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Monaco GP Qualifying: Charles Leclerc edges out Oscar Piastri to take pole for Ferrari at his home race

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc delivered under pressure to claim a third pole position at his home race; Oscar Piastri second for McLaren; Max Verstappen only sixth; watch the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday at 2pm, live on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 12.30pm

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Watch qualifying highlights from the Saturday of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc beat Oscar Piastri to pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix as world championship leader Max Verstappen only qualified sixth.

Leclerc went into the session as the hot favourite after topping second and third practice, but the Ferrari driver still needed to deliver under massive pressure at his home race and did so with a stunning lap of 1:10.270.

McLaren's Piastri continued the impressive form he has also shown throughout the weekend to join Leclerc on the front row.

The second row will also be Ferrari-McLaren after Carlos Sainz edged out Lando Norris, although the former had to endure a nervous wait after the session before he was cleared of impeding Williams' Alex Albon in Q1.

World championship leader Max Verstappen had struggled with the handling of his Red Bull throughout practice, but likely would have been higher than the sixth place he took after blowing his final flying lap by hitting a wall at the first corner.

Verstappen, who was denied a record ninth successive pole position, starts between the two Mercedes cars, with George Russell turning around the practice form guide to take fifth, with Lewis Hamilton seventh.

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Watch Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu get knocked out in Q1 at the Monaco Grand Prix

Red Bull's woes were furthered by Sergio Perez making a surprise exit in the first part of the session, with the Mexican left with little hope of scoring significant points on Sunday from 18th on the grid.

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The chief beneficiaries of the early exits of Perez and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso were RB's Yuki Tsunoda, Albon and Alpine's Pierre Gasly, who produced strong performances to round out the top 10.

Haas duo Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, who initially qualified 12th and 15th respectively, were later disqualified due to a non-compliant rear wing element on their cars. The pair are now set to start Sunday's race from the pit lane at the rear of the field.

Leclerc will come under renewed pressure on Sunday as he seeks to win at home for the first time, having failed to do so after claiming pole position in 2021 and 2022.

The 26-year-old's bad luck around his home track has led to many suggesting he has a 'curse' at the famous street circuit, and he will need to be focused for all 78 laps of Sunday's race to claim what would be a hugely popular victory.

Monaco GP Qualifying: Top 10

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

2) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

4) Lando Norris, McLaren

5) George Russell, Mercedes

6) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

8) Yuki Tsunoda, RB

9) Alex Albon, Williams

10) Pierre Gasly, Alpine

Third time lucky for Leclerc?

Leclerc had appeared to be in a league of his own as he cruised to the top of the timesheet in the final two practice sessions, but it quickly became apparent in qualifying that his task wouldn't be simple.

The Monegasque appeared to be feeling the pressure in Q1 as he complained over team radio about Ferrari's decision to run out of sync with the other cars, leaving him exposed to traffic. His cause was not helped when he was forced to pit after a piece of a hoarding got stuck in his front wing.

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Charles Leclerc claims pole position on home soil at the Monaco Grand Prix, with Oscar Piastri claiming second and Carlos Sainz third

After overcoming those issues to progress, the McLarens and Verstappen showed the threat they represented as Norris topped Q2 from Verstappen and Piastri.

But it was always all about Q3, when the top drivers were really going to go all out and risk everything between the waiting walls of the historic circuit.

Leclerc put in a strong lap, but the pressure remained, with Piastri less than three hundredths of a second back after the first runs, and Verstappen lurking in third.

It was at that point Leclerc truly delivered, bettering his first flying lap by more than a tenth, as Piastri was only able to make the most minimal improvement.

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Watch onboard as Charles Leclerc takes pole position in Monaco.

The pole was Ferrari's 250th as an F1 constructor and the 24th of Leclerc's career, which saw him surpass Niki Lauda to have the most poles for the Italian team after Michael Schumacher.

Leclerc said: "It was nice. The feeling after a qualifying lap is very special here. Really happy about the lap. The excitement is so high. It feels really good

"However, now I know more often than not in the past, that qualifying is not everything. As much as it helps, we need to put everything together for Sunday's race. In the past here we didn't manage to do so, but we are in a stronger position and we are a stronger team. I'm sure we can achieve great things tomorrow and the win is the target."

Verstappen error deepens Red Bull disappointment

Despite struggling with his car throughout practice, as had been the case before he took pole and won in Imola a week ago, Verstappen still posed a major threat to Leclerc.

Aside from a flying Piastri, the Dutchman appeared the most likely driver to deny the home favourite, with his position after the first runs in Q3 proving as much.

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Lando Norris topped Q2 as Max Verstappen showed strong pace.

Verstappen appeared on course for another hugely dominant season after winning four of the first five races as he seeks a fourth successive drivers' title, but he has come under pressure in recent weeks.

Norris won in Miami before pushing Verstappen to the chequered flag in Imola, while Verstappen admitted that the bumpy nature of the Monaco track with its many kerbs was unlikely to suit the RB20 this weekend.

He appeared to have done a good job of optimising his set-up going into qualifying, but ultimately pushed too hard at the start of his flying lap and slid into the wall with his left rear tyre on the way out of Sainte-Devote.

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says their weak points in Monaco GP qualifying was turn 5 and turn 10 and that they have to learn and apply lessons to the RB21 car.

It was unlikely Verstappen had enough pace to beat the Ferrari on this occasion, but the Dutchman's error is likely to cost him points on Sunday, with having the opportunity to close a 48-point deficit at the top of the drivers' standings.

Red Bull are also highly likely to have their 56-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors' standings reduced, after Perez made a messy Q1 exit.

Monaco GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:10.270
2) Oscar Piasti McLaren +0.154
3) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.248
4) Lando Norris McLaren +0.272
5) George Russell Mercedes +0.273
6) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.297
7) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.351
8) Yuki Tsunoda RB +0.588
9) Alex Albon Williams +0.678
10) Pierre Gasly Alpine +1.041
Knocked out in Q2
11) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:11.285
12) Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:11.440
13) Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:11.482
14) Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:11.563
15) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:11.725
Knocked out in Q1
16) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:12.019
17) Logan Sargeant Williams 1:12.020
18) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:12.060
19) Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:12.512
20) Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:13.028

Sky Sports F1's live Monaco GP and Indy 500 schedule

Sunday May 26
6.55am: F3 Feature Race
8.35am: F2 Feature Race
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Monaco GP build-up*
4pm: Chequered Flag: Monaco GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook
5.30pm: The Indy 500

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

It's time for the most-famous F1 race of them all - the Monaco Grand Prix. Watch every session from the famous street circuit live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 2pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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