Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas to Monaco pole, Charles Leclerc out in Q1
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
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:10.641||0.475|
|5||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||1:11.041||0.875|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:11.271||1.105|
|10||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||1:11.653||1.487|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:12.115|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:12.185|
|17||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:12.233|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:12.846|