Lewis Hamilton will be at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix and it is only the second time he has taken pole position at this historic street circuit, and in doing so, set a new track record of 1:10.166. It is Lewis’ 85th career pole and second of the 2019 season.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas, who looked like he may take pole position towards the end of Q3, had to settle for P2 on the grid.
Lewis said afterwards that: “This is one of the best poles I can remember. We’ve had a lot of success over the years, but I can’t really remember a pole that means as much as this one. It’s been such a difficult week for the whole team and me personally. It’s amazing that we’ve turned up here as a team, continuing to take strides forward together collectively, get stronger and improve our performance weekend in, weekend out. I’m just so proud of everyone. We have a cloud over us this weekend, so we’re really trying to lift each other up and we’re trying to deliver for Niki. I have not had a huge amount of success in Monaco over the years, I never quite got that perfect lap, but I think today was as close as I can get to it. This one is for Niki.”
Ferrari had a particularly difficult time in qualifying in Monaco today with Sebastian Vettel starting from the second row, having set the fourth fastest time just behind Max Verstappen in his Red Bull. Charles Leclerc will start from very disappointing sixteenth on the grid due to confusion within the team which meant that he did not have time to do a quick lap before Q1 finished.
Sebastian Vettel said afterwards that: “It was a difficult day for the whole team. I ended up in the barrier in the third free practice session, but the guys did a great job to fix the car and get me out for qualifying. Unfortunately, we struggled to get the tyres to work properly in Q1 and that meant I had to use an extra set. I managed to get through, but Charles didn’t while he was in 15thplace, which would have been good enough. Unfortunately, these things can happen in Monaco, if you don’t have a margin, you have to take risks and it doesn’t always go the way you want. We were not as competitive as we would have liked to be in qualifying, but the race is a different matter and in Monaco, anything can happen.”
Charles Leclerc was not at all happy and commented: “It’s easy to understand how disappointing was this qualifying, as it significantly compromises my home race. The team was convinced that the time I’d done was good enough to get me into Q2, which would mean saving one more set of tyres, but unfortunately I was the first of those knocked out. It’s a real shame because I think that today I could have got a good result. Clearly it will be very difficult to recover in the race, because it’s almost impossible to overtake here. There’s a chance of rain and that would make the race more unpredictable: that could give me a slightly better chance.”
The Haas F1 Team put in s strong performance in qualifying today with Kevin Magnussen qualifying sixth fastest but will start tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix in fifth thanks to Pierre Gasly receiving a three-place grid penalty for impeding Romain Grosjean on the final lap of Q2. As a result, Grosjean will start the race 13th on the grid.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner commented after qualifying that is was: “A very good day on one side of the garage. Kevin (Magnussen) did a fantastic job. We couldn’t have done anything better. The team was fantastic in reacting to when he had the damaged front wing. Everything was smooth, so I’m very happy and proud of that one, as can the guys. Romain (Grosjean) was impeded by Gasly – it was the wrong moment, at the wrong time, at the wrong place. He was pushed out of getting into Q3 by that, otherwise I think he would have made it in easily to Q3. Overall, I think we’re happier today than upset. We start P5 tomorrow with Kevin, because Gasly was penalized, and we just need to deliver a clean race, and get as many points as possible so we can build on our tally from Spain.”
So the top ten on the grid for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix is as follows: Lewis Hamilton is on pole with Valtteri Bottas along side him in second. Max Verstappen is third, alongside Sebastian Vettel in fourth. The third row has Pierre Gasly (demoted to eighth) and Kevin Magnussen. Behind them is Daniel Ricciardo and Danii Kvyat and in row five is Carlos Sainz in ninth and Alexander Albon rounding off the top ten.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari Press Office and Haas F1 Team