Max Verstappen noticed off Fernando Alonso to take pole place in a scintillating qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Alonso’s Aston Martin mechanics celebrated wildly after it appeared as if the 41-year-old Spaniard had taken his first pole in 11 years.
But Verstappen delivered a mesmerising closing sector in Monte Carlo to take high spot along with his closing throw of the cube, beating Alonso by simply 0.084 seconds.
Charles Leclerc completed third for Ferrari, one spot forward of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon with Carlos Sainz fifth.
Lewis Hamilton certified sixth for Mercedes, two locations forward of team-mate George Russell, with Sergio Perez set to start out Sunday’s 78-lap race from final place after he crashed out.
“I’m very happy,” mentioned Verstappen. “We knew that this was going to be a little bit of a struggle to get everything together.
“In qualifying you need to go all out and risk it all.
“My first sector wasn’t ideal in my final lap and I was a bit cautious, but then I knew I was behind so in the last sector I just gave it everything I had, clipping a few barriers along the way. I am happy to be on pole here for the first time.”
It has been 3,691 days since Alonso’s final pole within the sport and the rejuvenated Aston Martin driver appeared on track to lastly finish his shedding streak when he quickly moved to the highest of the time charts after declaring he was “pushing like an animal”.
Verstappen was the one driver who might spoil each the goals of Alonso and Aston Martin, and he trailed the Spaniard by two tenths heading into the ultimate sector.
But the double world champion danced his approach by way of the ultimate a part of the circuit to complete away from Alonso and declare a pole which he might be anticipated to transform into his fourth victory from the opening six rounds.
Alonso mentioned: “Obviously pole position means a lot in Monaco, but today Max was a little bit faster, which is a shame.
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow in terms of strategy and if there is any weather coming. We will try to win it.
“It’s a very short run into Turn 1. We normally have a good start. Max is a bit inconsistent so maybe he has one of those bad ones tomorrow.”
Mercedes had been banking on their much-anticipated improve offering them with a springboard to problem the grid’s all-conquering Red Bull crew.
But on its grand unveiling right here within the sun-cooked principality, Hamilton was at odds along with his new machine.
The British driver, who crashed out of ultimate observe following a mistake on the right-hander Mirabeau, missed the chicane in Q1, solely avoiding an early tub along with his closing lap, earlier than scrambling into Q3 after he grazed the wall on the swimming pool chicane.
“Man this car is hard to drive, mate,” mentioned the seven-time world champion, who additionally reported there was “something wrong” along with his right-rear suspension.
He completed 4 tenths behind Verstappen in Q3 with team-mate Russell six tenths adrift.
Perez is Verstappen’s closest championship challenger, however the Mexican driver will begin the race behind the pack.
The operating was simply six minutes previous when Perez – 14 factors adrift of Verstappen within the standings – carried an excessive amount of velocity by way of the opening Sainte Devote nook and thudded into the wall.
Perez sustained intensive harm to the left-hand facet of his Red Bull earlier than coming to a standstill in the midst of the circuit.
“I crashed, I crashed,” mentioned Perez, who now faces shedding critical floor to Verstappen within the championship race with overtaking extraordinarily difficult at this most unusual of configurations.