Africa-Press – South-Africa. • Max Verstappen is on pole position for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
• The driver pulled a rabbit out of the hat to go ahead of Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc.
• Leclerc is under investigation for impeding Lando Norris in qualifying.
Qualifying for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix was nothing short of amazing. Superb, actually! In the end, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took pole with a nail-biting lap at the very end.
It wasn’t easy, as he said over the team radio, that they “had to work for this one.”
But while Verstappen stole the headlines at the end, it was all about Fernando Alonso. The Aston Martin made it his mission to try and win this year’s race, and pole would have been the place to do it from. He missed out by a mere 0.084 seconds, showing that at 41, he is still as good as the day he started in 2001.
“I feel good,” Alonso said after the session.
“Pole position means a lot here in Monaco, but today Max was a little bit faster. First row on the grid is still a big thing for us. We will try to win. It’s very short into Turn 1, but this year normally we make good starts.”
Giving his all
When the final 12 minutes of qualifying (Q3) got underway, Verstappen was already waiting at the end of the pitlane. He went out first, but his benchmark time – a 1:12 – wasn’t good enough as the rest of the top ten quickly began picking him off.
He put in another lap, but that, too, wasn’t good enough. With minutes to spare, he darted into the pits for the team to perform a race-like pitstop for a fresh set of Soft tyres.
It proved the right move as he put in a stellar lap with a last-gasp effort to secure the position.
“I’m very happy,” he said in the post-qualifying interviews.
“We knew this weekend would be a little bit of a struggle for us, in qualifying, you need to go all out and risk it all. Turn 1 was a bit cautious, so I knew I was behind. I gave it all in the third sector, clipped some barriers. Race-pace-wise, the car is quick. Just need to keep it calm.”
Home hero Charles Leclerc is still to win around the streets of Monaco but managed to put his Ferrari into third. Leclerc, like Alonso, Verstappen, and Esteban Ocon (Alpine), also held onto pole position provisionally, but his machinery wasn’t up to launching a full-on attack.
“I am not satisfied with P3, but we need to look at the situation we are in with the car,” he said.
“I struggle a lot with the car, but in qualifying, the car was a bit more alive. All in all happy, but I would have preferred to be first, of course. I don’t know how is the forecast – everything is possible; I’ll go for it anyway.”
Leclerc is under investigation for impeding Lando Norris in the tunnel during Q3. If found guilty, he could lose P3.