Charles Leclerc took his second consecutive pole position at Monaco on Saturday’s (May 28) Formula 1 qualifying session.
“It is very special, I’m so incredibly happy, it’s been a very smooth weekend until now” Leclerc told Giedo van der Garde following his triumph.
“I knew the pace was in the car, I just had to do the job. And yeah, it went perfectly … the car felt amazing and it’s great to have Carlos with me on the front row.”
Leclerc and Sainz dominated the Q3 shootout, rarely less than two tenths ahead of the Red Bull duo.
Both Verstappen and Perez struggled to pull anything extra out of their hats through the final session, despite having been competitive throughout the day to that point. Their last chance to make a run for the front row was cut short with just over 30 seconds on the clock.
Following Leclerc through Portier (turn 8), Perez’s back end stepped out and planted his Red Bull firmly in the barriers on corner exit. With terminal damage, Perez was left stationary in the path of a fast approaching Sainz, who swung his left rear quarter into the front end of Perez, effectively blocking the track.
Next in line was Verstappen, who with nowhere to go was forced to come to a halt in turn 8, ending his last flying lap without closure. Given that less than a minute remained in the session, race control opted not to restart Q3 after clearing the incident, sealing the pole for Leclerc.
Lando Norris earned a respectable fifth-place start, followed by George Russell. Both Russell and Lewis Hamilton struggled with handling, particularly rear tire temperatures, throughout all three sessions. Hamilton will line up eighth in Sunday.
Leclerc ended Q2 atop the time charts, with Perez less than a tenth of a second behind. Sainz ended the session in third with Verstappen not mounting any major challenges for the top spot.
Daniel Ricciardo, whose future with McLaren has been a major talking point through the weekend, was eliminated in 14th place, despite making a brief appearance in the top 10.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen sporadically poked his nose into the top five at various points throughout Q2, but as the track rubbered up and the times came down Magnussen’s best effort only yielded 13th.
Valtteri Bottas was also surprisingly eliminated from Q2 in 12th.
Eliminated from Q2 were:
11. Yuki Tsunoda
15. Mick Schumacher
Q1 played host to a single on track incident when Tsunoda clipped the barrier on entry to the Nouvelle chicane.
While the sophomore kept his AlphaTauri on course and made his way back to the pits, a marshal promptly displayed the red flag and race control was left with no choice but to halt the session.
With no visible damage to the barrier and no cars stopped on track, it was noted by David Croft and Martin Brundle that a red flag didn’t make all the sense in the world for that situation. Nonetheless, by that point there was nothing to be done but to wait until red flag conditions were lifted.
Both Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu were pushing hard to advance out of Q1 when the red flag came out. Amid the chaos of nearly 20 cars attempting to make their way back on to the track for a last-minute flying lap, neither driver was able to improve their time.
The session clock hit 0:00 with Gasly less than 10 ft. from the finish line, meaning the Frenchman was shockingly retired from Q1.
Eliminated from Q1 were
16. Alex Albon
18. Lance Stroll
19. Nicholas Latifi
The 2022 Monaco Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, May 29, with coverage beginning at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.
The Monaco Grand Prix starting order is:
7. Fernando Alonso
9. Sebastian Vettel
10. Esteban Ocon
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Editor at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also leads the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at the BIED Society, an international think tank in Washington, D.C. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.