Qualifying
F1 2021
Round 5

A Front Row Start For Verstappen In Monaco

mc Circuit de Monaco

A frustrating end to qualifying saw Max miss out on a good chance of pole position due to a red flag in Monaco, although second place on the time sheet for the Dutchman makes this Honda’s first front row start at Monaco since Jenson Button also lined up on the number two grid position in 2004.

A Front Row Start For Verstappen In Monaco

The first part of qualifying was a hectic session as drivers found that constant lapping would see times dropping the longer running went on. Max, Sergio and Pierre all advanced safely but Yuki was unfortunate to drop out in Q1 on his first visit to Monaco, as he was just 0.018s behind four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and will start from 16th on the grid.

 

In a sign of how competitive qualifying in Monaco is this year, not only were the times close but drivers from seven different teams progressed to the final top ten shoot-out, including Max in second place, Sergio fifth and Pierre eighth.



After the first runs, Charles Leclerc was on provisional pole ahead of Max, but the Red Bull Racing driver was flying on his final attempt and had set the fastest first sector when Leclerc crashed at the Swimming Pool chicane, bringing out the red flags that meant Q3 ended and Max was unable to complete his lap to improve.

 

That also locked in Pierre in a very impressive sixth place after a strong run, while Sergio was also left frustrated after encountering a lot of traffic at Rascasse on his final attempt and being restricted to ninth on the grid.



Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
It was generally a positive Monaco qualifying performance with three Honda-powered drivers in the top ten. It is encouraging that Max Verstappen will start from the front row in his Red Bull Racing Honda although today’s result is a bit frustrating as it looked as though his final lap would have been good enough for pole position, until the session was red flagged. His team-mate, Sergio Perez, who was ninth fastest was not quite as confident with the car and also was unlucky with a lot of traffic at the end of his last lap. For Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, Pierre Gasly has been strong since the start of practice and maximised his performance in qualifying to finish sixth which is a very good position for tomorrow. As for Yuki Tsunoda, this was his first ever qualifying at Monaco and he just missed the cut to Q2 by 0.02 seconds and was in the same area as more experienced drivers. Hopefully he can finish the race tomorrow which will be very valuable experience for him. While it is true that grid position is very important here, the race is long and anything can happen. The start is the key moment and we will be taking that into consideration in our preparations for the race.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing Honda
Qualifying around here is a lot of fun. I did a decent first lap in Q3 but the tyres weren’t quite in the window and I knew it was going to come down to the last run. My last lap felt really good as I was going into the tunnel, but because of the red flag I couldn’t finish it which was frustrating as I felt so comfortable in the car and I knew pole position was on. Obviously Charles is driving very well so I knew it would be tight but everyone back at the factory and here at the track has done an amazing job to get the car to where it is now, especially after we struggled so much on Thursday. I think it’s been a very good weekend so far, we recovered well from practice and we’re starting on the front row tomorrow, which is the most important thing in Monaco, so it’s not too bad. I can be quite happy with second after that red flag and now we just need to finish off the job tomorrow!

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
I’m extremely happy with my Qualifying, I think we did the best with the car we had whilst others didn’t maximise their lap, and to Qualify where we have today is definitely a massive achievement. I’m very pleased with all the work the team has done, to give me such a strong car when it mattered, I think it was one of my best laps of the weekend and I’m so glad it all came together today in Q3. The car operates so differently here than at other tracks so it’s all about playing with the limits and getting as close to the walls as possible. We need a strong start tomorrow and to really work hard on our strategy. We obviously have fast cars starting behind us tomorrow, but we know how hard it is to overtake here in Monaco, so we need to stay focused and have a clean race. I think we can aim for good points and I really hope we can come away with a big reward for all the work the team have been doing. I still get an adrenaline rush driving round the streets here in Monte Carlo, it’s such a fast track with these cars and your concentration has always got to be super high. The feeling it gives you here, you don’t get that anywhere else, it’s the best feeling in life and that’s why it’s my favourite track.  I’m loving the atmosphere, especially all the French fans, so to come away with a good result in front of a crowd again would be really exciting.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing Honda
I was making good progress throughout qualifying and then in Q3, the session I thought was going to be the smoothest, turned into the worst one. Things got really messy and it just didn’t come together. We seemed to go backwards and we didn’t make the progress we hoped or expected to. I was struggling a lot with the dropping temperatures so we changed our approach going into the final session and it just made it worse, and then on my final Q3 run I got traffic in the last sector so I lost the lap. We know how important qualifying is here in Monaco but we’ll try and do the best possible job we can to recover tomorrow.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
This weekend has obviously been a challenge, having never driven in Monaco before, but I think my Qualifying lap was quite good and I was unlucky to miss out on Q2. We’d planned on doing three push laps but only managed two. Having to go to the weighbridge during the session affected our plan and then we hit traffic in sector two on my best lap. We have to analyse all the data and see where my weaknesses are compared to Pierre and then hopefully, I can improve to be able to fight with him in Q3. I think we’re definitely seeing improvements race-to-race though and I’m happy with the performance in the car.


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