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Charles Leclerc claims pole position as Sergio Perez crashes out

Charles Leclerc claims pole position as Sergio Perez crashes out

28 May - 16:10 Last update: 16:10

Charles Leclerc has claimed pole position for the second year running in the Principality, as Sergio Perez collided with the wall at Portier. The Ferrari driver finished ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz by 0.225 in second and Perez in third. 

The Mexican lost his rear and slid into the wall at Portier, causing a red flag and an end to the session. Soon after, Sainz collided with the Red Bull as he was unaware of the yellow flags.

Max Verstappen missed out on the top three by only 0.037 seconds, with Lando Norris and George Russell following behind. Fernando Alonso split the Mercedes duo with Lewis Hamilton claiming the eighth spot. Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon finished out the top 10.

Red flag halts drivers from making Q2

As expected, the whole grid was sent out as soon as possible so ground could be gained on the short Monaco circuit. Red Bull and Ferrari were seen at the forefront of the timings charts, but it was continuously changing as the track evolved a lot quicker than people expected. Leclerc, Sainz, Perez and Verstappen held pole position at some point during Q1, whilst the Mercedes duo of Russell and Hamilton struggled to be anywhere near.

It was a session of mayhem, with some drivers and engineers not sticking to the original plans and trying to find time to do a hot lap. Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon shocked many with a lap that saw the two move into the top ten. As the final minutes approached, a red flag was flown and the session was stopped as Yuki Tsunoda hit the wall in the Nouvelle chicane. However, it was reported that a local marshall had flown his red flag which resulted in the session having to be stopped. The young Japanese driver was able to return to the pits and quickly sort a small issue out.

As Q1 restarted, both Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were near the drop zone and with so many drivers still out on track, many were unsure if the duo would be able to find any time to improve. The Brit improved up to fourth with a purple sector three, whilst the latter improved up to ninth.

Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher didn't return to the track as they felt their times were strong enough, but in the end, they were sat just outside the elimination zone and were lucky to make it to Q2.

OUT IN Q1 - Albon, Gasly, Stroll, Latifi, Zhou

Ricciardo's struggles continue in Q2

It was the same story in Q2, cars flying out the pit lane as soon as possible, however, it wasn't everyone. Alpine were the last team to send out their drivers and it seemed to work in their favour, with Alonso finishing sixth and Ocon claiming ninth, after the first runs. Haas looked strong in Q1 but struggled at the start of the second session, with Schumacher struggling to get off the bottom and Magnussen hovering on the edge of the elimination zone.

One of the highlights within the 15 minutes was Leclerc missing the weighbridge, which resulted in his engineers having to push him back along the pit lane to avoid a disqualification. As the chequered flag edged closer, it was only the Ferrari and Red Bull duo who were safe for Q3.

Magnussen improved into the top 10 but was soon demoted into the elimination zone, alongside his teammate, by Ocon. Vettel and Bottas were the final two drivers to look to make the final session of qualifying, with the German improving up to seventh, whilst the Finn struggled to find pace and only could best a 12th place finish.

Ricciardo was looking like he could edge a Q3 appearance and start in the top half of the grid tomorrow, but was unable to hold his pace through his lap and finished in 14th, splitting the Haas duo.

OUT IN Q2 - Tsunoda, Bottas, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Schumacher

Battles throughout the top 10

Alpine used the same strategy as Q2 and waited to send out their drivers, whilst all the other eight were on track. Ferrari had the pace over Red Bull after the first set of flying laps, but it was the positions behind that were a shock to many. Alonso held the fifth spot, with Norris in sixth, followed by the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Russell. The latter had a lap time deleted, halting his chances of finishing higher up the grid.

Norris looked to put in a strong time, but with a bit of over and understeer in two corners, he was only able to improve one spot. Whilst Russell could only improve up to sixth, but still had time to complete one more lap.

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