Monaco GP: Max Verstappen pole streak over as Charles Leclerc’s curse starts to break

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc puts in the laps in Monaco

Charles Leclerc will line up on pole position in Monaco

Charles Leclerc will line up on pole position for his home race, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver delighting his home fans as he pipped Oscar Piastri by a tenth.

As for Max Verstappen, the Dutchman was down in sixth place in a qualifying in which Sergio Perez didn’t even make it out of Q1.

Sergio Perez is the big name to fall in Q1 in Monaco

With new rules governing driver etiquette, the drivers were quick to line up in the pit lane where Lewis Hamilton led the queue while Zhou Guanyu found himself unable to get into the line and was forced to wait.

Despite much being expected from Ferrari it was Nico Hulkenberg who led the way with 10 minutes to go, the Haas driver ahead of Hamilton.

But in a session where the drivers didn’t do the usual three laps and pit, instead staying out, Oscar Piastri hit the front ahead of Max Verstappen. Charles Leclerc, with a piece of plastic stuck to his front wing, was 10th.

The Monegasque driver rebounded to sit P1 with three minutes to go, Sergio Perez was in the drop zone in 15th. Monaco traffic created a huge queue into the final corner as everyone lined up for a final lap.

The session ended with George Russell quickest, while out went Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou.

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Alex Albon sneaks through in Monaco

Hulkenberg got the timesheet rolling in Q2, crossing the line with a 1:11.9 but that was destroyed by Verstappen, who shaved eight-tenths off on his first flying lap.

Carlos Sainz was the next to slide into the P1 while Esteban Ocon complained of “blocking, blocking”, and Hulkenberg was noted by the stewards for that incident. The stewards will investigate after the session.

Piastri was up in P1 heading into the final three minutes of the session, 0.069s ahead of Leclerc with Lance Stroll the first driver in the drop zone.

Q2 ended with Lando Norris quickest, and out went Ocon, who was booted out by his Alpine team-mate Gasly, Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Stroll and Kevin Magnussen. Alex Albon snuck through in 10th place for his first Q3 showing of the season.

Charles Leclerc on pole position in Monaco

Hamilton laid down the opening gambit with a 1:10.9 but was pipped by Leclerc despite the Ferrari driver complaining about an issue with his pedals. He clocked a 1:10.4 with the McLaren team-mates lining up behind him before they were split by Verstappen. “Same issues in 5 and 10,” said Verstappen.

Back out for a second run on new soft tyres, Sainz and Verstappen went early for the sake of a clear track. Verstappen slapped the wall, Leclerc went quicker in the first sector and then quicker overall with a 1:10.270.

But he had to wait for the McLarens… Piastri went second fastest, a tenth down, with Norris P4.

Qualifying ended with a first pole position of the season for Leclerc, +0.154s up on Piastri, with Sainz third ahead of Norris. Verstappen was only P6 as he also lost out to Russell.


1 Charles LECLERC 1:10.270
2 Oscar PIASTRI +0.154
3 Carlos SAINZ +0.248
4 Lando NORRIS +0.272
5 George RUSSELL +0.273
6 Max VERSTAPPEN +0.297
7 Lewis HAMILTON +0.351
8 Yuki TSUNODA +0.588
9 Alexander ALBON +0.678
10 Pierre GASLY +1.041
11 Esteban OCON 1:11.285
12 Nico HULKENBERG 1:11.440
13 Daniel RICCIARDO 1:11.482
14 Lance STROLL 1:11.563
15 Kevin MAGNUSSEN 1:11.725
16 Fernando ALONSO 1:12.019
17 Logan SARGEANT 1:12.020
18 Sergio PEREZ 1:12.060
19 Valtteri BOTTAS 1:12.512
20 Guanyu ZHOU 1:13.028

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