5 Formula 1

Max Verstappen starts from pole in Monaco. © ANSA / CHRISTIAN BRUNA

First Monaco pole for Verstappen

Max Verstappen put his car on pole position for the 1rd time in his career in the extremely tense Formula 23 qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Dutchman, for whom it was the first pole in the Principality, left Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin 0,084 seconds behind on Saturday. Third was Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. Verstappen's Red Bull stable rival Sergio Perez crashed in the first qualifying section and has to start from the back. For the Mexican, this is a major setback in the internal battle for the World Cup. The starting position and the correct pit stop strategy are the decisive factors on the street circuit, as overtaking is hardly possible. “It could be a difficult afternoon for him tomorrow,” commented Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen only took pole position with his last attempt, literally driving through the last sector of the track on a knife's edge. "Oh my God! “I hit the wall pretty hard on the straight,” was the two-time world champion’s first reaction in the car. "I am very happy. We knew this weekend would be a bit difficult for us,” he said later. “In the third sector I gave it my all and hit a few obstacles. In terms of racing pace, the car is fast. We just have to keep calm.”

Leclerc dissatisfied

Alonso and Leclerc weren't really happy. “Pole position means a lot here in Monaco, but today Max was a bit quicker. The front row on the grid is still a big deal for us. “We will try to win,” said Alonso aggressively.

Charles Leclerc ended up in third place. © ANSA / CHRISTIAN BRUNA / POOL

“I'm not happy with third place, but we have to look at the situation we're in with the car. I'm struggling a lot with the car,” said the Monegasque Leclerc, who was a tenth of a second slower than Verstappen. “Of course I would have preferred to come first.” His teammate Carlos Sainz came in fifth place behind Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, while Mercedes man Lewis Hamilton was sixth.

© formula 1


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