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Leclerc crashes after claiming shock pole position for Monaco Grand Prix

Leclerc crashes after claiming shock pole position for Monaco Grand Prix

F1 News

Leclerc crashes after claiming shock pole position for Monaco Grand Prix

Leclerc crashes after claiming shock pole position for Monaco Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc claimed his first pole position since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix - but only after ending the Monaco GP qualifying session with a heavy crash.

The home hero was sitting on pole with a time of one minute 10.346secs when on his final flying lap in Q3, the Monégasque clipped a barrier on the exit of the swimming pool complex, breaking the right-front wishbone on his Ferrari.

That sent Leclerc spearing into another barrier coming out of the chicane, and now it is a case to see if the SF21 has sustained any gearbox damage and potentially requiring a penalty.

At the time, Red Bull's Max Verstappen had just set the fastest first sector and could potentially have claimed top spot on the grid, but will now start second.

As for championship leader Lewis Hamilton, it was a qualifying to forget as the seven-time title winner starts a lowly seventh.

After struggling with snap oversteer in FP3, Hamilton appeared to lack confidence in his W12 during qualifying as at no stage was he ever in contention for pole position, eventually finishing seven-tenths of a second adrift of Leclerc.

Hamilton now faces an uphill task to even get on the podium.

Of the previous 66 races around the streets of the Principality, only 30 winners have come from pole, yet there have been 57 in total from the top three on the grid.

Hamilton even finished four-tenths of a second behind Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas who lines up third ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

McLaren's Lando Norris starts fifth followed by a superb display from AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly who is also ahead of Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel, who appears to be slowly gaining confidence in his Aston Martin after joining the team over the winter, lines up eighth.

But Sergio Perez was again found wanting in his Red Bull as the Mexican starts ninth.

After brilliantly giving Alfa Romeo its first Q3 appearance of the season, Antonio Giovinazzi lines up10th.

Ricciardo's McLaren struggles continue

After qualifying fifth quickest a fortnight ago for the Spanish GP, Esteban Ocon was unable to reach Q3 around Monaco, missing out by 0.077s to Giovinazzi.

Ocon will line up on the sixth row of the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo alongside him for company as the Australian's poor weekend continued in his McLaren as he finished over half-a-second adrift of Norris in Q2.

Lance Stroll could only manage 13th in his Aston Martin, with the Canadian lining up ahead of Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen and George Russell in his Williams as the Briton again reached Q2.

Alonso Q1 shocker

On his Monaco qualifying debut, Yuki Tsunoda could only manage 16th in Q1, half a second adrift of team-mate Gasly who delivered a time good enough for sixth in the opening 18 minutes.

The major surprise was the fact two-time Monaco GP winner Fernando Alonso was a wretched 17th, due to what Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski claimed was the team's failure to get the tyres to work, just two weeks after reaching Q3 in Spain.

Williams' Nicholas Latifi starts 18th, with the Canadian now on a run of 22 races in which he has failed to out-qualify team-mate George Russell since joining the Grove-based marque at the start of last year.

For the first time this year, Nikita Mazepin out-qualified team-mate Mick Schumacher, albeit by default as the young German sat out the session.

Mazepin will line up 19th, with Schumacher last on the grid following his heavy crash in FP3 as Haas was unable to repair the damage sustained in time him to participate.

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