Charles Leclerc of Ferrari drove a fantastic lap on Saturday to secure pole position for his home Monaco Formula One Grand Prix which he finally wants to win for a first time. The Monegasque clocked 1 minute 11.376 seconds around the 3.337-kilometres street circuit, to beat team-mate Carlos Sainz by 0.225 second.
Sainz could not complete his last flying lap because he collided with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after the latter, who was in contention for pole, hit the barriers in his final attempt. Securing pole position – his fifth of the season and 14th overall – was a big step for Leclerc, as overtaking is almost impossible during Sunday’s race in Monaco which could possibly have some additional spice because there is a chance of rain.
“It is very special, I’m incredibly happy. It’s been a smooth weekend so far, that last lap before the red flag was really good. I was so on the limit,” Leclerc said referring to his attempt to improve his time. Championship leader Max Verstappen was fourth, followed by Lando Norris of McLaren. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will start the race in eight, behind team-mate George Russell in sixth.
Racing at home, Leclerc not only aims to win for the first time, but also see the chequered flag at last. A remarkable streak of bad luck has seen the Monegasque fail to finish his home race in all three of his attempts in F1, and not even able to start last year’s race from pole because of a problem on his way to the grid.
He also suffered a heart-breaking retirement in his one F2 appearance.
Red Bull and Ferrari have ruled the season with Verstappen top of the championship six points ahead of Leclerc after his fourth season win in the last race in Spain.