Fernando Alonso dismissed suggestions Charles Leclerc may have intentionally crashed his car to secure pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.
It prompted comparisons to Michael Schumacher’s notorious attempt to secure pole position by stopping his car at Rascasse during qualifying for the same race in 2006. On that occasion Alonso was poised to take pole position away from him, but Schumacher’s stoppage brought out the yellow flags on that part of the track, forcing his rival and others to abandon their attempts to improve.
However Alonso, who went out in Q1 during today’s session, is convinced Leclerc’s crash was a genuine mistake. He also claimed few other drivers were on course to improve their lap times beside Max Verstappen, who qualified second.
“Today [it] didn’t change anything,” said Alonso. “I think it was Verstappen on the purple first sector, that was the only one. All the others, they were coming worse. So I don’t think that there is a big drama on this.
“In 2006 it was very different, I guess. It was a lot of people coming on purple and it was not a crash.”
Alonso is convinced Leclerc didn’t intend to crash and was “pushing” to improve his lap time when he hit the barrier.
“The only debate can be if that car can be repaired in parc fermé and go on pole position,” Alonso added. “But the rules allow that, we all know that, and nothing we should say, I think it’s okay.”
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff, whose former driver Nico Rosberg was accused of a similar stunt in 2014, also doubts there was any foul play in Leclerc’s crash at the end of qualifying.
“I think that, like with all the incidents that we have seen in the past in Monaco, only the driver will ever know what exactly happened,” he said. “And in that case, I doubt that Charles would make himself detonate in the rail, which could cause even more damage to his cars.”
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