Albon secures pole in the Principality of Monaco

Alexander Albon, Baku 2018
Albon competed in qualifying group A

For the third time in a row Alexander Albon was the fastest man in qualifying.

As usual, qualifying in the Principality of Monaco was split into two groups to provide a clearer track for the drivers. Group A consisted of the odd-numbered drivers like Markelov, Norris, Albon or Aitken, Group B included drivers like Russell, de Vries, Ghiotto or Sette Camara.

Under sunny conditions, group A started their first set of flying laps which saw Lando Norris leading the pack, followed by Gelael and Merhi. The rest of the group couldn’t set a representative lap time at the beginning. As a result, with seven minutes to go, the battle for the fastest lap intensified drastically. Markelov went almost a second faster than the Briton, who tried to improve further but hit the wall while exiting Piscine instead. However, as the McLaren reserve driver stayed on track for another lap, he blocked Albon in his fastest attempt at that time. Consequently, the Briton returned to the pits without another attempt and is, in addition to that, under investigation for the incident with Albon.

The times dropped throughout the entire session: Ferrucci topped the timing sheets five minutes before the end, 90 seconds later, Artem Markelov stroke back again. At the end, Albon could outshine the rest of the drivers with a lap time of 1:21.727. While Markelov and Fuoco finished in P2 and P3 respectively, Lando Norris only finished in P9.

Eight minutes later, the second group was underway. Just like a couple of minutes earlier, the first attempts, led by de Vries, weren’t even close to the lap times which were yet to come.

Six minutes before the end of the qualifying, the second efforts began: Sette Camara posted the fastest time of the group, followed by Maini six tenths behind.

De Vries started his final try on a new set of tyres two minutes later. With a decent but not sensational lap, de Vries beat Sette Camara by 1.5 tenths.

Just before the session came to an end, the entire group showed desperate attempts to beat de Vries’ and of course Albon’s time, which was still a hundredth faster than the Dutchman’s.

This eventually led to a massive crash by Sette Camara, who hit the wall at turn 1, bringing out a red flag which stopped the session. Camara stated that his hand may be broken which couldn’t be confirmed so far.

As a result, group A turned out to be faster, which handed the pole position to Albon. Nyck de Vries will start from P2 tomorrow. Artem Markelov can be finally satisfied with his qualifying performance as he will start from third place tomorrow. Championship contenders Russell and Norris are going to have a lot to do, if they still want to score points: The Britons finished the session only in P17 and P18 respectively.

Qualifying Results

Pos. Driver Team Best Gap* Group
1 Alexander Albon DAMS 1:21.727 A
2 Nyck de Vries Prema 1:21.737 B
3 Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:21.834 +0.107 A
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1:21.901 +0.164 B
5 Antonio Fuoco Charouz 1:21.948 +0.221 A
6 Luca Ghiotto Campos 1:22.241 +0.504 B
7 Arjun Maini Trident 1:22.263 +0.526 B
8 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1:22.408 +0.681 A
9 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1:22.307 +0.570 B
10 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1:22.569 +0.842 A
11 Tadasuke Makino Russian Time 1:22.420 +0.683 B
12 Jack Aitken ART 1:22.597 +0.870 A
13 Nirei Fukuzumi Arden 1:22.707 +0.970 B
14 Sean Gelael Prema 1:22.654 +0.927 A
15 Louis Deletraz Charouz 1:22.717 +0.980 B
16 George Russell ART 1:22.977 +1.240 B
17 Roy Nissany Campos 1:23.796 +2.069 A
18** Lando Norris Carlin 1:22.663 +0.936 A
19 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:23.157 +1.420 B
DSQ*** Maximilian Günther Arden 1:22.194 +0.467 A

*The gap indicated is from the fastest driver in that respective group.
**NOTE: Norris had qualified 16th but was handed a three-position grid penalty for impeding Albon.
***NOTE: Günther had qualified 7th but was disqualified as he did not stop at the weighbridge during the session.

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