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Hamilton snatches pole in Mercedes lockout in Monaco

Daniel Herrero

Sunday 26th May, 2019 - 12:29am

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Lewis Hamilton pic: Mercedes-AMG F1 Twitter

Lewis Hamilton has edged Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo qualified seventh.

Hamilton got the job done by 0.086s while Max Verstappen was the best of the rest for Red Bull Racing at 0.475s off the pace.

Sebastian Vettel twice bumped the fence on his way to qualifying fourth, but his last-ditch effort to get out of Q1 came at the expense of Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, who is due to start 16th in his home town.

Pierre Gasly is fifth in the second of the Red Bulls but faces an investigation after an incident with Romain Grosjean during Q2.

The latter’s Haas team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, gained a position after the chequered flag to push Ricciardo back to the fourth row in the only Renault to make the final stanza of qualifying.

Bottas reeled out a 1:10.252s on his first flyer in Q3 and almost matched that next time around, as Hamilton moved to second position at 0.231s off the pace with his second timed lap after a messy run on his first.

Verstappen sat third with a 1:10.641s, from Vettel, Gasly, and Magnussen, with Ricciardo 10th having not set a time at that point.

Vettel touched the barrier at Tabac in the final minute and while he pressed on for another lap, there was no improvement from the German.

Neither Bottas nor Verstappen could find more time either, but Hamilton did when he clocked a 1:10.166s just before the chequers for his first pole position since the season-opener at Albert Park.

“This is a race that every driver dreams of, from being a kid,” said the Briton.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you come here, it’s still a dream, you still put absolutely everything you’ve got.

“All the work we put in, all the guys back in the factory, have just worked tirelessly, so we’ve arrived with a great car and then a great battle with Valtteri; he’s just been quick this weekend and all these races up until now.

“I think just the desire, and the will, to get this pole, it means so much to me. I had to dig deeper than ever and I’m so glad I could get that deep and I’m just really grateful to my team, and the lap was beautiful, so I feel amazing.”

Bottas felt that he could have been on pole having not been satisfied with his first flyer before encountering traffic on his second run.

“I’m disappointed,” he declared.

“I still felt after the first lap that there was still plenty of places I can improve so I left that for the last run.

“On the out lap, I had a lot of traffic, I couldn’t get the tyres hot enough for the timed lap, and that was it, so I felt I had it today but obviously not.”

Ricciardo’s deficit to pole at the end was 1.052s, with the top 10 rounded out by Daniil Kvyat (Scuderia Toro Rosso), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), and Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso).

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was first on the outside in Q2 after Magnussen elevated himself from the drop at the end.

Also knocked out were Lando Norris (McLaren), Romain Grosjean (Haas), and the Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Grosjean was impeded heavily by a slow-moving Gasly while he was pushing in the latter stages of the stanza, and had to lock up to avoid shunting the Red Bull on their way out of Casino Square.

Leclerc joined the two Racing Point entries and the two Williams in the bottom five in Q1, which came to a dramatic conclusion.

Both Hulkenberg and Vettel sat outside the cutoff with the chequered flag out, the latter having surprised his team by pitting after running out to the fence in the middle of the Swimming Pool complex in the final four minutes.

Hulkenberg denied Sergio Perez a berth in Q2 before Vettel, who was sent back out on-track with just enough time to start another timed lap, leaped from 17th to the top.

By then, however, it was virtually a zero-sum game for Ferrari as the four-time world champion’s effort knocked Leclerc, who was already sitting in pit lane, back to 16th.

That capped off an eventful afternoon for the Monegasque, who had to be pushed back to his weighbridge when he missed it five minutes earlier.

He was also reprimanded after Practice 3, in which he was fastest, for a breach of procedure during a Virtual Safety Car necessitated when Vettel locked up and hit the wall at Sainte Devote.

Race start is scheduled for Sunday at 2310 AEST, with 78 laps the journey.

Results: Qualifying

Pos Num Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.542 1:10.835 1:10.166
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:11.562 1:10.701 1:10.252
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:11.597 1:10.618 1:10.641
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:11.434 1:11.227 1:10.947
5 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 1:11.740 1:11.457 1:11.041
6 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:11.865 1:11.363 1:11.109
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:11.767 1:11.543 1:11.218
8 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:11.602 1:11.412 1:11.271
9 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:11.872 1:11.608 1:11.417
10 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:12.007 1:11.429 1:11.653
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:12.097 1:11.670
12 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:11.845 1:11.724
13 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:11.837 1:12.027
14 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:11.993 1:12.115
15 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:11.976 1:12.185
16 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:12.149
17 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:12.233
18 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:12.846
19 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:13.477
20 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:13.751

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