Leclerc claims 2nd straight Monaco GP pole, now looks for 1st finish
Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix for the second consecutive year, posting the fastest lap during Saturday's qualifying at his home race.
The Ferrari driver was unable to start last year after crashing in the final qualifying session. Leclerc has never finished a race in Monaco dating back to his Formula 2 tenure.
Carlos Sainz went second-fastest, claiming a front-row lockout for The Prancing Horses.
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+0.253|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.290|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+1.356|
|12||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||Q2|
|18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||Q1|
|20||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||Q1|
The final qualifying session ended with Red Bull's Checo Perez, who went third-fastest, crashing at Portier and causing a red flag. Sainz ended up colliding with Perez.
Perez's crash also put an end to a flying lap from Leclerc, who was nearly finished a lap that looked even faster.
"It is very special," Leclerc said. "I'm so incredibly happy. It's been a very smooth weekend until now. I knew the pace was in the car, I just had to do the job, and it went perfectly. That last lap before the red flag was very, very good. But anyway, it didn't change anything for us."
This marks Leclerc's fifth pole position of the 2022 season while aiming for his third win.
Monaco is arguably the most coveted pole on the F1 calendar, with overtaking during the race being so difficult. Two of the last three pole winners have gone on to win at Monaco. Even further, Red Bull's Max Verstappen - last year's defacto polesitter after Leclerc was unable to start the race - also won.
Reigning champion Verstappen overtook the championship lead last race weekend at the Spanish GP and has won three straight grand prix.
Lando Norris was the lone McLaren representative in Q3 after Daniel Ricciardo posted the second-slowest time in Q2. Norris qualified fifth, ahead of both Mercedes drivers.
George Russell continued to outperform teammate and seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton. Russell will start Sunday in sixth with Hamilton eighth and Alpine's Fernando Alonso between the two Silver Arrows.