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Leclerc takes stunning pole as Perez triggers qualifying chaos

Leclerc takes stunning pole as Perez triggers qualifying chaos

F1 News

Leclerc takes stunning pole as Perez triggers qualifying chaos

Leclerc takes stunning pole as Perez triggers qualifying chaos

Charles Leclerc took pole for the Monaco Grand Prix in stunning fashion as qualifying ended in chaos.

The home favourite set a lap time of one minute, 11.376secs, two-tenths quicker than team-mate Sainz, with Sergio Perez the lead Red Bull.

Championship leader Max Verstappen had no response to the Mexican all day, with Perez fastest in FP3 ahead of qualifying.

But on the final lap of the session, Perez slid into the barriers at Portier and destroyed the back end of his car and with Sainz blindsided, the Ferrari collected the stranded RB18.

In likelihood, the order wouldn't have changed, however, with Leclerc even faster on his lap up to that point and Perez and Sainz struggling to match.

The session was all about home favourite Leclerc though, whose performance would have expelled any fear of demons lingering from last season's Q3 crash in the Principality - one that took away his pole position when damage carried over into the race.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for the Monégasque, who twice complained to his Ferrari team about his positioning within traffic.

Lando Norris finished fifth for McLaren despite continuing to fight illness, with George Russell again the lead Mercedes in sixth as Lewis Hamilton could only finish eighth.

Alpine enjoyed a positive afternoon with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon qualifying seventh and 10th, although the two-time champion hit the barriers at Mirabeau simultaneously with Perez and Sainz's accident.

Sebastian Vettel turned a corner with Aston Martin as the German-made Q3, prompting audible joy down team radio.

Leclerc survives weighbridge scare

Leclerc was called to the weighbridge during Q2 for the FIA to do a random spot-check on the Ferrari.

Drivers are signalled to pull to the weighbridge on the entry to the pits by an illuminating board and failure to comply can end in disqualification from the session.

But after missing the weighbridge, Leclerc slowed and allowed his mechanics to push him back up the pit lane without any work having taken place, ensuring no penalty would be given.

Ricciardo's miserable weekend continues

Daniel Ricciardo came into the weekend under pressure given comments made by McLaren CEO Zak Brown earlier this week suggesting the Australian's time with the team had not lived up to expectations.

His Monaco Grand Prix weekend took a turn for the worse when crashing out of FP2 and that lack of running may have taken its toll in qualifying.

Ricciardo managed only the 14th fastest time in Q2, sandwiched by the Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher but, crucially, seven-tenths adrift of team-mate Lando Norris.

Valtteri Bottas entered the weekend expecting to be in with a chance of a surprise podium should Ferrari or Red Bull hit trouble.

Yet the Finn couldn't reach Q3, qualifying only 12th, behind Yuki Tsunoda's AlphaTauri.

Bizarre red flags cost Gasly

With just over two minutes to go in Q1 red flags were flown after Tsunoda tagged the wall at the Nouvelle chicane, despite the Japanese driver returning to the pits.

There was no visible reason to have stopped the session and the short delay left a scramble at the end of the pit lane to get around to the start line and begin a final lap, with Pierre Gasly one of those to miss out.

The Frenchman has historically performed well at Monaco and looked as though he could well have been the best-of-the-rest behind Ferrari and Red Bull and whilst others improved on their final laps, Gasly missed the line by a second or two.

Gasly will start with Alex Albon ahead and Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and Guanyu Zhou behind.

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