Push for pole
Saturday’s qualifying was highly anticipated, with many drivers in with a chance of making pole.
The session started a car short, as Mick Schumacher’s Haas was unable to take to the track.
Fernando Alonso was eliminated in Q1and Daniel Ricciardo went out in Q2, which were huge surprises.
Verstappen took the early lead in Q3, which would have felt much better knowing that his main rival, Lewis Hamilton, was off the pace.
A big run was expected from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and the Frenchman delivered the fastest lap of Q3. With only 18 seconds left of qualifying, Verstappen was on a red-hot lap, which he had to abandon after Leclerc crashed into the barriers. The crash ended the session early, handing Leclerc pole position.
Not many highlights to this one
The crash in qualifying had caused a lot of damage to Leclerc’s car, including to the gearbox.
A gearbox change is allowed, but penalised, so Ferrari decided to take a risk, knowing that a penalty would destroy any chance Leclerc would have for victory.
The decision ended up putting Leclerc out of the race, handing Verstappen a clear run to the first corner.
As predicted, the race lacked overtaking, yet the field were tightly packed for the majority of it. In fact, the first overtake didn’t happen until the 24th lap, when the front runners lapped Mazepin.
It was around that time when both Bottas and Verstappen were communicating with their teams. Verstappen was talking up his tyres, clearly wanting to stay out as long as possible, while Bottas was explaining how the same tyres were “almost gone”.
On lap 30, Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to enter the pits, quickly followed by Bottas a lap later.
Unfortunately, any chance Bottas had was gone as the front-right wheel was stuck. The problem couldn’t be fixed, retiring Bottas.
At the same time, Hamilton was complaining on the radio as he somehow lost out to Vettel, and couldn’t pass Gasly. To add insult to injury, Hamilton lost another place, to Sergio Perez who was overcutting Vettels pitstop.
Hamilton did decide to pit again late on to try and grab the bonus point for the fastest lap, which he did with ease.
Unfortunately, that point wasn’t enough to prevent Max Verstappen from taking the lead of the Driver’s championship.
Carlos Sainz finished second to give Ferrari a well-deserved podium, with Lando Norris bringing a beautiful looking Livery McLaren car home in third.
Monaco will remain the blue-ribbon race of the calendar, but one that will never thrill fans. No overtakes, no safety cars, and no drama. Next stop, Azerbaijan.