Hamilton beats out Bottas as Leclerc suffers Monaco nightmare

By Rob Lancaster 25 May 2019 1016
Hamilton beats out Bottas as Leclerc suffers Monaco nightmare

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix as Charles Leclerc endured a qualifying nightmare for his home race.

Hamilton set a new lap record around the street circuit to edge out team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes locked up the front row for a fifth time in six attempts this season.

Bottas had seemed set to be on pole for a fourth straight race, breaking the record twice himself before he was overhauled in the closing seconds of Q3.

While Mercedes once again dominated, Ferrari's decision to save their tyres for the closing stages in the hope of competing at the end of the session backfired spectacularly, with Leclerc failing to even make it out of Q1.

Sebastian Vettel pushed his colleague the wrong side of the cut line with one last charge, meaning the local favourite languishes down in 16th on the grid.

German Vettel twice came into contact with barriers but still ended up in fourth, meaning he will start Sunday's race alongside Max Verstappen's Red Bull on the second row.

Still, at a venue where overtaking is tough, Hamilton will have high hopes of extending his lead in the title race as he and Bottas look set to battle it out.

"It doesn't matter how many times you come here, it's still a dream. It means so much to me, I had to dig deeper than ever," the reigning world champion said after clinching the 85th pole of his Formula One career.

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