Monaco GP: Lewis Hamilton steals stunning pole from Valtteri Bottas
Emotional Hamilton 0.086s ahead of Bottas after superb final lap; Verstappen third; Ferrari struggle with Vettel 0.7s off pole, and Leclerc eliminated in Q1; Watch Monaco GP on Sunday on Sky F1
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 25/05/19 7:54pm
Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position off Valtteri Bottas in a typically frenetic Monaco GP qualifying, as Mercedes held Red Bull at bay while Ferrari struggled.
Bottas looked set for a first Monte Carlo pole before Hamilton stole top spot with a 1:10.166 on his final Q3 lap, finishing 0.086s ahead of his team-mate on one of the most crucial Saturdays of the season.
"He has absolutely magically pulled that pole position out of the bag," said Sky F1's Martin Brundle about Hamilton, who was clearly emotional after his record-breaking lap around F1's famous streets.
"That's what I'm talking about!," Hamilton yelled over team radio, before adding: "The lap was beautiful."
Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull, almost half a second off the pace, while Sebastian Vettel, who crashed out in final practice, was 0.7s back in fourth and scraped against the barrier on his last lap.
Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc had an even scruffier session - eliminated in Q1 as Ferrari left him in the pits as drivers improved in the closing stages.
Leclerc is therefore set to start his home race from 15th - moved up a place thanks to Antonio Giovinazzi's penalty.
Pierre Gasly finished fifth for Red Bull but has been handed a three-place grid-penalty for blocking Haas' Romain Grosjean in Q2, so will line up eighth.
That pushes Kevin Magnussen up a place in the sister Haas, along with Daniel Ricciardo, last year's winner, who used his Monaco magic to qualify seventh in the Renault.
Daniel Kvyat will start seventh while Alex Albon was 10th for the impressive Toro Rosso, with Carlos Sainz ninth for McLaren.
Spanish GP Qualifying: Top 10
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
5) Pierre Gasly, Red Bull*
6) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
7) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
8) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
9) Carlos Sainz, McLaren
10) Alex Albon, Toro Rosso
*has three-place grid penalty
Talk about Monaco emotion...
Mercedes brilliance, Ferrari hit troubles again
Having looked to have the dominant Monaco package throughout practice, a fifth Mercedes front-row lockout of the season wasn't a huge surprise. But seeing Hamilton on pole rather than Bottas after their first Q3 laps was somewhat unexpected.
Hamilton was two tenths of a second off Bottas for provisional pole but was the only driver out of the top four to improve on his last lap, while the Finn couldn't get his tyres in the right window on his out-lap.
"That's the thing about Lewis, it's never over until the last effort because he's such a fighter," said Sky F1's Anthony Davidson.
It was Hamilton's 85th career pole, but remarkably only his second in Monaco.
When's the Monaco GP on Sky?
When and how to watch F1's most famous races on Sky Sports F1 this weekend - plus the Indianapolis 500 too!
All eyes will be on the Mercedes championship rivals come lights out on Sunday, with the run-up to Turn One so crucial on such a narrow street circuit.
Red Bull and Ferrari never looked likely to challenge but one team will be happier than the other. Christian Horner hailed Monaco as Red Bull's "best qualifying of the season" - but that won't be said about Ferrari's.
Leclerc, after a weighbridge mishap, was left in the Ferrari garage in Q1 and then watched other drivers improve, including his team-mate, to drop him down to 16th and out of the session.
"It's a very difficult one to take," Leclerc told Sky F1. "I need some explanations."
F1 2019 is just not going Ferrari's way.
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"It's just one error after another, after another," added Davidson. "And when you look at Mercedes, its such a slick operation, from both a driver point of view and the team.
"At least if you don't have a fast enough car, do everything else in your power."
Vettel was Ferrari's last hope but, stretching for every tenth on his last lap, the German knocked into the barriers and fourth was all he could manage.
"The front tyres for us didn't work today," said Vettel. "We need to dig deeper. It is what it is - we need to accept it even if we don't want to."
When's the race?
The Monaco GP GP starts at 2.10pm on Sunday, live on Sky F1. Build-up coverage begins at 12.30pm and will be available through Race Control on the Sky Sports App as well as on Sky Go and the Sky F1 channel.
Monaco GP Qualifying Timesheet
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:10.166|
|2) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.086|
|3) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.475|
|4) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+0.781|
|5) Pierre Gasly*||Red Bull||+0.875|
|6) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+0.943|
|7) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+1.052|
|8) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1.105|
|9) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.251|
|10) Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||+1.487|
|Out in Q2|
|11) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:11.670|
|12) Lando Norris||McLaren||1:11.724|
|13) Romain Grosjean||Haas||1:12.027|
|14) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:12.115|
|15) Antonio Giovinazzi*||Alfa Romeo||1:12.185|
|Out in Q1|
|16) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1:12.149|
|17) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:12.233|
|18) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:12.846|
|19) George Russell||Williams||1:13.477|
|20) Robert Kubica||Williams||1:13.751|
|*has three-place grid penalty for the race|
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