Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix, setting a new track record of a 1:10.166 in the process.
“This is the race every driver dreams of,” Hamilton said afterwards.
“You put everything into it. We’ve arrived with a great car. This pole means so much. I had to dig deeper than ever. The lap was beautiful.”
Hamilton also dedicated the pole position to former F1 champion Niki Lauda, who sadly passed away earlier this week:
“To have a cloud over us this weekend, we have tried to lift each other up and tried to deliver for Niki. P1 and P2 was good for me.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 25, 2019
The five-time champion snatched pole at the death from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, as the Finn made a mistake on his final run in Q3.
“I felt I had it today, but made a couple of small mistakes on my flying lap,” Bottas conceded.
“I’d prefer to be on pole, but there’s no point giving up on Saturday. It’s a long race tomorrow, and anything can happen.”
Having been very close all weekend, Hamilton’s time was less then a tenth of a second faster than Bottas.
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Elsewhere, there was major casulty from Q1, as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc failed to make the cut.
The 21-year-old is racing at his home Grand Prix, and was eliminated after a strategy error from the team ended his qualifying early.
Sebastian Vettel hit the wall during the same session and had to go out for another run. In contrast, Ferrari kept Leclerc in the garage in the belief that he was safe from the drop zone.
It was later revealed that Leclerc himself questioned Ferrari at the time, but they refused to send him out. After qualifying, the Monegasque driver seemed confused about the Scuderia’s thought process:
“Actually we had plenty of time, even when we went out of the box to go out again,” Leclerc said.
“The weighbridge wasn’t the problem. We still have the fuel to go again and only change tyres. I need some explanations. I don’t know for now.”
Vettel made contact with the wall again in Q3, ruining his final lap which meant the German would have to settle for fourth. He’ll start behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the second row.
Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly had put his car fifth on the grid, for his best qualifying of the season. However, the stewards handed the Frenchman a three-place grid penalty for impeding Haas’ Romain Grosjean in Q2.
This elevated the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen to fifth position. Alongside him will be Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who won in Monaco last year.
The Toro Rosso Daniil Kvyat will start seventh ahead of the aforementioned Gasly. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Alexander Albon rounded up the top ten.
Further back, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovanazzi also recieved a three-place grid penalty for impeding the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. This promotes Charles Leclerc to 15th for the race.
The 2019 Monaco Grand Prix will start tomorrow at 2:10 BST and is live on Sky Sports F1.