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MONACO GP – Lewis Hamilton takes pole as Ferrari’s ‘casino’ puts Charles Leclerc out in Q1

Lewis Hamilton has beaten his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to take pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix. The Englishman was eight-hundredths of a second faster than his teammate, who struggled with traffic leaving him unable to fight back for pole.

Mercedes looked unbeatable following a disastrous afternoon for Ferrari, the Italian team appeared not to be able to stop the Mercedes. The German manufacturer hooked it up and outpaced the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Bottas took provisional pole early on, but that was before Hamilton pushed the car to the limit as he almost crashed into the wall at Rascasse and stole pole.

This had been billed as another key race for Ferrari, but all weekend they have been battling with Red Bull. Verstappen appearing to be more comfortable outpacing the four-time champion by almost a tenth.

Vettel was lucky, he avoided his second accident of the day clipping the wall exiting Tabac leaving him fourth. The German also having to drag himself out of Q1, but at the expense of teammate Charles Leclerc.

Pierre Gasly was fifth, but impeding the Haas of Romain Grosjean sees the Red Bull driver drop to eight. The Red Bull driver was eight tenths off Hamilton’s outright pace. The incident left Grosjean unable to improve and saw him knocked out in Q2.

Hamilton said, “I love it here. It’s my home. this is the race every driver dreams of. We’ve arrived with a great car, a great battle with Valtteri. He has been quick all weekend. The desire and the will to get this pole, it means so much to me.”

Verstappen added “Yeah they were a bit quick. My lap in Q2 was quick but I lost it a bit, in turn one in my lap on Q3. It was a reasonable lap. I didn’t do many qualifying here so I am of course happy to be third.”

Kevin Magnussen was best of the rest in sixth place and was the only driver outside the top three teams to still have enough tyres for two runs using fresh Pirelli softs.

Ferrari’s problems started much earlier in the session; Vettel was almost out in Q1 after he struggled to get a lap together. He put a lap in late, while the team believed Leclerc was safe, they were wrong. The track began to improve.

Leclerc was safe, but Ferrari needed to send him back out as the track improved. But the Monacan missed the weighbridge when he returned after his run, although was pushed back by the Ferrari team before entering the garage and confirmed he had enough fuel and time to have completed a second run after the time lost to this.

He starts his home race sixteenth, telling reporters, “I asked whether they were sure [he was safe]. They told me ‘we think we are’. I said, ‘shouldn’t we go out again?’ But yeah, there was no real answer. I think they thought we would go… I don’t know. I didn’t have any explanations yet in detail. Very difficult one to take.”

Daniel Ricciardo had his best qualifying of the year, last years race winner starts seventh, the Australian half a tenth quicker than former teammate Daniil Kvyat, who was eighth.

Carlos Sainz was ninth ahead of Alex Albon who made it into Q3 for the first time in his F1 career, he had to settle for tenth and 1.487 off the pace.

Nico Hulkenberg was pushed out by Magnussen, despite him struggled on his first run after locking up and clipping the inside wall at Mirabeau, improved.

That put him ahead of the second McLaren of Lando Norris, the Bristolian half a tenth off. Norris complained about traffic over the radio at the end of the session after being impeded by Gasly.

Alfa Romeo pairing Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were fourteenth and fifteenth respectively, with just 0.070s separating the pair. However, the Italian has been given a three a three-place grid penalty, after he blocked Hulkenberg at the beginning of Q1 at Rascasse.

Those other Q1 drivers were less surprising, Racing Point had struggled to unlock pace all weekend with both Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll being knocked out. While Williams remains on the back row, George Russell almost four tenths ahead of teammate Robert Kubica.

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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