Dominant Leclerc claims Monaco GP pole with Sainz and Perez crashing

Charles Leclerc is unrivalled on Saturdays this Formula 1 season. At home, in front of his home crowd, he took another uncontested pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix, his fifth in the seven Saturdays this year.

Carlos Sainz will start second and Fernando Alonso seventh, after a great session in which he took risks early on and ended up crashing later in the day.

The big loser of the day was Max Verstappen, who will start fourth and behind Checo Perez, whose final accident did not allow the Dutchman to capitalise.

Two late accidents

Qualifying ended a few seconds before the chequered flag came down, as Checo went wide at Portier before the tunnel and hit the barrier, while Sainz touched him slightly.

Verstappen came from behind and was blocked and desperate. Pole position went to Leclerc, who had been improving with every attempt.

Alonso into the fence

Further back, Fernando Alonso, a few moments later, also had an accident.

He was not going to improve in any case, as ahead of him there was already the plug that forced the red flag. This time, Esteban Ocon did not have luck on his side and was 10th and last in Q3. Lewis Hamilton was also behind the Spaniard, eighth on the grid.

Before that, Alonso put in one of the best laps of his life in the Principality, placing fifth behind the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers at his first attempt, which was good enough for him to be in contention for very good points on Sunday.

2022 Monaco Grand Prix Starting Grid

1. C. Leclerc – Ferrari – 1’11″376 24

2. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – 1’11″601 25

3. S. Perez – Red Bull – 1’11″629 25

4. M. Verstappen – Red Bull – 1’11″666 25

5. L. Norris – McLaren – 1’11″849 27

6. G. Russell – Mercedes – 1’12″112 27

7. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – 1’12″247 22

8. L. Hamilton – Mercedes – 1’12″560 29

9. S. Vettel – Aston Martin – 1’12″732 28

10. E. Ocon – Alpine – 1’13″047 22

11. Y. Tsunoda – AlphaTauri – 1’12″797 20

12. V. Bottas – Alfa Romeo – 1’12″909 17

13. K. Magnussen – Haas – 1’12″921 20

14. M. Schumacher – Haas – 1’13″081 17

15. A. Albon – Williams – 1’13″626 14

16. P. Gasly – AlphaTauri – 1’13″660 10

17. L. Stroll – Aston Martin – 1’13″678 11

18. N. Latifi – Williams – 1’14″570 13

19. G. Zhou – Alfa Romeo – 1’15″606 9

Sainz came third in Q2; Alonso, just shy of 10th

Q2 was very straightforward for Ferrari, with Leclerc first and Sainz third behind Perez, but it was agonising for Alonso.

The Spaniard was sixth before the last set of laps, but he couldn’t improve in the second set and almost crashed, as he qualified 10th to enter the top 10.

Valtteri Bottas was not able to keep up with him in the end. Verstappen remained behind Perez, as he had been for most of the weekend.

Sainz moved up to second in Q1, Alonso 12th

Ferrari were four 10ths clear of Red Bull in the first heat, with Sainz just 0.044 behind Leclerc.

Alonso was seventh when a red flag for Tsunoda (for breaking a tyre), with 2:22 to go, caused panic. In the end, the Spaniard, with the same set of tyres used, was able to pass.