, but it was too late. Things like this can happen in Monaco and unfortunately I was caught up in it again.
“Overall, P2 is a decent position to start on Sunday and it’s a good day for the team with another front row lock-out and a good opportunity to score solid points tomorrow. Let’s race!”