Max Verstappen, for the first time in his career, is in Pole Position for the Monaco Grand Prix. The reigning world champion beat Alonso in his last attempt, with Leclerc’s P3 for Ferrari at risk after a lack of communication saw the Monegasque block Lando Norris in the tunnel in Q3.
Very good session for Alpine and McLaren, as could be expected, with both teams performing very well today:
Norris finished the session in tenth position, ahead of Piastri in eleventh, while the two Frenchmen finished well within the top ten.
The top 10 were as follows: Verstappen, Alonso, Leclerc, Ocon, Sainz, Hamilton, Gasly, Russell, Tsunoda and Norris. Yuki Tsunoda did very well with the Alpha Tauri, once again impressing in a car that likely needs more pace to be in Q3 consistently.
Qualifying: Verstappen takes Pole in S3, Aston does very well in the first two sectors but then suffers
Red Bull was strong in the first sector all weekend, but in Q3, the RB19 seemed to have shut down in one of the sections where it made the difference.
Verstappen lost a significant tenth from Alonso in the first 18 seconds and another half-tenth in the middle sector before gaining three-tenths of a second on the AMR23 number 14 in the final meters of the lap, perhaps also thanks to better tyre management during the lap.
Ferrari has improved (a lot) compared to FP3. Still, the SF-23 never really seemed to be fighting for Pole Position: a good lap by Leclerc, especially in the first sector where the home driver has often made the difference, momentarily put him in third position.
However, the result is not certain: the Monegasque slowed down Norris’ McLaren during the Englishman’s fast lap in the tunnel area and risks receiving a penalty from the marshals.
The first twist, with the accompanying red flag, came a few minutes after the start of the session. After a good third free practice session, Sergio Perez walled his RB19 at Sainte Devote, and for the first time, the bottom of the Milton Keynes car is seen.
Alongside the Mexican, who will start from the last row, the two Haas, Guanyu Zhou and Logan Sargeant were out in Q1.
The victim in Q2 was Lando Norris: the McLaren driver got too close to the left wall at the exit of the Porto Chicane, damaging the suspension of his MCL60, but managed to take part in Q3 and Qualifying in 10th.
The excluded drivers eliminated were Oscar Piastri, Alex Albon, Lance Stroll, Nyck de Vries and Valtteri Bottas.
A disappointing session for the two Ferrari-powered teams: Haas has always shown itself to be in trouble this weekend, and neither Hulkenberg nor Magnussen managed to advance in Q2.
On the other hand, Alfa Romeo arrived in Monaco with more expectations, also fueled by the updates to the bodywork and underbody which made their debut this weekend.
Author: Andrea Vergani
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang