Monaco Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc on pole for home race despite crash with Lewis Hamilton seventh

·2-min read
<p>Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari sustained a lot of damage in Saturday’s qualifying crash</p> (Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari sustained a lot of damage in Saturday’s qualifying crash

(Getty Images)

Charles Leclerc is set to start his home Monaco Grand Prix from pole position despite suffering a heavy late crash in qualifying.

The Monégasque star finished Q3 in the wall on Saturday with his Ferrari SF21 sustaining heavy damage amid fears that gearbox issues will require a replacement and subsequent grid penalty.

However, for now Leclerc is the man to beat at the iconic street Circuit de Monaco after still managing to seal the eighth pole position of his career with the fastest lap ahead of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in an unfamiliar spot down in seventh after a difficult day.

It is the first time he has qualified outside the top six since July 2018.

Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz will start fourth, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.

The top 10 as it stands is rounded off by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen’s Red Bull colleague Sergio Perez and Antonio Giovinazzi of Alfa Romeo.

“It's a shame to finish in the wall, it's doesn't feel the same but I'm incredibly happy about my lap,” Leclerc said after his crash.

"I didn't do a great first corner but then in the second and third sector I nailed it. Just very, very happy to be on pole as it was very difficult to manage myself mentally after Q2.

"I could feel I was quite emotional in the car - now it's Q3, now it's time to put everything together. I managed to do so and I'm incredibly happy.

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"It's tomorrow that we score points but we are incredibly surprised to be on pole and fourth place (Carlos Sainz) for the race tomorrow.

"I am worried about a penalty [for the gearbox]. I've always been very unlucky here, so let's just wait and see."

Ferrai later confirmed on social media that an initial inspection of the gearbox had revealed no serious damage, though the team plan to carry out further checks on Sunday to determine if a change is required for the race.

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