The Saturday in F1 Monaco GP was super important and hectic which more or less decides how the grand prix is to pan out as Ferrari came out on top.

It was hectic on Saturday of F1 Monaco GP as expected with qualifying being the prime decider of how the grand prix is to pan out. The starting position is crucial considering the lack of overtaking opportunities presented where only miracles are awaited.

And Ferrari were on top in the end after Charles Leclerc took F1 Monaco GP pole and Carlos Sainz improved to be third. The Monegasque had some scare in Q1 and Q2 due to lack of pace when compared to how his practice sessions panned out.

But he brought his A-game in Q3 to secure pole, while Sainz also managed to find some consistency. They were separated by McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who continued his fine F1 qualifying performance and this time getting to start from the front row.

His teammate Lando Norris too upped his pace to be fourth as Red Bull were down and out pretty much, with Max Verstappen only sixth and Sergio Perez getting knocked out in Q1. The Dutchman wasn’t surprised by his performance as he pretty much expected it.

Since they are unable to tackle the bumps and the kerbs, Verstappen’s hands were tied with Perez also resigning to the fact that points will be difficult. He had company of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who was also knocked out in Q1 itself.

Timing was wrong on his side as he reckoned the car was good enough for Q3, even though Lance Stroll couldn’t make it in Q3. Mercedes, meanwhile, continued their good showing and George Rusell finally came around to finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Leclerc: “It feels as good as the first one. I think in Monaco, the emotions you get, the tension that you have before getting into the car is so much more than anywhere else on the calendar. So yeah, once you finish the lap and you hear that you’re on pole position, it’s always a very special feeling. However, maybe in the past the emotions were staying for longer, but now obviously having started twice on pole and not bringing the victory, which is at the end what matters the most, is where my mind is at the moment, just trying to prepare and make everything possible. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster. The weekend has been incredible until after FP3 where there was an issue with my engine and there was an engine swap at the very last minute, which was quite tricky. But fortunately for me, there wasn’t any consequence for my weekend. In Q1 it was very tricky, I took that sticker, that sponsor sticker on the lap. That was pretty important at that time, which slowed us down quite a bit.

“Then we pitted, we took off the sponsor banner from the front wing, we went again. So that was already quite tricky, because in qualifying in Monaco you just want to be out and just do normal laps, so I was just praying for no yellow flags or red flags after that. Luckily for me, it was okay. Then in Q2, we struggled a little bit more with the balance of the car. I couldn’t find the right feeling. But then in Q3, we did some modifications, especially with the front wing and the tools and my driving, and then I found the pace again, so I was a little bit happier in Q3. But the feeling was, for some reason, a bit better in FP2, FP3. As always, we just try to approach every race the same. Obviously, having in mind that it’s Monaco here, track position is very important, and we’ll try to maximise our race and take that victory. Yeah, all of what I said is very obvious, but we are just trying to approach it as a normal race, and that’s what we’ll do.  I didn’t see many times people losing into Turn 1, so I guess it’s a very short run down to Turn 1. But never say never. Obviously, we’ll focus on the start and we’ll see what happens.”

Piastri: “I think on the whole, very happy with it. We were struggling a little bit through the weekend. We didn’t really know quite where we sat. A bit of work to do after FP3, but the car felt very good in qualifying. I think the last lap of Q3, there are a few corners I wish I could have again, but yeah, when you’re pushing so hard, it’s kind of inevitable that there’s going to be mistakes here and there. So no, very happy with it. I think the pace in the car was good. And yeah, I think for a Monaco qualifying, it went reasonably smoothly. I hit the wall pretty hard in Q2, so that was a bit of a scare. Apart from that, it was a smooth qualifying and happy to be on the front row and hopefully staying on the front row this week.

“I think Turn 5 and Turn 10, the chicane after the tunnel, were not my best. I think the rest of the lap was pretty solid, just struggled a little bit in those two corners. Whether it would have been enough for pole, I’m not sure. Yeah, I mean, for me, it’s pretty pointless saying if you could have done… Max summed it up very well a few weeks ago. I won’t repeat it, but it’s a good analogy, and I think everybody can say the same. So, yeah, pretty happy with it on the whole. I mean, the run to Turn 1 is always your best chance at any track. Here, obviously, it’s a very short run, like we know. Yeah, the strategy, you can try something because unless there’s a massive pace difference, which I’m pretty sure there won’t be, then overtaking is impossible here. So, yeah, it’ll be won or lost in the pits, probably. So make sure we have a good day.”

Sainz: “Just summing up the weekend in general, it’s been a bit of a struggle for me right from the beginning. I haven’t been as confident as I normally am around Monaco and I haven’t been at my best. Luckily, we stepped it up for quali and in quali I was feeling one step better. Unfortunately, it was a bit too late and I was still lacking those last couple of tenths from confidence. Anyway, very happy to see Charles putting it on pole and the team having such a strong car around Monaco and being in a position to win the race with Charles tomorrow. Overall, I think I’m very happy for the team. A bit unfortunate that the weekend that I’ve struggled the most with the car has to be in Monaco, where qualifying is so important. Just a lack of confidence. Like Oscar was saying, you need a lot of commitment around here, and maybe this lack of confidence around another track would be half a tenth to a tenth of commitment.

“In Monaco means it’s two or three tenths. Luckily for quali, as I said, i stepped it up and I was a bit closer but there were stages of the weekend that I was really, really lacking, really struggling, which is a bit of a new thing for me around Monaco because I’ve normally felt really comfortable around here. So something we will have to look into. but yeah, keeping the positives, we managed to save the weekend with a with a decent couple of laps in Q3, and we will go from there tomorrow. We will see what we can do at the start, what we can do with strategy in order to do every single bit possible to help Charles to go and get that win. He’s been driving amazing all weekend. I think part of that delta comes from Charles also being super committed and having a particularly strong weekend. This weekend I think he’s been on it since FP1 and he’s been extremely quick. So yeah, we will do everything we can to win the race tomorrow.”

Verstappen: “We tried a lot of things on the car and literally nothing made it better, so then you’re just stuck. In the second sector we are so bad, just because I can’t touch any kerbs because it just upsets the car way too much. You just lose a lot of lap time and it’s incredibly difficult. We went softer stuff for everything, but the car is like a go-kart. It’s like I’m running without suspension, so it’s jumping around a lot; not absorbing any kerb strikes or bumps or camber changes. The last corner, I think the amount of times that I just jumped almost into the wall was really incredible. It is not something new, we have had this problem since 2022.

“Of course, the last few years we have had a car advantage, so it gets masked a little bit because we gain in the corners where the kerbs and bumps are not so much of a limitation. But with everyone catching up, naturally, when you are not improving your weakest point, you get found out and that’s what happened this weekend. It’s not going to be enjoyable. Every lap that I did so far, in the low-speed it’s a challenge to be consistent. Of course, in the race, you don’t push it to the limit, everyone is saving [the car] and just making sure you have the tyres to go with it. We’ll all calm down a little bit. But we don’t have the fastest car anyway, so all the cars that are ahead of us are faster. We’ll just try to follow. It’s Monaco, things can happen, but I also don’t expect miracles.”

Hamilton: “The car has felt great this weekend from the get-go and we were competitive through Friday and this morning in practice. I’ve been pushing the limits everywhere and the qualifying laps felt good. But each time I go into qualifying, I struggle to keep making progress with the car and it feels like I lose performance relative to the cars around me. There was a bit of a difference with our cars in the high-speed corners, as George is running the new wing this weekend, but it is great to see the team pushing so hard to bring upgrades to the last race and this one, too. We have been much closer to the front here, and the car is feeling much better than it has in Monaco in previous years; we just have to keep on pushing and getting closer to the front through the year.”

Perez: “Today was a complete disaster, we didn’t get into the rhythm and we didn’t have the pace. On my final lap when things were looking good, I came to turns six and seven, they were full of traffic, then there were some stickers or something laid down on the track and I couldn’t get the lap that I needed. Two or three tenths would have changed it, but I didn’t get it and then unfortunately the tyres were too warm and I couldn’t get through Q1. We should have been in Q3 and given the margins were so small, a better lap would have changed things dramatically, we were P5 this morning, so we knew what we were capable of. It has been a very tricky, difficult weekend for us and not ideal overall. I am just very disappointed because we couldn’t get the maximum out of the car today and we had so much more potential than we showed. Unfortunately, unless there is some rain tomorrow, we cannot hope for much, there is nearly zero chance to overtake around here.”

Alonso: “It was a case of wrong place and wrong moment today for me. This is Monaco and you need to find some luck here too! I lost quite a bit of lap time with the traffic in Q1 and there is nobody to blame as we can’t expect the traffic to vanish. Heading into Qualifying, we were thinking Q3 looked possible. It will be a tough day tomorrow, but we will take any opportunities that come our way.”

The drop of Perez and Alonso allowed the likes of Visa Cash App RB’s Yuki Tsunoda, Williams’ Alexander Albon and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly to make it in the Top 10. The Japanese driver maintained his consistency when teammate Daniel Ricciardo was hurt of Q2 exit.

Albon reckoned the slow corners and nature of the circuit helped Williams to mask their problems and make it inside the Top 10, as teammate Logan Sargeant thought he did all he could with the difference between the two cars due to updates.

For Alpine, it was a solid turning point after practice troubles. While Gasly make it in Q3 for the first time in F1 2024, Esteban Ocon wasn’t too far behind in 11th. The Haas pair were disqualified eventually, but they were a bit down on pace anyways, much like the double Q1 knockout for Stake F1 Team pair.

Ricciardo: “It was a tough day today. Qualifying is very important here in Monaco and it hurts starting outside the top 10 for tomorrow’s race. Yesterday we felt we were in a good place, I knew there was a little bit to come for us so I was definitely excited coming into today, but unfortunately, it feels like we took a little bit of a backstep. I’m not disappointed with the way I drove, it just simply wasn’t quite enough to get the most out of it where I needed to. The car was slightly trickier in some places and I was struggling a little, but it wasn’t a matter of us making any big mistakes. Personally, I just found it difficult to get the tyres going in the first lap and then, whenever I was able to lift the pace, we couldn’t find as much time as the others. I’ve qualified a few times around this position here and certainly, it won’t make our life easy. It’s frustrating, but we’ll work together with the team to understand a few things better and we’ll try to get on top of it for the race.”

Albon: “It was great out there today; I really enjoyed those laps. We’ve had the car in a good place all weekend, however we’re still struggling a little with understeer in Sector 2, so we’ve made some changes throughout the day to try get on top of it. It was all about getting the tyres in the right window, so we chose clean air, focusing on the tyres and not worrying about the track evolution as much. Looking to tomorrow, graining might be a problem, so we’ll have to manage this throughout the race. Hopefully, I can get some clean air and look after the tyres. On paper, this track is the least weight penalising of the year, so it’s allowed us to play on a slightly more level playing field. For the team, I think with Logan not having the upgrades and with a slightly alternate setup, it was potentially the difference in him making it into Q2.”

Gasly: “I’m very pleased we reached Q3 today for the first time this year. I took a lot of risks and touched the wall one time too many but these are the chances you have to take in Qualifying in Monaco. In the end, I’m pleased with the outcome, even if more was possible. We had to work hard yesterday and the simulator team back at Enstone did a great job to try out a few test items and suggest some changes to improve the car. We know Monaco is a track full of opportunities and we have put ourselves in contention to score points in tomorrow’s race. There’s still a long race ahead of us. We will need to be prepared for many scenarios with the target to come away with points for the team.”

Magnussen: “The pace was there in the car and I think we could’ve been fighting for Q3, and Q3 in Monaco means you score points, so I’m pretty gutted again. We fuelled the car for another lap in case in the first lap we encountered traffic, and we could abort. I started the push lap, gained more than one tenth in the first corner but we aborted the lap. In the second lap, there was traffic the whole lap.”

Bottas: “Today has been a tricky day in the office. I slightly touched the wall this morning during the final practice session; nothing major, as I was still able to take part in Qualifying later in the day. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough one-lap pace to make it past the Q2 threshold – that was pretty straightforward. Overall, it hasn’t been an easy weekend for our team so far. Monaco is one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar – that’s both its best feature and what makes it so demanding. There will be plenty to investigate overnight, to find that extra step that could allow us to slightly improve tomorrow. Things should be a bit better in the race, once everything stabilises, even though it’s not going to be an easy one starting from the very back. Still, not all hope is lost; we know very well how anything can happen here, and we’ll make sure to be at our best to catch any good opportunity.”

Here’s FIA on disqualifying both Haas cars

Here’s how F1 Monaco GP qualifying panned out

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