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Lerclerc claims dominant pole as Perez and Sainz crash

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took a dominant pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix with his teammate Carlos Sainz and Red Bull's Sergio Perez crashing out

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Ferrari driver Charles Lerclerc claimed a commanding pole for his home race with the Monegasque driver in imperious form. The session would come to a premature end with second and third place drivers Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz involved in an incident that ultimately ended the qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Championship leader Max Verstappen will start fourth with the Dutchman struggling throughout the session. McLaren’s Lando Norris will start fifth, with George Russell, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon making up the top 10.

Q3: Perez and Sainz crash

The final part of qualifying saw Lerclerc led the pack out onto the circuit with the Monegasque driver followed by Mercedes’ Hamilton and Russell. Lerclerc’s first lap was the quickest of the weekend with the home hero looking unstoppable.

Behind him it was Sainz, Perez and championship leader Verstappen who would make up the top four. Alonso would go fifth with Norris claiming sixth. The Merecedes drivers Hamilton and Russell could only manage seventh and eighth respectively with Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon making up the top ten after the opening exchanges.

As the drivers prepared for their final runs, Perez hit the wall with Sainz hitting the stranded Red Bull meaning that the session ended prematurely.

This left Leclerc first with Sainz and Perez in second and third respectively. Verstappen was fourth with Norris making up the top five.

Q2: Ricciardo struggles continue

The second part of qualifying saw front runners Ferrari and Red Bull lead the cars onto the circuit, with Verstappen the first to set a laptime. The Dutchman would be displaced at the top of the time sheets by his teammate and the Ferrari pair of Sainz and Leclerc.

Behind the front four it was anbody’s guess as to who would occupy the remaining six positions with McLaren’s Norris slotting into fifth. He was followed by Alonso, Hamilton, Russell, Ocon and Sebastian Vettel.

While the battled raged on the circuit, Lerclerc missed the weigh bridge as the FIA officials waved him in for one of their random checks. The Ferrari driver escaped being disqualified with his team rolling his car back for the mandatory check.

As the session drew to a close, it was Yuki Tsunoda, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Mick Schumacher and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who missed out, with Ricciardo once again failing to get the most out of his McLaren.

Q1: Gasly misses out

The first part of the qualifying session saw the two Haas cars come out under overcast conditions, with the American team followed by a flurry of cars making their way onto the track.

Given that the session had to cater to all 20 cars, the drivers and teams had to take added care to ensure that they had adequate space to set a lap time without being impeded by traffic.

With the drivers keen to ease themselves into the session, the running order rapidly kept shifting with Verstappen ultimately prevailing after the opening salvos. He was then toppled by Perez and Sainz who set identical times before Leclerc went fastest by three-tenths of a second, a position he would maintain for the remainder of the session.

With five minutes to go, Schumacher avoided dropping out of the session by setting a laptime that was good enough to move him up to a provisional fifth. That would ultimately be short lived with the German being displaced by his teammate Magnussen.

With a little over two minutes left in the session, AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda, brought out the Red Flag, with the Japanese driver clipping the wall and puncturing his front left tyre in a decision that baffled the paddock.

The restart saw several cars miss out on setting a laptime with Zhou Guanyu finishing at the bottom of the time sheets. He was joined by Williams pair Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon as well as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and the session’s big casualty Pierre Gasly, who showed tremendous pace during FP3.

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