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Verstappen emerges on top of Alonso and Leclerc in 2023 Monaco GP quali slugfest!

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The dominant question right before the start of qualifying of round seven of the ongoing Formula 1 world championship was if the contest would only be between just Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari?  

Or was someone else going to force their way into this equation and make headlines?

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And one reckons, with the way Fernando  Alonso of Aston Martin threw himself into the equation, going full throttle and getting into the act removed any doubts, whatsoever, that one may have had about F1’s tireless hero. 

At one point in the closing stages of Q3, Alonso bagged provisional pole for a while and stunned everyone; it was an ample evidence of just how he was, by self admission, pushing like an animal out there. 

But then, that the great Max Verstappen came right on top in the fading moments of Q3, eventually usurping the Formula 1 veteran was perhaps the crowning moment of a show stopping Saturday afternoon at the cheery principality. 

While Alonso, P2 in the end, had to contend with what became his second front row start of the season, Verstappen, the defending champion, meanwhile, bagged his twenty second pole position of a checkered career. 

In so doing, the blazing youngster went one better over the F1 double world champion Alonso. 

Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, who’d experienced a bumpy run for much of the qualifying run on the afternoon had to settle for third. 

Perhaps the only consolation there being the fact that in the recent rounds at Monaco, drivers who started their Grand Prix from third went onto win the race. 

Last year’s Monaco winner Sergio Perez had begun his run from third on the grid. 

But it’s unlikely if Leclerc, who couldn’t improve on his back to back poles here starting 2021, would be content with that moving bit of stat. 

Lining up fourth on the grid is Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, whose brilliant final sector run in the closing stages of Q3 had put him on provisional pole even before the Alonso magic spurred everyone on. 

And though the famous Frenchman failed to hold onto what would’ve been a terrific pole, a first for him with the last Frenchman who took pole here being Jean Alesi, it can be said with certainty that Ocon would begin his race in high spirits. 

Carlos Sainz, who’d looked so impressive in the early stages of Friday’s free practice had to settle for fifth with both Scarlet red cars making it to the top five of a qualifying this season. 

The Spaniard would be followed by the experienced Lewis Hamilton; the three time Monaco winner beginning his stiff Sunday challenge from sixth on the grid. 

Gasly, Russell, Tsunoda and Norris made up the rest of the places in seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively. 

Though, on his part, Lewis Hamilton has his work cut out; the winner of the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix hasn’t really experienced bright fortunes at a street track. 

Hamilton’s most recent Grand Prix result, as also F1’s last street venue, i.e., Miami yielded a P6 in the end; the Briton had begun from a lowly thirteenth on the grid. 

But heart goes out to Lando Norris who could push his McLaren as best as he could clipping into the Aramco barriers in the initial stages of Q3, thus having his engineers with a lot of work to do. That a twenty minute refurbishment and restructuring work was done in just around ten odd minutes was fair play to McLaren. 

But here’s what made the biggest talking point early on during the first qualifying run at Monaco. 

With a little over 11 minutes to go in the first qualifying run, Sergio Perez had a dramatic crash at the exit of Sainte Devote, thus red flagging the session and brining a sudden halt to the proceedings altogether. 

The winner of the last Monaco GP is slated to begin from last on the grid. 

Where might the Mexican end up on Sunday in what could be a blow to his championship chances. Will Leclerc and Sainz cash on?  

But the key man for much of the Sunday afternoon will, unarguably be, Max Verstappen, who bagged pole ahead of Alonso, it ought to be reminded by eight one hundredths of a second. 

With his imposing presence, that great final burst of speed coming into the final sector during Q3, the accuracy, the precise but top notch driving- Max was the giant killer on Saturday. 

Can he now be the slayer on Sunday? 

In all, if there was an exemplary qualifying session this year so far, then this was it where lads like Verstappen, Alonso, Ocon and Leclerc gave it absolutely everything. But then there can only be one winner! 

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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