RACE DEBRIEF

    Qualifying ended in a dramatic and unexpected fashion in Monaco as Carlos Sainz collided with the stricken Red Bull of Sergio Perez to bring out a red flag and set the order – with home hero Charles Leclerc on pole position for Sunday’s race…

    Perez’s spin at Portier on his final qualifying run saw the Mexican lodge his Red Bull in the barriers. Sainz, hurtling down the hill, couldn’t stop in time for the yellow flags and ended up hitting the Red Bull driver’s car. After walking away from the incident, Sainz explained just how he ended up with his Ferrari pitched into the Red Bull.

    READ MORE: Leclerc takes majestic pole on home turf in Monaco as bizarre Sainz-Perez crash brings early end to qualifying

    “As I was entering Turn 7, on my left-hand side I saw a yellow flag coming out and immediately as I saw the yellow flag, I realised that the car in front of me had crashed and you don’t see where he has crashed, so you enter the corner without knowing where he’s going to be,” began Sainz.

    “So, I just hit the brakes, tried to do the corner radius as tight as possible and just as I was going to manage to avoid him, I hit the brakes harder and managed to clip him with the back of the car. It would have been a pretty good save if I'd have saved it, because there was basically no time to save it! But it’s what happens in Monaco.”

    1399759058
    Sainz starts a provisional second as he hopes to back up a Ferrari 1-2 on Sunday
    Carlos Sainz laments Monaco Q3 red flag 'two years in a row'

    Sainz does however start a provisional second on the grid, having backed up a Ferrari one-two on Saturday.

    “Every year in Monaco now it seems to be a tradition that someone crashes in front of me or whatever,” continued the Spanish driver, referencing Leclerc's qualifying crash from 2021, “and you cannot complete the lap that is normally the most exciting around Monaco.

    “Anyway, it is how it is, we start P2. I think it's a great position to start, and tomorrow anything can happen – the rain, whatever comes, comes – and we're in a good position.”

    FACTS AND STATS: Leclerc ties Verstappen on poles, as he continues his run of front-row starts

    1399731011
    Perez starts a provisional third, Verstappen fourth, for Sunday's Grand Prix
    ‘I nearly lost it into Turn 1’ – Perez blames cold tyres for crash that ended qualifying in Monaco

    Perez, who qualified third before his spin and the resulting collision, said that he’d been struggling at Turn 8 throughout the weekend, as he explained his side of the incident.

    “Turn 8 has been a difficult one for me throughout the qualifying section. So, I was trying to anticipate and get quite early on throttle, but as soon as I touched the throttle, I could feel the rear tyre wasn’t gripping in.

    “I was playing with [the throttle] a bit until I lost it. Then I was actually surprised that Carlos hit me at the time and it’s a shame what happened, and I feel sorry for Carlos and for the rest of the guys. But you know, this is Monaco.”

    READ MORE: Leclerc hoping to 'finally' end home race jinx after dominant qualifying show

    As for the damage, a particular worry before the race given the hit Perez’s car took – and the fact that Charles Leclerc couldn’t start last year’s Monaco GP from pole after his qualifying crash – Perez gave his verdict.

    “It looked bad, certainly looked bad from the rear, and then what made it worse was the hit we got from Carlos, so we have quite a bit of damage. But we will see – it should be okay for tomorrow.”