Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Monaco, 2021

Leclerc on pole after crashing on final lap in Monaco

2021 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

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Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix despite crashing on his final attempt to improve his lap time.

The Ferrari driver hit the barriers at the Swimming Pool complex at the end of Q3. He was already leading the session when the crash happened, and with no time left to restart the session, Leclerc was confirmed on his first pole position since 2019.

He will share the front row of the grid with Max Verstappen. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton qualified a lowly seventh.


Mick Schumacher’s impact with the barriers at Casino at the end of final practice ruled him out of qualifying. With one Haas driver already guaranteed to go out in Q1, the opening laps decided which other four drivers would join him.

Both Williams drivers were in the lower reaches of the times after their first runs. Nicholas Latifi efforts weren’t helped when he was held up on his way into the pits by Yuki Tsunoda, who didn’t realise he was being called to the weigh bridge until his team alerted him, and he had to be pushed back, delaying the Williams. Latifi was fortunate to be participating in the session at all, having also damaged his car in a crash during final practice.

Grip levels improved quickly as 19 cars circulated closely, laying rubber and cleaning the track surface. Unexpectedly, Lando Norris got in among the Mercedes, Ferraris and Red Bulls swapping the fastest times.

Valtteri Bottas set the pace, being the first driver to lap the track in under 71 seconds. But there were three different cars behind him: Verstappen’s Red Bull, Leclerc’s Ferrari and Norris in the blue and orange McLaren.

The Alpine drivers were struggling with understeer. Fernando Alonso was in the drop zone when he began his last run and only made it as far as 17th.

He went out along with the four other rookies. Tsunoda ahead kept his thoughts to himself as his race engineer confirmed he’d missed the cut for Q2 by just two hundredths of a second.

Alonso will share the ninth row of the grid with Latifi, who was a tenth of a second slower than him. George Russell continued his run of Q2 appearances, beating his team mate by three-tenths.

Nikita Mazepin was over half a second further back, meaning he will share the back row of the grid with his team mate, assuming Schumacher is allowed to start.

The last driver to make the cut was Sebastian Vettel, who gambled on not taking a new set of soft tyres, and just barely got away with it.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’12.096
17Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’12.205
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’12.366
19Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’12.958

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With no one wanting the disadvantage of doing a standing start on medium tyres, everyone ran on softs in Q2.

The Ferrari pair were quick again and Sainz, showing his usual verve in Monaco, initially outpaced Leclerc, by a tenth of a second. Verstappen had the pair covered, however, with a barrier-skimming effort which put him top with a lap of 1’10.650.

The Mercedes pair were bumped back to fifth and sixth – Bottas ahead of Hamilton again – by Norris. But as the final laps began his McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo was at risk, holding onto the final place in the top 10.

“We’re looking for incremental gains this lap,” race engineer Tom Stallard advised him as he began his final effort. He had to slow to let Hamilton through before beginning it and fell short with his last effort, ending up 12th. “You’ve made good progress,” Stallard encouraged. “I don’t have much of an answer at the moment,” Ricciardo admitted.

Antonio Giovinazzi took advantage, bagging the final place in Q3 by less than a tenth of a second from Ocon, as neither Alpine reached the final 10. “That’s all there was guys,” said Ocon.

Lance Stroll got no further either, but Vettel took his Aston Martin into the pole position shoot-out. Kimi Raikkonen was left behind by his team mate. George Russell also went no further, his strategy of holding back at the start of the session to avoid traffic not paying off.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’11.486
12Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’11.598
13Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’11.600
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’11.642
15George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’11.830

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[/CBC][CBC show="y" country="uk"][/CBC]Verstappen laid down the first marker in Q3 with a 1’10.576, which Bottas immediately got within six tenths of a second of. Leclerc had more in hand, however, and banged in a 1’10.346 to provisionally take pole position.

Norris’ first effort was scuppered as he caught Sergio Perez at the end of his lap. The Red Bull driver in turn pointed the finger at Lewis Hamilton. Norris moved up to fifth with his last effort, with the second Ferrari of Sainz separating him from the lead trio.

Hamilton lay only seventh after his first run, out-paced by the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, along with the others. The Mercedes driver asked for three timed laps for his final run in a bid to avoid a front-row start.

He didn’t get them – indeed, very few drivers were able to complete their final runs. A fully-committed Leclerc swiped the barrier at the inside of the right-hander leading past the Swimming Pool, breaking his steering, sending him over kerbs and firmly into the barrier at the exit of the corner.

That brought the session to a conclusion, with no change in the leading positions. Hamilton had clipped the barrier moments earlier and aborted his last run, leaving him seventh on the grid.

Top ten in Q3

1Charles LeclercFerrari1’10.346
2Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’10.576
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’10.601
4Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’10.611
5Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’10.620
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’10.900
7Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.095
8Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’11.419
9Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’11.573
10Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’11.779

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2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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    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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    182 comments on “Leclerc on pole after crashing on final lap in Monaco”

    1. What a session! I don’t even know where to start. Such a shame we were robbed of the climax of the Charles vs Max shootout. Carlos and Valtteri were in the mix as well. I kept waiting for Lewis to pull a rabbit out of the hat like he always does but he was just uncharacteristically slow today.

      This was clearly not Charles pulling a Schumacher, now the big question will he actually start P1..

      1. This was great indeed. 7 different cars in the top 10. Finally close. Pity Leclerc lost it there. Would have loved to see his time and Max time in that final lap.

      2. Davethechicken
        22nd May 2021, 18:36

        Agreed JL. Great to see Ferrari back up there. Shame Leclerc binned it. Seb had decent run too- Great to see. Perez nowhere- once again isn’t able to perform at the sharp end of the grid. His signing by RBR as a clear number 2 driver is back firing, given his lack of any great track record before. They don’t want two alpha drivers and are paying the price with the second car.
        Hamilton AWOL, OK by Bottas, Max where a RBR should be. Morris looks a fine talent.

        1. Tomorrow starring in the role of Perez for RB (where he should have been): Gasly

    2. In the most important qualfiying session of the year, Hamilton has disappeared. It’s just one race, but it seems really odd.

      1. He was certainly trounced by Bottas.

        1. Is there even a point here setting the car for the race? Even if you’re 7 seconds slower, you can probably still defend your position. I’d be massively surprised if Mercedes decided to go for race performance. But based on the cameras, it really looked like he had no grip or the car was just not under him.

      2. Mercedes decided to do a last-minute setup change, looks like it really negatively affected Lewis.

        Sure, we don’t know how fast he could be without changes, but it is what it is. Let’s hope tomorrow is better

        1. Where’s your source for this? I’m not denying it but it sounds a very high risk strategy from Mercedes to do a last minute change!

          1. Ted on Sky reported them doing a last minute change, at least on Bottas’s car.

      3. It’s Monaco. Not very representative for the rest of the season.

      4. @krichelle Building a narrative of Lewis failure on one qualifying session seems a bit, well, doomed to failure. I’d guess he didn’t like the setup, a lot of oversteer, and was wary of over-driving and binning the car. Indeed he came close I think (maybe touching the barriers at one point). Bottas was impressive though. Pity he and Max didn’t get to do their final run. And Sainz.

        1. Yea, you’re right @david-br I guess he also does not like Monaco, or does not do well here…

          1. @krichelle, relatively speaking, I think you’re right. Not really a Hamilton track. Especially compared to someone like Senna say. You’d have to compare their driving styles to determine why.

            1. @david-br
              The thing is Hamilton do have something similar with Ayrton with regard to their driving styles. Both are late brakers and do apply so much pressure on the brakes. Hamilton used to have a higher brake pressure than Rosberg, Button, Kovalainen and even Alonso.
              Ayrton on the other hand do have the unique throttle stabbing technique in the middle of the corners which made him quite unique. Both are exceptionally good in wet conditions, though Ayrton for me personally was the ultimate rain master.

            2. @tifoso1989 As I posted below, Hamilton’s first two Monaco wins were in wet (drying) conditions and incident-filled races. My guess too is that Ayrton’s throttle style (no longer possible in today cars?) gave him a lot of extra speed at Monaco. It’s fascinating that Senna was initially hopeless in the rain but practiced and practiced and practiced until he became supreme in wet conditions (São Paulo gets a lot of rain which helps). Hamilton’s best talent is his ability to balance the car, which allows him to keep the car planted evenly, even after heavy braking as you point out. (Peter Windsor incidentally has pointed out how early a breaker Max Verstappen is by comparison, which really confirms the idea that Formula 1 speed is ultimately about balance, maintaining corner momentum, and squeezing acceleration perfectly than braking hard and flooring the throttle.) I’d like to see this all analyzed more though. Much more interesting than the usual ‘X can’t take the pressure’ analyses.

            3. My guess too is that Ayrton’s throttle style (no longer possible in today cars?) gave him a lot of extra speed at Monaco.

              Ayrton developed his throttle stabbing technique in Karting because he wanted his engine to be high revving at the exit of the corner to in order to shift quicker for the next gear and gain time in acceleration. Then Lotus engineers optimized the exhaust blown diffuser effect which was already developed back then because they realised that it will work wonderfully with Ayrton’s driving style.

              Another trick Ayrton developed at Lotus is that in qualifying he usually uses the boost pressure out of the corners instead of the throttle to help maintain his tyres alive throughout all the lap.

              In 2010 Mark Webber was genuinely faster than Vettel on pure pace in some races in the first part of the season because he was able to extract the maximum out of the RBR exhaust blown diffuser by maximising the time on open throttle with his driving technique though it was not as extreme as Ayrton. However, RBR introduced a software tweak at Valencia that retarded the ignition off-throttle which helped to maintain the downforce even under breaking. That particular upgrade neutralised Webber’s advantage and amplified Vettel’s counter intuitive driving style.

              Another thing about Hamilton is that everyone can brake as late as they can in a Formula 1 car, the thing is Hamilton has a golden right foot. When a F1 car brakes it looses momentum as a part of downforce loss, when the braking process terminates and the car become alive again, Hamilton is very reactive in a sense that can detect the exact moment where the downforce is back and he applies the throttle straightaway as a result. That’s why his technique is functional throughout different tyre behaviours , weather conditions, grip levels…

          2. Yep, just the three wins here. Pathetic!

      5. Not only that but in the track where driver matters most. Well, it happens when the car isn’t there. I’m sure his cult will diminish that.

        1. Already happening above, but it doesn’t mean Lewis is a bad driver, everyone makes mistakes. He got away once in Imola but here he is just not fast enough. But it does makes the championship interesting until lady luck strikes again.

        2. What about Verstappen? He’s had a race winning car many times at Monaco and not one podium!

        3. @niefer rather amusing that you denounce others for exactly the same sort of behaviour that you engage in yourself…

          Asides from that, even some of Max’s fans here have pointed out that you could arguably diminish Verstappen’s reputation by a similar degree, given his record at Monaco is also not that great either. He’s had two DNFs due to crashes, with a third race disrupted by crashing in practice and being unable to run in qualifying – meanwhile, his best finishing result is a solitary 4th place.

          I get the impression though that, whilst your real purpose is to act maliciously by stirring up unwelcome trouble and strife, you think it safer to try and provoke trouble by deliberately seeking to aggravate Hamilton’s fans than by trying to seek trouble with Verstappen’s fans.

          1. He can’t take a chill pill.

      6. After what he had to say earlier about a F1 being a bilionares club, its not surprising the prince would not want to see this knight at the top.

        There again with the exception of Bottas this could be the last hurah of the ‘flexible wings’. I can imagine Ferrari having a special wing made to take advantage of this loop hole whilst it last.

        Lets see if they continue to ‘perform’ with the new regulations in place.

        1. This also justfies Ferrari seriously tinkering with the car’s race / qualfying settings. which may or may not have been legal for qualfying.

      7. I am in no way a Lewis fan, but this is extremely unfair. He usually does quite well under pressure. Like him or not, he’s a very good racing driver.

        1. I am a Lewis and Mercedes fan, but it’s just super odd. I really have the feeling he does not do well at this track compared to other tracks.

          1. @krichelle That is a different debate entirely though. I have a bad memory for this sort of thing, but it does seem to me that Monaco is not his favorite track as well.

            1. @j-l No it isn’t under normal conditions. He won in 2008 (wet race) then in 2016 (wet race) and finally in 2019 in an all-dry race after what he described as one of the toughest polls he’d won (he indeed looked exhausted and emotionally drained after qualifying) and barely held of Max at the end – though Verstappen got a 5-second penalty anyhow.

    3. Leclerc crashed on purpose, he didn’t even steer away from the barrier. There’s no chance driver of his caliber, one of the most talented and the fastest on the grid, would misjudge a corner by that much. There, I said it and I stick with it.

      1. He broke the steering clipping the inside, jersey just like Verstappen did a couple of years ago, genius.

      2. Yeah, by this logic Max did the same in 2018 in FP3 just to screw the rest of his weekend.

        1. @f1mre Kimi did this in Q2 in 2007 as well. Quite a common error.

          1. LEC may have intended a small crash, front wing change maybe, no more. He didn’t want to gently park it like MSC did in 2006.

        2. @f1mre Look at the steering and reaction from both drivers. Max immediately (and by that I mean 1 frame on Youtube, 1/30 of a second) after touching the barrier tried to steer away from it. Leclerc meanwhile does nothing, turns right EVEN MORE and only after first part of chicane is done, turns left. If you can’t see the difference, I rest my case. Also, I didn’t say it was premeditated, but different people do different things under pressure.

          1. With your twisted logic Senna also drove straight into the wall deliberately…

            You can rest your cases as much as you like.

          2. Lol he turns right even more to actually try to make the apex of the left hander. The touch with the wall put him wide on a trajectory to cut the left part of the chicane so obviously he’s gonna turn right because he’s running wide.

            Lol your name says it all

          3. Please come back to reality before you end up a flat earther.

        3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          22nd May 2021, 15:39

          there is a big difference. Leclerc already had pole and by crashing, he could prevent anybody taking it off him. That is different to a crash in practice for verstappen, which didn’t effect the rest of his weekend. He crashed again in qualifying, but not at a point where he was fastest.

          1. @thegianthogweed
            Oh look, another crazy conspiracy theorist. Get real. That crazy is extremely common and it makes no sense for Leclerc to risk a gearbox change by binning it.

      3. To get a grid penalty for damaging gearbox?

      4. Nonsense.
        If Ferrari were going to play that game, they wouldn’t have done it with Leclerc.

        Ridiculous conspiracy theories and F1 go together so well.

      5. *facepalm*

        Sure, destroying the car and with high probability getting a penalty for gearbox change – sure, the driver of his caliber would do that.

        Think again

      6. @armchairexpert Lec would be extremely lucky not to have to change his gearbox or chassis. There are better ways to (deliberately) mess up Monaco quali, as Rosberg showed in 2014.


        Although on a serious note, this one is really to hard judge compared to Schumacher’s in 2006. Another time where the provisional pole sitter commits an incident at the end of a qualifying session determining the grid. If anything, Ferrari must be thinking of the status of the gearbox. It would be a huge shame for Leclerc.

      8. @armchairexpert Risking wrecking his gear box or worse and incurring a grid penalty? Clipping the corner isn’t ever going to be a ‘controlled’ collision, as happened, instantly losing steering and any chance of determining what would happen next. I don’t think it’s his style either, personally. He seems a straight-forward guy. No Schumacher. Or Rosberg maybe.

      9. There’s always one! *facepalm*

      10. @armchairexpert. He hit the barrier as he went into the corner, which broke the steering arm, which left him going in a straight line towards the next barrier.

      11. Didn’t rosberg do something similar in Monaco to SC the rest of qualifying, affecting Hamilton who was on a flyer at the time.

        1. yes, he parked it in the Mirabeau run-off with Hamilton behind having to slow down for yellow flag

          and then gave an interview to the BBC with a magnificent smirk on his face haha!

      12. Username checks out.

        1. If you see him, just mock his name!

      13. Of course I don’t agree with armchair experts notion he did it on purpose.

        But when you have provisional Paul when you’re ahead of your arrivals you can take more chances.

        I said it last time something like this happened – if you bring out a yellow flag in qualifying you should get a penalty. My preference would be delete time if no one else is impacted, and if anyone else is impacted you start from the back of your qualifying session. In this case I think LeClaire should start from P10.

        I think this is really silly.

        1. @slotopen
          That’s not a good solution, then you won’t have drivers pushing to the limit. Inopportune yellows have always been part of quali and it’s easy for teams to eliminate their chances of being affected by them if they want to.

      14. I too think it’s more than suspicious. The whole week we’ve seen slomos of Leclerc being within millimeters of that barrier showing car control like no other, then he suddenly misses it by a huge amount when he stands to gain pole position and with it a likely Ferrari win (although some useless strategy call will anyway probably shoot down that chance).

        1. @balue
          Lol, and you’ll also say they faked the moon landing and that covid is caused by 5G.

          1. What a stupid comment

            1. @balue
              To believe Leclerc did it deliberately is even more stupid.

            2. It wasn’t on purpose, all the other drivers agree.

        2. @balue As you say, Leclerc was within millimeters of the wall many times, until he was under pressure, and then he missed his line by millimeters in the wrong direction. It was nowhere as clumsy as Latifi’s crash earlier at the same corner, where the apex was indeed missed by a huge amount.

          1. @ferrox-glideh No he didnt miss it by millimeters. He missed it by a long way. Even Brundle commented on it (as if it was strange)

            1. @balue
              If you genuinely do believe Leclerc crashed deliberately you need to take a look at yourself. Brundle said no such thing, you are getting Latifi’s and Leclerc’s crashes mixed up.
              Maybe that tinfoil hat is cutting off air to your brain.

      15. It doesn’t look like that was the case and doing so would be foolish. There’s a good chance he’ll start in 6th because of the shunt. Did you even see the onboard??

      16. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        22nd May 2021, 21:59

        The only thing I didn’t like about the whole thing was there was no apologetic team radio, no apology on social media or any interviews to his team or rivals, he just shrugged the whole thing off and celebrated like it was a ‘normal’ pole. Maybe that’s to save face but I didn’t think it was great behaviour. It’s not a pole position to celebrate like that.

        1. @rdotquestionmark He seemed fairly sheepish and embarrassed to me, to be honest. It’s not like he was jumping up and down and pumping his fists. An awkward moment, not uncommon at an unforgiving venue like Monaco.

          1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            23rd May 2021, 9:23

            @ferrox-glideh Yeah I suppose it’s hard to say quite how he felt. A mixture of embarrassment and pride and maybe he just tries to cover up the embarrassment and play down the accident for the sake of pride. Should be a good one today.

            1. I’m looking forward to it too. Monaco is a genuine test for these guys. Cheers!

    4. The focus is obviously on possible damage to the gearbox but he could just as easily need a chassis change if the front suspension is pulled out the wrong way & a chassis change I believe would mean a pit lane start.

      There is zero way that was a deliberate thing to try & guarantee the pole because the risk of damaging something that would result in a grid penalty is just too high.

    5. Really annoyed at both Ferrari drivers. That was a bad mistake from Leclerc. And Sainz should have been in the front row. He lost three tenths in the last sector of his flying lap.
      Now there’s a chance neither Ferrari car starts on the front row due to Leclerc gearbox. That would be a disaster.

      1. Yes. It was a good chance for Sainz to be a bit higher had it not been for the crash

    6. Lewis feeling the pressure of the championship? or setting up the car for the race?

      I am genuinely surprised how the qualifying champ is being out qualified so often by Bottas, who imo is a Perez/Hulk/Gasly calibre driver.
      Compare that to how Leclerc swept Vettel , and now Sainz.

      1. Bottas has always been a very good qualifier. On the whole Hamilton will still comfortably have the measure of Bottas, even on Saturday, but it’s no surprise that Bottas can put a few better performances in throughout the year.

        Leclerc and Vettel actually had very similar quali performance in 2019 in terms of results, even with Leclerc’s impressive run of poles. It was mostly in 2020 that Vettel wasn’t that close anymore, for what is no doubt a whole variety of reasons.

        Disappointing to see Sainz fail to exploit Ferrari’s pace here today. Not a good result for him.

      2. @trib4udi The Mercedes is one of the longest cars, which is a disadvantage in Monaco. That, doesn’t explain why Bottas was still 3rd. Hamilton probably under-performed, just as he did here in 2017. I don’t think he sacrificed qualifying speed to have a better race pace, as track position is king in Monaco, but if he did, it was a bad mistake.

      3. @trib4udi – pressure for Hamilton? He thrives on it, they always knew Monaco would be tough. And I just realised Max and Charles on the front row (assuming no gearbox penalties ) and turn 1 I can’t see Charles yielding…

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          22nd May 2021, 16:13

          @icarby – Does he? I can think of lots of examples where he’s struggled under pressure but I can’t think of a huge amount where he’s thrived… His strength is being consistent and relentlessly fast which means that he isn’t often under pressure.

          I don’t think today was anything to do with pressure though – he’ll win the title easily this year. Monaco just doesn’t suit the Mercedes and he tried to get more out of the car than he was available to him. Normal service will be resumed once we head back to the normal tracks.

          1. @petebaldwin – He’s had pressure from the moment he walked into F1, probably motorsports in general, nothing has been easy for him. Well, depending on how you look at the domination of the Mercedes Hamilton partnership, he still has to go out and deliver which equals pressure, expectation and it’s never small. Didn’t happen for him today and it seems he’s already written off the weekend, unless it rains?

            But interested in your examples…

            1. @icarby Excluse me? Hamilton has had almost zero on track pressure, just like Vettel during RB’s double diffuser era.

      4. @trib4udi There seems to be tendency that Hamilton is not as confident on street circuits as on others. Let’s see in Baku if it continues.

        1. @balue Do you statistical evidence to support this claim? I asked Singapore 2018 and it couldn’t have disagreed more.

          1. @psynrg Did you ask Monaco and Baku too? What did they say?

            1. I think Monaco of 2008, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020 disagreed. So did Baku on a couple of occasions

    7. Rate the Quali 9/10!

      1. @niefer Very thrilling. At one point I wasn’t sure if even a McLaren would be there as well.

        Surely better than the upcoming race.

      2. I agree this was the best qualifying of the year so far and would have been even better had we gotten the last 30 seconds.

        In my opinion Monaco qualifying is often more interesting and more critical than the race itself.

    8. If F1 ever watched Indycar races, they’d know they have a rule which prevents this situation (and also prevents drivers crashing on purpose, like Schumacher and Rosberg, but not Leclerc today). In Indycar qualifying, if a driver causes a yellow or red flag in qualifying, they get their best 1 or 2 laps deleted respectively. That is a much better rule than what we have here. But F1 does not pay any attention to Indycars.

      1. Of course, why would you pay attention to F3-class series in F1?!

        Besides, this crash was not deliberate, what is the point penalizing the driver further?

      2. F1 don’t (And should not have such a rule) because it’s a silly rule which can discourage drivers from going all out in attack mode in qualifying which is what qualifying is supposed to be about.
        In Indycar there have been times in the past where drivers have admitted to holding something back on circuits where the risk of causing a yellow is high.

        Sometimes when you are pushing flat out on the limit you will make a mistake & there should be no additional penalty for that. It’s just a potential part of qualifying, Always has been & always should be. It’s also not as if we get this sort of situation regularly enough to warrant adding more regulations to the already over-regulated sport.

        1. That’s a fair counter-argument. I guess although the result isn’t very fair, the incident has also helped randomly shake up the order a bit, setting up a good race. F1 needs a little randomising, as the teams have such a great handle on eliminating unpredictability.

      3. If nothing else, the Indycar rule says that this is not an uncommon phenomena.

      4. I don’t want to see drivers holding back. I’ve been watching Indy the last couple years (used to just watch the 500) and I have trouble getting into it. The results often seem kind of random and I’m not convinced the best driver and car combination wins very often. Some of the rules such as this don’t seem to improve the racing. And the standing starts ruin what would otherwise be great starting action.

    9. If it was deliberate, it was never deliberate enough for anyone to conclusively say it was. He’s either very smart, or very lucky. In any case, he’s happy.

      1. This is no way you would want to win pole. Other drivers were robbed of their last fast run and the outcome could have been quite different. Its a shame we do not know if Hamilton or Verstappen or any other driver could have improved on LeClerc’s time.

    10. They should consider implementing a rule that exists eg. in IndyCar. Whoever causes a session ending red or yellow has all their times invalidated from that (mini)session. So in this case Leclerc would start P10.

      1. That’s a dumb rule. Why would anybody want to go flat-out if that is the penalty?! It would make the second run in Q3 pointless.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          22nd May 2021, 16:19

          @jeffreyj – Why would they go flat out? Because they want pole… If you go slow to make sure you don’t crash and someone else goes for it and doesn’t crash, they’ll get pole ahead of you.

          It just seems odd that you can crash and it guarantees you pole. You shouldn’t benefit by putting it in the wall.

      2. @f1mre Disagree. Qualifying is about pushing absolutely flat out on the limit & anything that could see drivers holding back a bit (As drivers have admitted to doing in Indycar in the past) should never be considered.

        More often than not making the mistake is the penalty, This sort of scenario where a driver benefits from a mistake is so rare that I just don’t see why it’s something that needs to be regulated with more silly penalties in an already over-regulated penalty obsessed sport.

      3. Well, that’s not OK. They better resume Quali and allow enough time for 2 laps. The session would have been delayed like 15minutes max, not the end of the world for anybody.

      4. @f1mre Maybe just front row times

    11. Gutted for Max, could have been a pole for him. Great quali.

    12. What on earth was Perez doing. With such a short lap that’s a huge deficit.

      In addition to the Ferrari drivers and Verstappen, Bottas and Norris did great too. Solid performance from Gasly and Vettel as well.

      1. Pérez was held up, I think. Either way, not a good result for him today. He should have been up there to cover for Verstappen. When Hamilton trips up, as he did today, Red Bull needs to make the most of that. Pérez isn’t helping them do that with this starting position.

      2. @me4me Yeah, he is looking quite pedestrian so far. Gasly ahead of him opens up the RB no. 2 seat debate once again. Almost all the older drivers in new teams seem to struggle.

    13. Extra 3 minute bonus added if the pole sitter crashes in Q3.

      1. Actually that isn’t a bad idea.

      2. @david-br No, If your lap is hindered by yellow or red flags then it’s just bad luck.

        Should we also start giving drivers extra laps if there fast lap is hurt by dirt or gravel been pulled onto the track or maybe if a sudden gust of wind or drop change in temperature causes the track to get slower?

        1. @roger-ayles It’s quite a specific point: the current fastest driver doesn’t get to keep poll if they bin the car. Not anyone else. And we’re talking specifically about the poll sitter. It’s only an issue because Schumacher so demeaned the sport by parking his car during qualifying, thus setting a contemptible precedent.

          1. @david-br I just don’t see a need for it because it’s not as if this sort of scenario is something we see that often. If it was something we were seeing a few times a year or something & it was an actual problem then maybe i’d be more in favour of doing something to try & prevent it but as it is I simply don’t see it as a problem that needs looking at.

            And as I said above I don’t want to see any regulation put in place that could act as a disincentive for drivers to go out there & drive absolutely flat out on/over the limit on these mega qualifying laps.

            Sometimes when you are on the limit you will make a mistake & 9 times out of 10 that mistake will hurt rather than benefit you. And in this specific case it may still end up been something that hurts Leclerc if he needs to gearbox change. It’s just a part of the sport.

            1. @roger-ayles Perhaps there isn’t sufficient justification to change Formula 1’s rules to allow for this scenario. I agree that in most circumstance, Max, say, only had himself to blame for not setting a faster initial lap and messing up the fast lap prior to his final run too. But it wasn’t the first time that we’ve seen the driver on provisional pole benefit from his own mess up in this way. And it’s hugely frustrating for rivals and spectators, and, I think, instinctively feels ‘unfair’. That’s not to takeaway from Leclerc’s poll-winning lap or imply he crashed to deliberately. I think he’s likely to get a grid penalty or pit lane start even anyhow.

              On the other hand, there’s neither any guarantee Verstappen, Bottas or Sainz even would have beaten CL’s time, or binned it themselves (Max was pushing very close). And if they pitted and had to gear up for another fast lap, they may have lost their rhythm too.

        2. Meh…the uniqueness of Monaco, no? It isn’t really reasonable to expect everyone to do a banker lap ‘just in case’ and as we see most don’t. So Max didn’t do anything wrong here. No more than VB who was also on a faster lap. Nor anyone else. A penalty for crashing like CL did? I don’t think it is necessary and is just part of what can happen at this specific track. The analogy to dirt or gravel on the track or a gust of wind or a track temp change makes no sense because they don’t stop sessions nor even yellow flag for those. Yeah I can understand the optics of a penalty in this case, at Monaco, seeming fair to those who were robbed, but like I say…meh. He penalized himself with a potential literal grid penalty, as well as costing the team time and resources, and he may have taken a psychological hit too. Sure he has pole to think on, but he’ll also know Max and VB may have relegated him to third had he not crashed.

    14. Yeah really weird. All comments are gone.

      1. And Mick is still on pole.

        1. There are quite a few errors in this article, which makes it hard to read.

        2. Quite deservedly, what a time!!

    15. I think Leclerc lost both the front suspension mounts and possibly the floor. So he’s not getting the same car for the race.
      But how good was that, all four guys absolutely had the chance for pole and the other bunch of five less than half a second away.
      Take out aero effect by not having fast corners, minimize engine power differences by not having long straights and the drivers skills emerge, and the field narrows at the top, who knew?

      (Ok fine, the race will be , barring weather, a snooze but let’s enjoy today as it was)

    16. It looks like the outcome some were “afraid of”… happened. Hope LEC keeps the PP just to keep the spirits high at Ferrari for the rest of the season and for 2022. Best thing is that HAM is 7th, hopefully he will finish around the same place, simply because I want to see the champ battle fully open all season long.

      1. @mg1982

        because I want to see the champ battle fully open all season long

        My feeling too. I want to see Hamilton get that eighth title, sure, but he probably has a few more seasons to do so and it would be great to see him win it in a genuine title battle that goes down to the final race. Monaco and Baku seem a good chance for Max to go into the lead of the championship.

    17. There’s Dieter in the background behind Rosberg doing commentary on Sky.

    18. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      22nd May 2021, 15:33

      scumacher back on pole!!

      this list needs fixing. Every drivers position is wrong and giovinazzi isn’t on the list.

    19. This qualy session is the proof that whenever Hamilton faces some REAL competition (not the fake one set up by the false narrative spread by Toto and the british media), he simply vanishes. He isn’t from the same clothes of Senna or Schumacher…

      1. Take a deep breath, and then say it back to yourself.

      2. And what would be the point of voicing that cars are even more important than drivers in F1? Vettel is a 4 time champion if you didn’t know.

      3. @bio –

        Would this be the same Schumacher who had his pole lap deleted in 2006, because he cheated due to the pressure? Or the same Senna who binned it in Monaco after qualifying on pole, due to the pressure?

        Go and learn a bit more about Formula 1 before letting your Lewis hate influence your thinking.

        1. +30 years of F1, I know enough about it to rate Lewis quite low compared to the other two. Easy to shine when you drive a spaceship +1 second per lap faster than the competition with a teammate designed de facto as no. 2. History say that when Lewis faced real competition he was nowere, and quite error prone too…

          1. +30 years of F1

            If true, that’s just sad.

            1. You simpy won’t see races like Monaco ’84/Donington ’93 (Senna) or Spa 92’/Barcelona ’96 (Schumacher) just to name a few, from Hamilton beacuse when he Is on equal (or inferior) machinery he can’t deliver unlike the other two. He is a great driver and can even do 300 poles and win 200 races but he Jjst isn’t on par with the likes of Senna or Schumacher regardless what the british biased media can say. It’s not what you win, it’s how you win It.

          2. @bio –

            History says you are a liar. You have nothing close to 30 years of watching Formula 1.

            You can’t even spell right.

            1. You know nothing, pointless to argue with mr. nobody

          3. Bio, you are 100% correct. Smartest thing I’ve read here in ages.

      4. @Bio I see you’ve dared to voice your opinion of the blessed one. You might have been watching F1 long, but you can’t have been here long or you’d know there will immediately be an attack on your person with namecalling by the usual suspects. They don’t want debate, just to shut you down. Already you’ve been called sad and old, liar, filled with hate. And they will follow you around from now on, and be on every word.

        1. I’m glad there is someone who doesn’t take it personally when talking about F1 (or anything else btw). The irony is that they support a driver who is spending his spare time addressing people about equality. They evidently don’t grasp the “race as one” concept regarding opinions. Don’t get me wrong, Lewis is a terrific driver (you don’t win as many races as he did by accident), all I’m saying is that a big part of his success is down to the cars he drove/is driving. He simply isn’t on par with Senna and Schumacher and I underlined why. And the false narrative set up by the british media (who run the official F1 channels) always playing down Mercedes and pointing to Max/RB now, and Vettel/Ferrari before, as favorites when they clearly aren’t is getting quite tiresome…

        2. Btw , great avatar you have!

        3. There is no point in debating people who state as fact something that both goes against expert opinion and they demonstrate no evidence to explain their opinion. Usually it’s “Hamilton has always had the best car”. Fine, so tell us why Adrian Newey is so utterly wrong in his assessments of Hamilton’s cars through the year. Tell us how you formed this opinion, stop saying it’s a fact and put some weight behind your words. Otherwise, there is no debate from the start, and you are notorious for it. No-one follows you around, we just learned from experience that you don’t want a debate, you want to fire off your opinion, pretend it’s more important than everyone else’s, too lazy to back it up and as soon as you are challenged, vanish without trace. But if you would like to continue the “debate” you vanished from with me on the subject, I’m here: “Lewis Hamilton, is instrumental in the development of that car, his feedback is essential, so _if_ it’s all the car, that still demonstrates his ability in a key skill required in all f1 drivers.”

          Or run away again and pretend like no-one ever put that point to you, your call.

          1. Who are you talking about, me or Balue? Just asking beacuse I’m anything but notorious…and btw, it’s almost 20 years that drivers aren’t involved in cars developement, all they are required to do is jump in the car and give it some gas without doing silly mistakes.

    20. It was deleted and re-posted because it was wrong.
      I would have been happy with Mazepin on pole though, as published…

      1. Shcumacher, not Mazepin. Oopsies.
        And yeah, it’s still there.

        Oopsies from Racefans too. Again.

    21. Did I blink and miss Mick’s lap?

      1. @bernasaurus Mick’s car damage was so massive after FP3 Haas couldn’t fix it on time.

        1. @huhhii I knew that, it’s just a joke that in the article he’s listed as on pole with a time of zero seconds. Which is very quick.

          1. @bernasaurus Ha and it’s still there! Well done by Mick, unbeatable track record and a pole with a broken Haas. Superb!

            1. @huhhii Kid is going places, anyone could do that time in a Mercedes, but a smashed up Haas?!? Fantastic time, de-brief should be simple enough.

            2. In all seriousness I wish Mick had a proper teammate so we could have a better idea of his pace. I suspect he is mediocre for F1 and it’s just his teammate dogging it at all times.

      2. Yep Haas developed teleportation technology in the break between P3 and Qualifying.

        1. Yup…Mick did it in no time. Said to his crew ‘hang on a sec’ and he didn’t even need that.

          1. @robbie Probably sat on a yacht, sipping a margarita, “Monaco? Completed it mate, did it in no time”.

    22. I didn’t expect a top ten this mixed up from the usual, but an interesting way of securing pole, albeit the crash could backfire at worst-case scenario depending on the damage extent.

      1. @jerejj Just like in 2006 when he was watching from balcony (don’t know if true) when Schumacher did something similar in the red car ;)

        1. @jerejj
          Lol, and you’ll also say they faked the moon landing and that covid is caused by 5G.

          1. @Neutralino Merely a yoke.

    23. Why? Just why does it keep happening to Charles at his home GP? It’s just so devastating.
      Yes, it was 100% his own fault (just like Baku ’19), but the outcome was probably the worst imaginable.
      Let’s hope the mechanics can repair the car in a way he won’t have to start the race in P6, P11 or even worse, the pitlane (could be anything from suspension-, floor- to driveshaft damage). They were able to do so in Baku two years ago, so fingers crossed.
      Please, FIA! Let him start from pole, PLEASE!!!

    24. This crash was not deliberate unlike Schumacher’s 2006 and Rosberg 2014. Very interesting Qualifying session. Sadly, the worst is to come – boring race where everyone is driving as slow as possible to pit just once.

    25. Ham qualifying seventh, Alonso being knocked in Q1 and Ric being knocked out in Q2, whatever’s happening to the cream of the old guard bar Seb?! And soon Perez will feel the full pressure of being in a Redbull starting to boil over!!!

      1. Though to be fair to Perez, guess he’s not in the right state of mind after what happened at his home.

      2. I wonder if age takes the edge off drivers around Monaco?

    26. I came here happy to read the comments of this very good qual session and i stumb with half the people talking that Leclerc destroyed his Ferrari deliberately and the the rest, trying to explain to them that this is stupid.
      Come on guys really.

      1. @bluechris What’s stupid is having to explain to you the well known fact that somebody has already been penalized for such shenanigans. Come on. Really.

        1. Aside from their red liveries, I see very little in common between how Schumacher went racing and how Leclerc comports himself. There is no way that Leclerc binned it on purpose, at that speed and at that angle. Not only is he an honest fellow, he is no fool.

      2. @bluechris This comment section is like Monaco. Anything can and probably will happen :)

    27. NOOOO CARLOS. I was really hoping for a new polesitter.

    28. This time luck was not with LH, his 2021 quest for world championship almost gone with Verstappen is more consistently up front 1-2, minimal error, while LH himself already made 2 errors thus far this season. This race could be championship deciding just as Sepang 2016.

      1. Dramatic much? We’ve not even had the race yet. Verstappen and Leclerc could crash out tomorrow. A bad timed safety car could really mix everything up and there’s a very slim chance of rain which could mix everything up too. It’s Monaco, you need to finish the race before you get the points. That and it’s only race 5 of the season.. there’s a lot more twists and turns coming yet before you start to write off a 7xWDC after qualifying 7th in the 3rd best car.

      2. You know LH is still 14 points ahead of Max right? If they finish in their starting positions, LH is still going to be leading by 2 points at the end of the race.

    29. What a fantastic qualifying session that was. Obviously Charles Leclerc on pole is the highlight, but one of the things I really enjoyed was seeing the cars out on track for nearly the entire session, rather than going out, doing one lap, and then waiting in the pits until the end of the session when everybody comes out at once. That’s how qualifying should be, in my opinion. Also it was great to see the cars back at Monaco, and I think the race tomorrow will be fantastic. Hopefully Leclerc’s car won’t be damaged, and he can pull off a shock victory!

      1. And a standout performance from Pierre Gasly, ten places ahead of his teammate on the grid. What a fantastic job he’s done since his demotion from Red Bull!

      2. Same here, track evolution was even greater because of how much running the cars were doing, meaning the positions were constantly cycling around, very fun to watch! Sure the race is usually not that exciting, but it is a unique race on the calendar, and does throw up some interesting scenarios because of that (e.g. the Ferrari somehow appearing to be quickest when at the usual circuits they seem to be 3rd or 4th fastest at best). Plus, it remains one of the most punishing circuits if a driver stops concentrating for even one corner. Walls everywhere, compared to a lot of other tracks which are going the other way and increasing runoff (or removing gravel traps) all the time.

    30. Feels unlikely that the gearbox would be raceworthy, but I hope it somehow is. In that resurgent Ferrari, I really want to see VER going for it against LEC into Turn 1!

    31. Just saw the detailed live timing. Here is the breakdown of the fastest laps of the top 3:
      LEC = 18.612 + 32.983 + 18.751 = 70.346
      VER = 18.472 + 33.349 + 18.755 = 70.576
      BOT = 18.599 + 33.041 + 18.961 = 70.601
      SAI = 18.443 + 33.084 + 19.084 = 70.611

      And now the breakdown of the final incomplete laps:
      LEC = 18.644 + 33.083 + Crash
      VER = 18.438 + Red Flag
      BOT = 18.489 + Red Flag
      SAI = 18.689 + 33.157 + Red Flag

      The commentators on air gave a picture that Verstappen was already more than 2 tenths up on Leclerc and hence were robbed. While factually true, one should also consider that he was only 0.034 s faster in S1 compared to his prior best. He was slower than Ferrari in S2 (at least on the prior lap). I doubt he had enough to overhaul the 0.210 gap around the full circuit (S1 is roughly a quarter of the lap. So, extrapolating the 0.034 s improvement gives us a gain of about 0.12-0.13 over his personal best).

      The person who was really robbed was I think Bottas. He had beaten his previous best by a whole 0.11 seconds in S1. He had a better chance of overhauling the 0.255 gap around the full circuit.

      Leclerc and Sainz clearly weren’t improving on their best times. They are probably happiest that the red flag came.

      1. Yes I too think Bottas would have taken po

      2. Really good analysis. I think a point with Sainz is that his last sector on the first lap was poor, so he probably would’ve improved in the end with a half decent final sector.

    32. Leclerc pulled a Senna. Good for him. Tapped his right front knowing his suspension would break taking him mildly into the next wall. Beautifully done Charles. Way to screw your opponents over and guarantee pole.

      1. @sjzelli
        Lol, and you’ll also say they faked the moon landing and that covid is caused by 5G.

      2. lol you clearly aren’t paying attention if you think this is a guaranteed pole, never mind the nonsense about senna and it being a deliberate crash.

      3. @sjzelli It seems to me that tapping his front right corner into a wall at speed didn’t really work out for Senna in the end. What an odd comment.

    33. Monaco is going to be a repeat of Barcelona for Max only he’s going to be staring at the back of a red car rather than a black car.

      1. @ryanoceros And James Vowles will fix it so by the end of the race it’s the black one. Probably go almost the whole race without stopping, and then luck out with a safety car just at the right time. Red Bull will like Ferrari typically have a strict table to follow which means in at lap 40 no matter what.

    34. Everyone should take a moment to appreciate a sensational qualifying session that was. It’s a real treat watching driving like that.

      Monaco has its critics but qualifying really is something else and I’d rather watch Thursday practice around here than a handful of actual GP’s I can think of.

      The race may well be a procession however that won’t change the fact that it has been a thoroughly entertaining race weekend so far.

      1. You are so right. Cheers!

    35. F1oSaurus (@)
      23rd May 2021, 8:02

      Wow I “missed” this one, but from the highlights looks like I didn’t actually miss anything.

      The FIA really should add a rule that for the last run in Monaco they have to start in opposite order of the current standings. It happens too often that the current pole sitter takes too much risk and ruins it for everyone else.

      Hamitlon “unlucky” that his setup change didn’t work. Usually he’s spot on with those and on Saturday it all comes together. For once it doesn’t and it’s on this track.

      Verstappen yet again in the fastest car and yet again doesn’t take pole. With all the “if I only had a competitive car I would take pole every time” it’s a bit strange that even in the outright fastest car for all events he got only 1 pole out of 5 times. Not so easy after all it seems.

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