Charles Leclerc sensationally wins qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver first drives the fastest time and then causes it to be aborted with an accident. Lewis Hamilton is hugely disappointing in the Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel can be satisfied.
The streets of Monaco are narrow, there is almost no room for mistakes, instead of a run-off zone, the ruthless guardrail waits almost everywhere at the edge of the track. Charles Leclerc also had to gain experience in qualifying for the Grand Prix in the Principality. In his home race, the Monegasse hit hard in the third and decisive section of qualifying after the suspension of the right front wheel had broken with a slight contact with the wall. The session is aborted, not restarted – and your own accident ensures that no one can attack Leclerc’s best time of 1: 10.346 minutes.
“It’s a shame to end up in the wall. Still, I’m happy about my first lap and this pole,” said Leclerc at Sky: “But the points will only be awarded tomorrow. So far I’ve always had a lot of bad luck here, so wait we leave. ” He himself therefore assumes that the gearbox will have to be replaced, which would mean moving back five places.
It is no less than a sensation that Ferrari is on pole position in Monaco, especially after the miserable 2020 season. In the first races of this year, the Scuderia does not look like a team that can fight for first place on the grid. But on the narrow street circuit, the SF 21 works better than any other car. The only question now is whether the mechanics can rebuild Leclerc’s car by the start on Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky and in the live ticker at ntv.de).
Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, experienced a bitter disappointment. The world championship leader breaks off his last fast lap before Leclerc’s impact, seventh place (+0.749 seconds) is a miserable starting position. Especially because overtaking is considered difficult or impossible on the 3.337-kilometer circuit: “Hopefully we can make up for something with the strategy, maybe some rain will come, I hope for that.” At the same time, this opens up a huge opportunity for his World Cup rival Max Verstappen to catch up in the drivers’ standings. Because the Dutchman drives the second fastest time in the Red Bull, but is also an impressive 0.230 seconds behind Leclerc, who conjured up an outstanding lap before the accident.
Schumacher sees the good in the bad
Third in qualifying is Valtteri Bottas (+0.255), who clearly wins the internal Mercedes duel. Carlos Sainz, who secured fourth place (+0.265), shows how strong Ferrari is in Monaco. For the Reds, it is the first pole position since Leclerc set the fastest time in Mexico in 2019. Lando Norris is also in great shape in the McLaren in fifth (+0.274), the young Briton only lacks four and a half hundredths of a second to the front row. Also ahead of Hamilton, Pierre Gasly (+0.554) surprisingly placed sixth in the Alpha Tauri.
Sebastian Vettel shows himself improved, in eighth place (+1.073) he is far from his former teammate and the top, but he was better for Ferrari at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2020. Since then, the Aston Martin driver has never been over space got out ten. “The track suits us a bit, we can make more of the difference here. Maybe we can eat Lewis at the start and make up a place.” He also won the team-internal duel, Lance Stroll said goodbye as 13th in Q2. The top ten are completed by Sergio Pérez (Red Bull / + 1.227) and Antonio Giovinazzi (+1.433), who caused a surprise in the Alfa Romeo.
Mick Schumacher, on the other hand, was the only spectator in the fight for the starting position, which is particularly important in Monaco. He was already familiar with the track barrier during practice on Thursday, and on Saturday morning he destroyed his Haas with such force that it was impossible to repair it before qualifying started. Shortly before the end of the third free practice session, the 22-year-old hit the wall in a right-hand bend, but was uninjured. Shortly afterwards, Haas stated that the chassis was damaged and that repairs in the remaining two hours would be unthinkable. Schumacher will most likely have to start the race as 20th and last.
“It’s very annoying,” said Schumacher at Sky: “It would have been a good chance to fight Williams. I’m just sorry for the team. But we still have the race, it will be very interesting here. We have one good idea about possible strategies for tomorrow. “