Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2019

Hamilton takes pole from Bottas as Ferrari error leaves Leclerc 16th

2019 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix but an error by Ferrari saw Charles Leclerc go out in Q1.


Having narrowly escaped collecting a grid penalty in practice, Charles Leclerc might have though he’d has his brush with misfortune for the weekend. But that proved not to be the case, as the Ferrari driver was sensationally eliminated in the first phase of qualifying.

To begin with it seemed his team mate was at greater risk of failing to make the cut. Sebastian Vettel failed to set a quick enough time initially, then had a brush with the barrier which sent him into the pits with little more than three minutes remaining.

“We need to go, fire up” Vettel’s engineer called on the radio. He made it around to the start/finish line with five seconds to spare, but had already fallen to 17th place. he needed a clean lap – and he got it, leaping into the safety zone.

But it came at the expense of his team mate. Leclerc had also gradually slipped down the order as the improving track conditions helped the midfield drivers find more time. Leclerc fell into the drop zone.

He joined the Williams duo and the Racing Point pair who, unlike Leclerc, had looked likely to fall in Q1 since the race weekend began.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’12.149
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1’12.233
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1’12.846
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1’13.477
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1’13.751

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After the drama of Q1, Q2 proceeded along more familiar lines. However a few drivers marked themselves out with excellent laps to bag places in the final 10.

They included Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Kevin Magnussen, each of which left their team mates behind. In Romain Grosjean’s case, he had cause for complaint after being held up by Pierre Gasly.

The two Alfa Romeo drivers also went no further. Kimi Raikkonen, who out-qualified Antonio Giovinazzi again, remarked he had no grip as he headed back to the pits.

Lando Norris briefly grabbed a place in Q3 with 11th, but was knocked back as other drivers improved. His team mate Sainz claimed the final place at the expense of Nico Hulkenberg by less than a tenth of a second.

Ahead of Q3 Max Verstappen signalled his intention by grabbing the fastest time of the session, lowering the track record to 1’10.618.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’11.670
12 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1’11.724
13 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’12.027
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’12.115
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’12.185

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Once Q3 began it quickly became clear Verstappen’s Thursday prediction that the Mercedes would be too quick for Red Bull was spot-on. Bottas unleashed a new record-beating lap of 1’10.252 which put him ahead.

Verstappen couldn’t get close to that and Hamilton couldn’t beat it on his first run either, ending up two-tenths of a second shy of his team mate.

However the balance of power swung in the final laps. Hamilton got a clear run, and edged pole back from Bottas by less than a tenth of a second. But his team mate was unhappy, complaining about traffic on the radio.

Bottas was still yet to complete his final run, but after a disappointing start to the lap he headed for the pits, ensuring pole position for Hamilton. Verstappen also aborted his last attempt at a time after his out-lap was disrupted by Ricciardo, who was doing multiple consecutive runs in his Renault.

Magnussen, who’d had to change his front wing due to damage earlier in the session, completed an excellent afternoon by grabbing sixth. Ricciardo claimed seventh ahead of the Toro Rosso pair, who were split by Sainz.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’10.166
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’10.252
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1’10.641
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’10.947
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1’11.041
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’11.109
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1’11.218
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1’11.271
9 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren-Renault 1’11.417
10 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1’11.653

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2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Hamilton takes pole from Bottas as Ferrari error leaves Leclerc 16th”

  1. Ferrari will not win a race this year.

    1. I think they will be strong in Spa and Monza.

      1. Strong but they will manage to screw it up as per usual.

    2. what about the Mercedes front suspension ? is them regular ? it seems to me that they can make coners like on an elevated road. See the video: https://www.f1sport.it/2019/05/f1-sospensione-mercedes-efficace-sara-legale/

      1. are them regular ?

  2. Leclerc the latest victim of the fails in Ferrari. Who’s next?

    1. Probably Leclerc at the next race.

    2. Leclerc didn’t put in a banker lap… two out two times, Ferrari gambled wrong with a possible third attempt.
      The wrong race to gamble, guess the casino close by tempted them to much…?

      1. You clearly don’t know what a banker is.

  3. Go Lewis go

    1. DAllein (@)
      25th May 2019, 15:58

      I was telling it during all his runs)))
      And especially on his last run, when the first sector turned purple!

      Looks like it worked!

  4. Hamilton demonstrating an incredible effort of will power. This isn’t his best track for poles, yet he managed to turn things around in Q3, he didn’t fold under the preassure.

    Another stupendous lap, which shows what he is capable of when his car is turned up to Max. Let’s hope there are no slips at the start, or in the pits.

    1. …incredible effort of will power.

      …turned up to Max

      I see what you did there ;)

    2. That lap was brilliant. I thought he’d blown it at the rascasse right at the end, the car looked very ragged there, but like Hamilton says, like taming a bull!

    3. Must be such a heroic effort to only have to beat your teammate…

      1. And the other 19 cars.

  5. After 23 years of following F1 and normally seeing Ferrari as the ‘rival’, I’m actually starting to pity them. You’d only get this amount of cringe from a Sacha Baron Cohen film…

    1. Ferrari might actually improve if they hire Claire Williams to manage the team.

      1. @greenflag LOL, good one.

  6. Boy that midfield battle was tight! Impossible to predict who was ending up where as McLaren, Renault, HAAS and Torro Rosso all had their moments.

    Got a sneaking suspicion tomorrow’s race will be eventful… Here’s to hoping!

    1. The F2 ‘sprint’ race is incident packed and it is only at lap 12 of 30…

  7. Quite a boring qualifying session. We knew it was going to be a Mercedes on pole right from Q1. Surprised that Hamilton took pole despite fluffing his S3 on his pole run. I guess that’s the degree of advantage Mercedes has over the rest of the field.

    If it wasn’t for some humorous moments provided by Ferrari’s pitwall… This qualifying session was a proper snooze fest.

    1. DAllein (@)
      25th May 2019, 16:00

      It is not clear what exactly bored you, the action was really exciting. Much more than on some other tracks.

      1. Completely agree. That was a great qualy session.
        I’m a big Lewis fan but I continually doubt he will pull it around on difficult days like this. I shouldve learned by now that in situations like today, where it looked like it was out of the fight, he is peerless. This is a true champions attribute. He is beatable but his relentless persistence in pursuit of that pole/win is what marks him above all others in the field. I won’t doubt you again Lewis… until next time😉

        1. Have to agree that it was good, Ferrari provided cringe /comedy of errors moment we have come to fear but expect a bit, midfield was again very close. Pole, I predicted HAM, but thought all the way through I should have left my initial prediction, which had Bottas on pole. Then my phone died (at family gathering, so not time, place to do more than listen). Only hours later I realized HAM did get pole in the end.

  8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    25th May 2019, 15:43

    The problem with this is that the midfield is really interesting and quite exciting – it seems to change very frequently, Williams aside. But the front is so painfully predictable. The only interesting thing this year is watching how bad Ferrari can shoot themselves in the foot.

  9. If Hamilton doesn’t completely mess up the start, it’s up to Bottas to minimalize the loss, grab the point for the fastest lap and prepare for the next round where he should beat Hamilton if he wants to fight for title. His lap was fantastic, too, and he only lost in the third sector where Hamilton topped him in spite of making a significant correction. Hope we’ll get some unexpected excitement tomorrow and the top 5 will change.

  10. Great qualifying, it really felt like the cars and drivers were at the limits this time. Hopefully the race isn’t back to the tyre preservation comedy of last year!

    1. DAllein (@)
      25th May 2019, 15:56

      Maybe you mistake last year’s race with something else?

      Just to remind – last year Ricciardo lost half of his engine and was defending his P1 like some super human, he was going slow not because of the tyres.

      1. Not Ricciardo, he drove brilliantly to defend, but the other drivers, many of whom complained they were basically dawdling round the track.

      2. Eh before his engine went ricciardo was driving slow to look after the tyres. If you dont believe me go watch the race. They were going so slow so they only had to do 1 pit stop.

        1. @david-br has a short memory … I actually watched a re-run of that race on Fox Sports yesterday between P3 and Quali and Daniel did drive a steady race at the start and then drove a masterful race once he hit engine problems.

          1. Err… I wrote Ricciardo drove brilliantly, my point had nothing to do with him but with the overall race. Keith’s report here last year was ‘Tedium on Sunday’. Everyone was on a one stop strategy and driving slow to preserve tyres to make it work. Maybe I’m living in a parallel world, everyone now seems to think it was amazing! Ricciardo fans?

    2. For anyone that says these drivers have it easy…Today is proof you are wrong. They were really earning their wage today (or not). Lewis in particular was really having to wrestle that car. We wanted drivers to have to really control their cars and we have it.

      1. I don’t often get alarmed watching the onboards, but today’s were, well, scary. On the final runs alone, Lewis’s car was twitching towards the end, just saving it, and Vettel struck the barriers. All pushing for that maximum time and Hamilton beating the track record in the process. Not sure what else you can ask for. It’s not like almost all other tracks where ever faster lap times can be made relatively safely. At Monaco it means you’re ever closer to the barriers, losing the breaking or adherence point etc.

  11. Worst track for Ferrari to gamble on staying in. What would they lose, a set of tires which maybe they could have saved in Q2 with a single, very clean run? They really need new people in charge of strategy.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      25th May 2019, 16:33

      @gechichan They simply need to learn that they have two cars and that the #2 car also deserves some attention.

      1. The problem is that they keep giving the #2 car all the attention and ignore Leclerc.

        1. Ba dum tish…

  12. Hats off to Verstappen, too, he deserves all the credit. If it wasn’t for the both Mercedes’, he would be the star of the session. And let’s not forget Vettel. He’s getting slammed a great time by the haters, but all of his recent mistakes are down to the complete devotion to the car. You cannot simply drag it higher up and he’s trying to make a difference. He would deserve far more more criticism if he wasn’t trying to.

  13. Another borefest tommorow is expected)

  14. DAllein (@)
    25th May 2019, 15:54

    Who is Ferrari’s main strategist?

    I mean he\she possible can’t be totally new to F1, but I don’t remember such long chain of bad decisions in a single team in any previous season…
    Or did they employ some innovative “AI”-based Computer Strategist (it is fashionable in our days to call algorithms an AI, and try to rely 100% on them, even though they are not that reliable or trustworthy).

    1. @dallein An excellent question.

    2. Whoever that person is, (s)he will not find it easy to get a job with any other F1 team.

    3. Inaki Rueda is definitely not new to Ferrari or F1, he’s been there for 5 or 6 years in charge of Strategy. So, yeah, he should probably let someone else give it a try, can’t get lower that this.

      1. He should move to Williams. Results will improve at both teams.

    4. I dont know why the strategist is getting all the blame. Youd think his race engineers would be paying attention to the lap times. As soon as 1 of the haas cars did 1.11.8 youd think they would realise they were in trouble.

    5. Sebastian Vettel?

  15. Well FIA didnt penalize Charles but Ferrari did. End of Q1 with both Ferrari drivers struggling to make Q2 was unbelievable.

  16. Just saw the highlights posted by F1 on youtube and Gasly not only impeded Grosjean but looks like he brake tested the fast approaching car. I hope he gets a grid drop again for nearly casuing a major accident.

    1. Surely nailed on penalties for Gasly and Giovinazzi. Is the standard going rate 3 places for impeding?

      Brain fade for Gasly. Very dangerous

      1. He did impede Grosjean twice on same lap(if I remember correctly 2nd time into Rascasse) and given how that weighbridge penalty has set a precedent lets hope a stingent penalty is dished out to set a precedent again.

  17. I was disappointed by the TV director today. 3 minutes watching a Ferrari, a Red Bull and two Mercedes sat in the pits looking at telemetry…
    Meanwhile laps for Ric, Mag And Kvyat wete completely ignored! Its Monaco, I wanna see track action!

    Also credit where its due to Kvyat. Out qualified Albon again, yet its Albon who was getting Croft and Brundle’s adulation throughout.

    1. This season Kvyat has been really impressive(barring the opening lap incident in China), that time off from F1 really helped him setting his head in right frame.

    2. @eurobrun I couldn’t agree more with you. I noticed the same thing in Q3 as well.

    3. Monaco production is always terrible. For some reason, they keep getting to have their own production company (every other race is produced by FOM) , and they always suck.

      Besides getting having no sense of what is going on , they also reallllllllly like to linger on the ad billboards.

    4. Croft, Brindle , etc need to get their heads out of the British clouds.. Their poor attitude was obvious even in the last race when Kvyat made a great overtake and Croft, thinking it was Albon, was praising him to the skies. When he realised it was Kvyat, there was just a fumble and the move was not worth eulogosing any more

  18. Us Ferrari fans: our bad run is behind us now. Things will get better from now onwards.

    Scuderia Ferrari Team: Hold my beer.

  19. Could Leclerc have beaten Verstappen to third? The Mercedes look way too ahead, obviously, but he’d probably have beaten Vettel’s time. What a mess up.

  20. And 4 Honda’s in the top ten Or Q3 also very good!

  21. are the Mercedes front suspensions regular ? see the video and see how much the internal suspension let it lower https://www.f1sport.it/2019/05/f1-sospensione-mercedes-efficace-sara-legale/

    1. Yes, yes Mauro. We get it. You’re hoping the Merc suspension is illegal. That’s the 3rd time I’ve seen you post this link and I’m the only person to respond to you. The fact this is an Italian report says it all really as this hasn’t been raised anywhere else. Nothing to see here.

  22. Looks like a good opportunity to get some sleep then.

  23. Roll on 2021…

Comments are closed.