Max Verstappen Starts on Pole in Monaco, but Fernando Alonso Is Second and Eager To Win

The Monaco GP qualifying is finally over, and we get to see more or less how the very front of the field will finish Sunday's race, as we all know just how vital the starting position is around the principality.
Monaco GP Qualifying 14 photos
Photo: Twitter / Oracle Red Bull Racing
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But before the qualifying rounds even started, fans got a bit more action in the final free practice session. Both Mercedes drivers pushed a bit too hard, with Lewis Hamilton crashing into Mirabeau and bringing out a red flag, while George Russell gave the wall a little love tap just before turning into Rascasse. Hamilton's crash, in particular, was an unwelcome situation, as the team had just brought a new floor upgrade that was revealed to the world as his cart was craned off the track.

Esteban Ocon was another driver to provide a nailbiting moment when his car ran out of power in the tunnel. Thankfully, the French driver could go into safe mode and limp back to the pits without raising another red flag, keeping his chance to qualify well for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Following those few tense moments in the final practice session, the first qualifying round started. And it did so on a rather somber note, as Sergio Perez hit the brakes far too late heading into Sainte Devote, which caused him to lose the rear end and smack the barrier.

This mishap ended the Mexican's qualifying short, meaning he will start the race last and, in turn, will have a lot on his plate regarding damage limitation. The real problem is that no matter how fast the RB19 is compared to the rest of the grid, making up a significant chunk of places is tricky around Monaco. This will cause Checo to fall down in a championship fight that he otherwise managed so well this far.

The other four drivers knocked out in the first round of qualifying were Zhou Guanyu, Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, and Logan Sargeant, leading us to the next session. And just like the first, this one started with a crash. This time, it was Lando Norris who found the barriers and caused some damage to his triple crown livery-adorned McLaren.

Luckily for the British driver, he did set a good enough time to make it into the next qualifying round, unlike his teammate Oscar Piastri. The Australian barely missed out, taking P11, followed by Nyck de Vries, Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll, and Valtteri Bottas.

Fortunately for Aston Martin, while Stroll was knocked out in Q2, their more experienced driver made it to the final round. It was there that Fernando Alonso put in a stellar performance, seizing his best chance so far to challenge Red Bull for a win and securing P2 just 0.084 seconds behind Max Verstappen. That means we're likely to see an epic sprint into turn one with none of the two drivers willing to give an inch, as Fernando is probably eager to win again in Monaco, having last done so in 2007.

But that didn't happen until Ocon put in a magical lap of his own, taking a short-lived provisional pole with a 1:11:553. He was then dispatched down to P4 as Verstappen, Alonso, and Leclerc took the first three spots, although Leclerc was knocked three places down the order following a penalty for impeding Lando Norris. The Dutchman set the pole time of 1:11:365, a full second slower than what F1 cars were achieving in 2021. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz rounded up the top five as defined by the timing sheets, followed by Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Gasly, George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda, and Lando Norris.
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About the author: Bogdan Bebeselea
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As a kid, Bogdan grew up handing his dad the tools needed to work on his old Citroen and asking one too many questions about everything happening inside the engine bay. Naturally, this upbringing led Bogdan to become an engineer, but thanks to Top Gear, The Fast and the Furious series, and racing video games, a passion for automotive entertainment was ignited.
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