Monaco GP 2024

MAY 25, 2024

Qualifying Report - Leclerc shines on pole

Charles Leclerc, Monaco GP 2024
© Ferrari

Charles Leclerc dazzled in the streets of Monaco, securing a crucial pole position ahead of the highly anticipated Monaco Grand Prix. The Monegasque driver displayed exceptional skill and composure throughout the Friday and Saturday sessions, culminating in a stunning lap time of 1m10.270s. This impressive performance placed him just a tenth of a second shy of Lewis Hamilton's record pole time set in 2019.

Leclerc's delight was palpable as he reflected on his performance. "It was nice, the feeling after a qualifying lap is always very special here," he remarked. "I'm really happy about the lap. Qualifying is not everything, as much as it helps Sunday's race we need to put it all together tomorrow. I need a good launch and when we do that, hopefully Carlos [Sainz] can follow me and put us in a 1-2. If we are 1-2 we can control the race."

McLaren's Oscar Piastri emerged as Leclerc's closest rival, delivering a stellar performance to secure second place. The young Australian driver ran the Ferrari driver close, showcasing his growing confidence and skill in the top tier of motorsport. However, he fell just short of beating Leclerc in the battle for pole, setting the stage for an exciting race.

Max Verstappen, the current championship leader, faced a challenging weekend in Monaco. The Red Bull driver struggled with the handling of his car, particularly in the final two sectors of the track. His troubles culminated in the opening sector of his final lap, where he narrowly avoided a collision with the Sainte Devote exit barrier. This incident forced Verstappen to abort his lap, leading to a disappointing drop down the order.

Carlos Sainz, Leclerc's Ferrari teammate, secured third place, ensuring a strong presence for Ferrari at the front of the grid. Lando Norris, recovering from a difficult start in Q1, qualified in fourth place for McLaren. George Russell outqualified Verstappen, securing fifth place for Mercedes, while Lewis Hamilton settled for seventh, unable to leapfrog the Dutch driver.

Yuki Tsunoda continued to impress with a solid performance, securing eighth place for the RB-Honda team. Alex Albon, driving for Williams, managed to claim ninth position by running off-sequence in Q3. Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten for Alpine, thanks to a late lap that knocked his teammate Esteban Ocon out of the top ten shoot-out.

Ocon's elimination in Q2 was a significant moment, as he joined a group of drivers, including Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, and Kevin Magnussen, who failed to make it into the final qualifying session. Hulkenberg and Magnussen, driving for Haas, struggled to find the pace needed to advance.

The most notable eliminations in Q1 were Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. Alonso, who came close to securing pole in Monaco last year, found himself in a difficult position. His final lap initially placed him 13th, but he slipped down the order as other drivers improved their times. The Aston Martin driver ultimately ended up in 16th place. Perez, on the other hand, endured a tough session, spending most of it towards the back of the order. Despite his best efforts, the Red Bull driver could not climb out of the drop zone and finished 18th.

Logan Sargeant of Williams separated Alonso and Perez, while the Sauber duo of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu rounded out the order, struggling to find competitive lap times.

As the drivers prepare for Sunday's race, all eyes will be on Leclerc and Ferrari. With a front-row lockout within reach, the Scuderia will aim to capitalize on their strong qualifying performance and convert it into a dominant race result in the prestigious streets of Monaco.