Monaco GP: Leclerc grabs pole, then crashes

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc claimed pole for Formula 1's 2021 Monaco Grand Prix in bizarre circumstances as he crashed with seconds remaining in Q3, which prevented any of his rivals improving.

Leclerc had claimed provisional pole with a 1m10.346s lap after the opening runs in Q3, where the drivers were each taking several warm-up laps to get their tyres to the best operating temperatures.

He led Max Verstappen by 0.230s, with the Red Bull leading the pack around to start the final runs.

Verstappen had just set the session's fastest time in the first sector when, ahead of him on the track and about to finish his final flying lap of the session, Leclerc clipped the inside wall at the second part of the Swimming Pool.

That broke the Ferrari's right-front suspension and sent him into the barriers on the outside, with the red flags showing with just over 10 seconds remaining on the clock.

The session was not restarted, which meant Leclerc's lap from early in Q3 stood as the pole time, with Valtteri Bottas ending up third behind Verstappen.

Carlos Sainz Jr took fourth in the second Ferrari, with Lando Norris fifth for McLaren – the Briton taking an contra-approach in Q3 by running in the middle of the segment and returning to the pits ahead of the final runs.

Pierre Gasly finished sixth, with Lewis Hamilton only seventh for Mercedes.

The world champion struggled with oversteer throughout the session, never looking like he was set the threaten the top spots, and at one point late in Q3 appearing to clip the barrier at Portier.

Sebastian Vettel was eighth ahead of Sergio Perez and Antonio Giovinazzi, who gave Alfa Romeo its first Q3 appearance of 2021.

Esteban Ocon found a chunk of time on his final lap in Q2 but ended up 0.077s slower than Giovinazzi as the highest faller in the middle segment.

Behind him, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen all found time on their last laps but were also knocked out.

George Russell qualified 15th after continuing his record of progressing from Q1 at every event so far in 2021. He went faster again in Q2, but could not climb any higher.

In Q1, where all the field completed several laps to build up to speed – Verstappen and Norris had the joint lowest lap count, seven – all the fallers completed their best times in the opening segment on their final runs.

But those improvements where not enough for Yuki Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso, who became to surprise exits for AlphaTauri and Alpine respectively.

Behind them came Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin, with the latter's teammate, Mick Schumacher, set to start the race in last after his FP3 shunt at Casino Square.

The damage to the rear and left-hand side of Schumacher's Haas chassis was so severe that he could not take part in qualifying, with the team continuing to evaluate just how much damage had been done ahead of the session starting.

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 1'10.346
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 1'10.576 0.230
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 1'10.601 0.255
4 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 1'10.611 0.265
5 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 1'10.620 0.274
6 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 1'10.900 0.554
7 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 1'11.095 0.749
8 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 1'11.419 1.073
9 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 1'11.573 1.227
10 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 1'11.779 1.433
11 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 1'11.486 1.140
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 1'11.598 1.252
13 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 1'11.600 1.254
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 1'11.642 1.296
15 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 1'11.830 1.484
16 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 1'12.096 1.750
17 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 1'12.205 1.859
18 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 1'12.366 2.020
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 1'12.958 2.612
20 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas
shares
comments

Related video

Monaco GP qualifying as it happened
Previous article

Monaco GP qualifying as it happened

Next article

Leclerc fears gearbox damage after 'big surprise' pole in Monaco

Leclerc fears gearbox damage after 'big surprise' pole in Monaco
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021