F1: Charles Leclerc will start 1st in Monaco

MONACO, Principality of Monaco – Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) took the leading position on Saturday, at home in Monaco, and will start first in the Grand Prix on Sunday for the 8th round of the Formula 1 season.

On “his” Rock, Leclerc will start in front of Australian Oscar Piastri (McLaren). The Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and the Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) will start on the 2nd row, while the leader of the world championship Max Verstappen (Red Bull) will only be 6th on the grid.

Verstappen sees his streak of consecutive top positions end at eight. He thus equals Ayrton Senna’s record achieved in 1988-1989.

“It hasn’t been a good weekend for the team” so far, he regretted. “We have tried many changes in recent days, but nothing has optimized the performance of the car”, which has been difficult since the first tests.

If, in Monaco, “unexpected things can happen”, “Mad Max” also recalled, “we do not expect miracles”.

It is the first time this season, and the 24th time in his elite career, that Leclerc, 26, has set the best time in qualifying. So far this year, only Verstappen has started from the front position.

“Really, really happy with the round,” Leclerc said. At the same time, I know that more often than not, qualifying doesn’t mean everything compared to the race. »

These qualifications were particularly important on the narrow streets of the Principality, where overtaking is generally difficult. The Scuderia driver therefore leaves with an advantage, even if he has always struggled to shine at home until now.

In his streets, he systematically had to abandon between 2017 (when he was still in F2, the antechamber of F1) and 2021, after technical problems or collisions. Last year, he finished in a disappointing 6th place while in 2022, when he started in the lead, he failed to reach the podium.

Leclerc is trying to end a nearly two-year winless streak, dating back to July 2022 at the Austrian GP.

“I just need a good start,” said Leclerc, who has won five career Formula One races.

This is also the 250th leading position in the history of the Ferrari team.

Lewis Hamilton will start in seventh place for Mercedes.

“I went hard everywhere on the track,” he said. The car feels much better than in recent years here. »

At Alpine, its first driver Pierre Gasly will start 10th. The Frenchman offered his team its first ticket of the season for Q3, the third and final qualifying session where the leading position is at stake and only the ten fastest in Q2 can run. His teammate and compatriot Esteban Ocon will start 11th.

Far behind, the Spaniard Fernando Alonso will only start 16th, a major poor performance for the double 2005-2006 world champion, still in the top 10 of the fastest drivers during the free practice sessions run earlier this week. -end.

“I had difficulty finding the right place and the right time today,” admitted the Spaniard, who explained that he was particularly hampered by the traffic. “It’s Monaco and you also have to know how to count your luck! “.

The other Red Bull, that of Sergio Pérez, will only start 18th. Out of action since the start of the weekend, the Mexican registered his worst qualifications in Monaco since the start of the season.

Quebecer Lance Stroll will start from 14th position.

For their part, both Haas cars failed the FIA ​​physical inspection after qualifying. The left and right outer areas of the adjustable elements exceeded the maximum allowed by 85 mm on both cars. No sanctions have been announced at this time.

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