Monaco, 25 May 2019 (dpa/MIA) – World champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed the all-important pole position ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Hamilton set a track record of 1 minute 10.166 seconds in securing his second pole of the season and the 85th of his career, while Ferrari were left to a rue a mistake which left Charles Leclerc out in the first session in his home race.
Bottas, who had earlier also set a track record, was just 0.086 seconds behind Hamilton to lock out the front row of the grid for Mercedes for the street race in which overtaking is difficult.
“Big thank you to the crowd; this is the race every driver dreams of when you are a child, you put absolutely everything you have got into it,” Hamilton said.
“All the guys in the factory have put in everything. Valtteri has been quick all weekend. To get this, it means so much, I had to dig deeper than ever. The lap was beautiful; I feel amazing and super grateful.”
Mercedes are seeking a sixth straight one-two finish while Hamilton is out to extend his narrow seven-point lead over Bottas in the championship.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fourth, but it was another bad day for the Italian team with Vettel’s team-mate Leclerc starting 16th on the grid and with little chance now of a victory.
The 21-year-old Monegasque, who was fastest in the day’s earlier third practice, was kept in the garage and could only watch as Vettel made the cut at the last minute, and will start 16th, his weekend almost certainly ruined.
“I don’t have any explanation,” he said. “Very difficult one to take. We had plenty of time to go out again. I need some explanations.
“Hopefully there will be rain tomorrow, and that will be a lottery. If it is dry, it will be boring. I will have to take a lot of risks tomorrow because this is a track that is basically impossible to overtake on.
“It is disappointing. It has been a difficult day and hopefully tomorrow will be better.”
Bottas was meanwhile disappointed to be edged at the end by Hamilton after had set the pace with a track record.
“Anything can happen in the race – there’s no point giving up on Saturday,” he said. “It would’ve been nice to have been on pole, but I won’t give up.”
The remaining top 10 positions were filled by Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen in a Haas, Daniel Ricciardo in a Renault, Daniil Kvyat in a Toro Rosso, Carlos Sainz in a McLaren and Alexander Albon in a Toro Rosso.
Also out in the first session were Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, and the Williams pair George Russell and Robert Kubica.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Lando Norris in a McLaren, Romain Grosjean in a Haas, Antonio Giovinazzi and his Alfa Romeo team-mate Kimi Raikkonen missed the cut in the second session.