First place in qualifying again: Charles Leclerc uses his home advantage. A confident performance. The world champion and championship leader follows in fourth place. There are good things for the German duo – a top ten place – and less good things.

In the fight against his home curse, Charles Leclerc put in the first brilliant performance at the Glamor Grand Prix and once again secured pole position in the narrow streets of Monaco. The 24-year-old Ferrari driver withstood the pressure of expectations and with a fabulous lap on the just 3.337-kilometre circuit relegated his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz to second place by 0.225 seconds. “It’s something very special. I’m really happy,” he said to the cheers of the spectators on Saturday. “I was at the limit.”

Third was Sergio Perez in the Red Bull, who, however, hit the guardrail with the rear of his car shortly before the end, stopped in front of the tunnel and, after a rear-end collision with Sainz, caused a traffic jam and the premature end. “It looks bad,” Perez said of possible damage to the car, especially the impact of Sainz destroyed a lot.

Mick Schumacher misses the top ten

Perez’s teammate and world champion Max Verstappen, who is six points ahead of Leclerc in the rankings, was unable to improve after the crash in the last minute, he followed in fourth place. “Today we couldn’t get pole,” commented team boss Christian Horner, “Charles was strong”.

Record world champion Lewis Hamilton only managed eighth place in the Mercedes, teammate George Russell was sixth. Sebastian Vettel also finished ninth in the Aston Martin in the top ten. Unlike Mick Schumacher: 15th place for the Haas driver.

Packed grandstands, busy yachts in the harbour, plenty of sun – Monaco showed its bright side for the first big decision of the weekend. Nowhere else is the starting grid so crucial – in the past twelve races the eventual winner started from the front row.

Princess Charlène and Prince Albert first walked through the pit lane, here a chat and a warm welcome with Verstappen, there with Vettel. The music boomed from the outrageously expensive boats before it finally started. 3.337 kilometers, every mistake is punished. Leclerc knows it, he took pole a year ago, but demolished his car just before the end. In the race he could not start, Verstappen won.

Charles Leclerc has never made it to the finish in the race

This time Leclerc wants to end his Monaco curse – he has never finished in Formula 1. And it should start with the pole. Best time on Friday in both training sessions, but only second just before the knockout elimination. And just how close it can be was shown in the first 18 minutes when Perez and Sainz in the first two places were equally fast, down to a thousandth of a second. Ultimately, however, Leclerc could not be defeated in the first part of qualifying either.

Five were eliminated, at least it got a little emptier on the track. That didn’t change anything at first about the wafer-thin distances in the hunt for the best time. 15 thousandths of a second separated Perez at the top of Sainz, 33 thousandths of a second from Leclerc, before the much-acclaimed local hero really stepped on the gas and was the first to stay under 1:12 minutes.

Mick Schumacher’s qualification was over 1.2 seconds behind Leclerc before the final round. A difficult race awaits the 23-year-old this Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky) from what is expected to be the fourth-last starting row.

However, that could also apply to the drivers at the front. Because according to the forecasts, the probability of precipitation is not low and that means: Even higher risk of crashes in the narrow streets.

In order to avoid all imponderables in qualifying, for example due to the crash of a rival, Leclerc also set the best time in the final twelve minutes. And nobody got there.