Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to Monaco pole, Charles Leclerc out in Q1

Lewis Hamilton in action in Monaco for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position for Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix, while Charles Leclerc suffered a shock early exit.

Hamilton trailed Bottas after the first Q3 runs but put in a breath-taking final effort to clock a time of 1:10.166, despite a wild moment through Rascasse, to edge his team-mate by 0.086s.

It marked Mercedes’ fifth front-row lockout of the campaign and the team’s – and Hamilton’s – first pole position in Monaco since 2015.

Hamilton’s Q3 effort also ended Bottas’ run of three pole positions in a row, with the Finn erring through Portier on his final push effort, prompting him to abandon his lap.

Red Bull’s anticipated challenge failed to materialise as Max Verstappen finished almost half a second in arrears, while Sebastian Vettel was subdued throughout the session.

Vettel twice clipped the barriers, once in Q1 and again at the end of Q3, but it was team-mate Leclerc who was the biggest casualty of the session.

Leclerc led the way through third practice on home soil but a strategic blunder from Ferrari means he will start the race from 16th position.

Leclerc was kept in the garage during the closing stages of Q1 and such was the rate of track improvement that he gradually slid down the order.

He was ultimately shuffled out of the top 15 by team-mate Vettel, who had been in the drop zone in the wake of abandoning an early lap when he brushed the wall exiting Piscine.

A furious Leclerc, speaking to broadcasters in the wake of his early exit, said Ferrari had yet to offer an explanation for why they did not run again.

Pierre Gasly was fifth for Red Bull, while a brilliant Q2 effort proved the platform for Haas’ Kevin Magnussen to lead the midfield battle in sixth.

Daniel Ricciardo, dominant for Red Bull in 2018, was seventh for Renault, while both Toro Rosso drivers made Q3; Daniil Kvyat was eighth, with Alexander Albon at the foot of the top 10.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. maintained his impressive Monaco record by qualifying ninth.

Nico Hulkenberg failed to match team-mate Ricciardo and will start from 11th spot, ahead of McLaren rookie Lando Norris and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.

A furious Grosjean turned the airwaves blue as he vented his frustration at being baulked by Gasly on his hot lap, with stewards investigating the impediment.

Alfa Romeo, which had been top 10 contenders in practice, took only 14th and 15th, with Kimi Raikkonen in front of Antonio Giovinazzi, the latter under investigation for allegedly impeding Hulkenberg in Q1.

Racing Point and Williams, as expected, were never in serious contention to escape Q1, given their respective struggles through practice.

Sergio Perez nonetheless finished within a tenth of Leclerc to take 17th, with team-mate Lance Stroll again suffering an early exit, six-tenths down on the Mexican.

Williams occupied its usual spot at the rear of the field with George Russell leading team-mate Robert Kubica for the sixth straight qualifying session.

Sunday’s 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix is scheduled for 15:10 local time

Monaco - Qualifying Result

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1 Flag   Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Car Icon 1:10.166
2 Flag   Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Car Icon 1:10.252 0.086
3 Flag   Max Verstappen Red Bull Car Icon 1:10.641 0.475
4 Flag   Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Car Icon 1:10.947 0.781
5 Flag   Pierre Gasly Red Bull Car Icon 1:11.041 0.875
6 Flag   Kevin Magnussen Haas Car Icon 1:11.109 0.943
7 Flag   Daniel Ricciardo Renault Car Icon 1:11.218 1.052
8 Flag   Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Car Icon 1:11.271 1.105
9 Flag   Carlos Sainz McLaren Car Icon 1:11.417 1.251
10 Flag   Alexander Albon Toro Rosso Car Icon 1:11.653 1.487
11 Flag   Nico Hulkenberg Renault Car Icon 1:11.670
12 Flag   Lando Norris McLaren Car Icon 1:11.724
13 Flag   Romain Grosjean Haas Car Icon 1:12.027
14 Flag   Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Car Icon 1:12.115
15 Flag   Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Car Icon 1:12.185
16 Flag   Charles Leclerc Ferrari Car Icon 1:12.149
17 Flag   Sergio Perez Racing Point Car Icon 1:12.233
18 Flag   Lance Stroll Racing Point Car Icon 1:12.846
19 Flag   George Russell Williams Car Icon 1:13.477
20 Flag   Robert Kubica Williams Car Icon 1:13.751