Charles Leclerc took his and Ferrari’s first pole in two seasons after a dramatic qualifying session in Monaco. The Monégasque crashed out on his final run moments before the end of Q3, red-flagging the session and preventing anyone else from setting a faster time.
Max Verstappen lines up next to him on the front row for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, some way ahead of title rival Lewis Hamilton who tagged the barriers several times, as he could do no better than seventh.
It remains to be seen if damage to Leclerc’s car will require a gearbox change, and subsequent five-place grid penalty.
The Ferrari pole wasn’t the only talking point of the session, as Daniel Ricciardo struggled and couldn’t make it out of Q2, while Fernando Alonso was a surprising exit in Q1.
That lap proved to be fast enough to carry the Finn to top spot in Q1.
The semi-shock exit of Q1 was Fernando Alonso, again failing to extract the performance needed from his Alpine in qualifying and thus exiting in the first session.
He wasn’t even fastest of those knocked out – that accolade was taken by Yuki Tsunoda, the Japanese rookie going 16th quickest in his Alpha Tauri.
Nicholas Latifi clocked 18th best time whilst Nikita Mazepin took the final available place.
Mick Schumacher was unable to take part in qualifying after crashing heavily in his Haas towards the end of FP3.
Ferrari again set the early session pace, with Sainz quickest with a 1min 10.806sec and team-mate Leclerc just 0.2sec behind him.
Lando Norris then impressed as he inserted his McLaren into a Scuderia sandwich, before Max Verstappen set a time of 0.165sec faster than Sainz’s. Eventually Leclerc was quickest in Q2 with a 1min 10.597sec.
Ultimately it was Daniel Ricciardo who was the big name to exit as he couldn’t manage better than 12th, two tenths down on an impressive Antonio Giovinazzi who got into Q3.