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Monaco GP | Leclerc takes pole despite crashing

Monegasque could face grid penalty; Verstappen alongside on front row; Hamilton only seventh

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed to pole position at his home Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday, with rivals unable to better his time after red flags halted qualifying for Formula One’s showcase race.

The 23-year-old smashed into the barriers with 18 seconds of the session remaining and faced an anxious wait to see if the damaged car can be repaired without incurring any grid penalties.

“With the crash, I don’t know where I’m starting tomorrow,” said Leclerc. “I’m not feeling well for now, I’m just waiting for the mechanics to open the gearbox.”

Chance for Verstappen

Red Bull’s title contender Max Verstappen was one of those who had to abort their final flying laps but the Dutch driver stands to inherit pole if the Ferrari needs a new gearbox, triggering a grid drop.

“It was all going really well and the red flag ruined the chance for pole,” said Verstappen.

Mercedes’ world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who leads Verstappen by 14 points after four races but had struggled through the session and in practice, qualified a distant seventh. “We go back to the drawing board now,” said the seven-time world champion. “There is a lack of grip, so that leaves you to overdrive the car and unfortunately it just didn’t improve.”

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said it was too early to know whether the gearbox was damaged. “We are worried but we are checking it,” he said.

Starting grid:

Front row: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull); Second: Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari); Third: Lando Norris (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri); Fourth: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), ebastian Vettel (Aston Martin); Fifth: Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo); Sixth: Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren); Seventh: Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo); Eighth: George Russell (Williams), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri); Ninth: Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Nicholas Latifi (Williams); 10th: Nikita Mazepin (Haas), Mick Schumacher (Haas).

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