Saturday, May 22, 2021

Leclerc Tops Monaco Qualifying But Race Spot in Jeopardy After Crash

Photo Credit: FIA Pool/LAT Images/Pirelli



In the conclusion of the Spanish Grand Prix, there was a noteworthy statement made by Scuderia Ferrari’s team driver Charles Leclerc ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix. He asserted that the group’s strength in the third section of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during the Spanish Grand Prix was an indication that the Italian Formula 1 team would be strong on the Monte Carlo temporary street course.

Following Friday’s on-track action in Monaco, Leclerc's admittance was supported in spectacular fashion. In the second practice session the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. finished first and second fastest. Entering qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, there was a realistic chance the Ferrari team could capture their first pole position since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix. In the hands of the event’s home country favourite, the red car squad prevailed in qualifying although a major setback could remove the Ferrari race car from the top place on Sunday’s grid.

Posting a lap time of 1 minute, 10.346 seconds on the time chart of the Q3 session, Charles Leclerc’s #16 Ferrari clipped the turn 15 barrier in the late seconds of the final qualifying session and would crash. A red flag ended qualifying cementing the Monegasque driver as the fastest and provisional pole sitter for the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc’s starting position is contingent to the extent of the damage to the Ferrari SF21 race car. At the time this qualifying recap has been written, the Ferrari team has stated there was no serious damage spotted to the #16 car’s gearbox but an additional inspection will take place prior to Sunday race. A change to the gearbox could require the incurrence of a five-grid place penalty.


Said to have mixed feeling regarding the pole effort, Charles Leclerc ended his post-race Ferrari statement saying “Whatever the outcome, I will give my all tomorrow. It feels great to be at home and to see all the fans around the track. It’s Monaco, it’s very unpredictable, and also challenging for us drivers, especially in the race with so many laps.”

Photo Credit: Foto Colombo Images/Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

If not for the wrecked car at the end of the qualifying session at Monaco, Scuderia Ferrari would have had a lot to celebrate. In addition to Charles Leclerc’s top time, Carlos Sainz Jr. delivered a solid performance on Saturday ultimately resulting in a fourth place starting spot on Sunday’s grid. The struggles of the 2020 Ferrari Formula 1 team are well-documented but the COVID-19 pandemic also changed the historic brand’s intentions to commemorate their 1,000th grand prix start. Meant to take place at the 2020 Monaco race, the event’s cancellation and the reworked Formula 1 schedule caused for a race on Ferrari’s Mugello circuit to be the thousandth event for the team in the series.

Hampered from mounting a late session charge for the pole, Max Verstappen finished Monaco Grand Prix qualifying in the second place position. Along with Ferrari, Red Bull Racing team has displayed the most consistent front-running pace during this weekend on the 19-turn, 3.337-kilometer track. Verstappen was quickest in Saturday’s practice while teammate Sergio Perez posted the fastest time in the first practice session on Friday. Perez will start the Monaco Grand Prix in ninth place as the Mexican was unable to find the same pace as Verstappen throughout qualifying citing dropping track temperatures and traffic.

Photo Credit: Steven Tee/ LAT Images/ Pirelli

The often-dominating force of the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Team showed a more temperate performance on the tight street of Monaco. Valtteri Bottas settled for third on the grid for Sunday’s 78-lap event citing the late red flag as costing him a chance to take pole. The winner from the last Formula 1 race in Spain, Lewis Hamilton has appeared out of regular form during this weekend through practice and qualifying. Though Hamilton progressed into Q3 in qualifying, he experienced a lack of grip in his #44 Mercedes-AMG race car mustering a seventh place starting spot for the race.

Running historic Gulf oil colouring for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, McLaren Racing had a qualifying outing that netted mixed results. Lando Norris will start Sunday’s main event from the fifth grid position but Daniel Ricciardo, 2018 winner of the Monaco Grand Prix, failed to post a top-10 time in Q2 and settling for 12th place. The remainder of the top 10 starters is also the lone team entrants that broke into Q3. Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly will roll off the grid in 6th place, 2011 and 2017 Monaco winner Sebastian Vettel will start 8th for Aston Martin Racing and Antonio Giovinazzi scored an impressive 10th place starting spot for Alfa Romeo Racing.

Haas F1 Team’s Mick Schumacher crash in the final practice and was unable to post a time in Saturday’s qualifying at Monaco. The Formula 1 rookie will start at the rear for Sunday’s race.

Start time for the 78-lap, 2021 Monaco Grand Prix is set for 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern time).

2021 Formula 1 Season
Monaco Grand Prix
Qualifying Results
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
6 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
7 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
8 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
9 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
10 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
12 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
13 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
14 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
15 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
16 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
17 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
19 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
20 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari

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