“I’m pushing like an animal!”. Fernando Alonso was convinced he had grabbed the 23rd pole position of his career in the Monaco GP, when Max Verstappen invented a lap that is destined to remain in the history of F1, because it can rival the mythical one of Ayrton Senna with McLaren in 1988 No, we’re not blaspheming in church: the Dutchman also resorted to barriers to end an extraordinary session. Max wasn’t ahead in the first two sectors, but he came up with an amazing last part, also using the guardrails as sides to straighten his Red Bull, like a marble on the green surface. Three millimeter swipes, almost sought, which allow him to mortgage Monte Carlo. Max is a hero, if you consider the foolish escape that his teammate made: Sergio Perez slammed the RB19 immediately and will start from last. Incredible…
Verstappen with a time of 1’11″365 overtakes Fernando Alonso in the pole start rankings and takes the 23rd pole in F1 which is the third of the season: Max feared the Principality and silenced everyone. He had not impressed in the first run of Q3 : they sent him in front of the traffic lights too early and he cooled the tires too much in the flying lap.The Dutchman didn’t disjoin and struck relentlessly at the crucial moment, when Alonso’s pole was already celebrated in the Aston Martin garage.
Fernando was extraordinary: when you miss the start at the post by 84 thousandths it’s difficult to talk about mistakes. The Asturian was moving for his ability to involve the whole team in what is more than a fairy tale. The AMR23 is now unquestionably the second force in the championship and Alonso almost succeeded in the much coveted tripping.
The “verdona” very fast in the first sector, paid something in the third: Alonso starts from the front row and can hope for the race with a good start. It cannot be taken for granted. Monaco gave us emotions today that the race probably won’t be able to regulate for us.
Charles Leclerc is only third with Ferrari: the Monegasque fails to be a prophet in his homeland, but the two times he started on pole he didn’t get what he would have liked and this time he risks being penalized for an impediment to Lando Norris under the tunnel while the Englishman was on his lap launched. The Monegasque risks three positions on the grid and could even finish sixth.
The handling of the lap was not perfect by the pilot and the pit wall, just as the SF-23, more grumpy than expected on the streets of the Principality, was not perfect. Charles probably extracted the best he could from the red and in Maranello they must hope that the car that arrives in Barcelona can change the course of the season, because not even the toboggan has met the Scuderia. The gap isn’t much: a tenth, just enough to stay behind.
Carlos Sainz is fifth because he was surprised by an excellent Esteban Ocon who climbed onto the second row with an excellent Alpine: the transalpine was a thorn in the side of the redhead and risks being so in the race as well.
Lewis Hamilton placed the new Mercedes in sixth position with a gap of three tenths: the old champion invented a lap worthy of his talent. The W14 has certainly improved but it hasn’t solved all its problems. George Russell knows something about it only seventh: it’s not so much the position that matters as the gap of almost six tenths. Way too many.
The Alpine day is completed by Pierre Gasly’s seventh place. Worth mentioning is the excellent performance of Yuki Tsunoda who managed to put an AlphaTauri in Q3: the Japanese is no longer wrong and knows how to seize the opportunities that appear before him. Q3 is closed by Lando Norris who experienced a troubled qualifying: the Englishman touched the barriers of the Porto chicane in Q2 and then crawled to the Tobacconist with his car in a mess. He didn’t give up and took his McLaren to the pits where the Woking mechanics were able to repair his car in time for a fraction of the final session. Lando could have aspired to a better position, but Norrisi found Leclerc’s Ferrari at the fastest point on the track: Charles would be penalized, but Lando remained tenth.
Oscar Piastri is approaching the top 10 with the second McLaren: the young Australian, after anonymous free practice, pulled out his hand with the MCL60 in the “triple crown” colors and managed to precede Nyck De Vries finally convincingly with the AlphaTauri: these excluded from Q3 had not paid half a second from the leader Verstappen!
Something more was expected from Alexander Albon 13th with Williams: the Anglo-Thai has accustomed us to monstrous performances in the flying lap, but managed to stay ahead of Lance Stroll who was sensationally excluded in Q2: the Canadian skipped the operation of the weight being checked and was pushed on the scale by his mechanics, but the operation made him lose a lot of time which jeopardized the possibility of making a second run with the “verdona”. An inconvenience is enough to heavily affect performance.
Valtteri Bottas with Alfa Romeo did not extract the full potential of the revised and corrected C43: the Nordic is only 15th in this very fluctuating season for him.
It certainly went worse for Sergio Perez who was the first casualty in Q1: at the beginning of the fourth lap of the first run the Mexican lost the RB19 in the Saint Devote braking section and oversteered he was unable to avoid a rather violent impact with the left rear wheel. The side also smashed into the barriers and the left mirror broke, ending up in the passenger compartment after also hitting the front wheel. The red flag that interrupted the round was inevitable. The pilot got out of the cockpit without physical problems, but had to take a trip to the Medical Center. There will be a lot of work for the mechanics because the accident was important and it will almost certainly also be necessary to replace the transmission and more. Checo made a serious mistake which compromised the hopes of the South American who was forced to start from the last position on the grid.
The first of those excluded is Logan Sargent 16th in the Williams ahead of the two Haas of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulenberg: Gunther Steiner’s two drivers have not found a valid set-up for the pavements of the Principality and have never been protagonists.
Guanyu Zhou with the Alfa Romeo is also in trouble: the Chinese is 19th on the grid, but it is interesting to note that between Max Verstappen’s momentary first position and Zhou’s C43 there was a whole grid compressed into 1″1: this is the says a lot about the competitiveness threshold achieved in qualifying…