Piastri to start on front row in Monaco as Verstappen’s record run ends



Verstappen had been third fastest after the initial round of fast laps in the final top 10 shootout, with Leclerc setting a time of one minute 10.418 seconds and Piastri 1:10.444.

Leclerc shrugged off the pressure to improve his time with a final effort of 1:10.270, while Piastri also shaved 0.020 of a second off his previous best.

Verstappen, wrestling with his car since Friday practice, threw everything at it but his first corner mistake effectively cost him three places on a circuit where overtaking is very difficult and races are often processional.

“I’m not disappointed with the position, I’m disappointed with our performance,” he told Sky Sports television.

“It’s not come as a surprise to me because I knew our limitations coming into this weekend. It’s been bad. I can’t take any kerbs.

“In the middle sector, I’m driving around the kerbs. It feels like I’m driving a go-kart, with no suspension and no damping.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz qualified third, but faced an investigation for alleged impeding Williams’ Alex Albon in the opening session.

The Spaniard said the priority for Sunday’s race would be to help Leclerc win, while McLaren’s Lando Norris was fourth.

Mercedes’ George Russell will share the third row with Verstappen.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton secured seventh place, a disappointment after the Briton’s strong showing in practice, with RB’s Yuki Tsunoda eighth.

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“The team have worked really hard back at the factory to bring an upgrade to the last two races and also an upgrade this weekend but we only have one, which George has,” said Hamilton.

“I anticipated it would be difficult to out-qualify George because he has the upgraded component but it’s great to see we are bringing upgrades.”

Albon qualified ninth for Williams and Pierre Gasly a morale-boosting 10th for struggling Renault-owned Alpine in the closest thing to a home race for the Frenchman.

Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg were disqualified from the qualifying results due to having a non-compliant rear wing element on their cars.

Instead of starting from their original positions of 12th and 15th, they will set off from the back of the grid.

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was the big casualty of the first phase of qualifying with the Mexican set to line up on 18th after getting caught in traffic before being moved up to 16th due to the Haas disqualifications.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, another past Monaco winner, also had a bad day and will start 14th.

Reuters

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