Monaco F2: Leclerc takes pole but faces investigation

Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in qualifying for the Formula 2 round at Monaco, but faces a post-session stewards’ investigation that could cost him pole.

Monaco F2: Leclerc takes pole but faces investigation
Charles Leclerc, PREMA Racing
Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix
Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix
Oliver Rowland, DAMS
Nyck De Vries, Rapax
Sergio Sette Camara, MP Motorsport

Leclerc, a Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver, set the fastest time in the first group of 10 drivers – F2 qualifying in Monaco is split into two sessions of 16-minutes each – to take to the streets of Monaco.

The Prema Racing driver brushed the barriers exiting the tunnel on his way to a best lap of 1m19.309s, which meant he set the quickest time in qualifying for the third time out of three events in 2017.

But he could yet lose pole as it was announced during the first segment that the Monegasque will be investigated for stalling in the pitlane and failing to wait for a minute before getting going again.

The fastest driver from group two – ART Grand Prix’s Alexander Albon – is provisionally set start second, and the next fastest drivers from each segment are to line up behind Leclerc and Albon in the order they finished their respective sessions.

That means DAMS driver Oliver Rowland is set to start third, ahead of Russian Time racer and 2016 GP2 feature race winner Artem Markelov, and Nobuharu Matsushita, who crashed at the very end of the first session when he clattered the kerbs going through the second part of the Swimming Pool and hit the barriers on the outside of the track.

Albon was able to improve his best time to 1m19.321s late on in the second half of qualifying, but wound up just 0.012s slower than Leclerc.

Norman Nato will start sixth after finishing third in the second group, and will line up ahead of MP Motorsport driver Jordan King.

McLaren F1 junior Nyck de Vries qualified eighth, but will lose three places for the feature race after picking up a penalty for causing a collision with Prema’s Antonio Fuoco in the sprint race last time out at Barcelona.

Luca Ghiotto was fifth in the first session and qualifies ninth, with DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi rounding out the top 10.

UPDATE: De Vries was handed a further three-place penalty for impeding Fuoco in the second qualifying group, dropping the Dutchman down to 14th on the grid for Friday's opening race.

The stewards took no action against Leclerc, who keeps his third successive pole, although Prema was fined €500 for the incident.

Group A

Pos.#DriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 1 monaco Charles Leclerc italy Prema Powerteam 10 1'19.309  
2 9 united_kingdom Oliver Rowland france DAMS 9 1'19.541 0.232
3 7 japan Nobuharu Matsushita france ART Grand Prix 10 1'19.922 0.613
4 15 united_kingdom Jordan King netherlands MP Motorsport 10 1'20.058 0.749
5 5 italy Luca Ghiotto russia RUSSIAN TIME 9 1'20.089 0.780
6 21 indonesia Sean Gelael united_kingdom Arden International 11 1'20.272 0.963
7 19 venezuela Johnny Cecotto italy Rapax 11 1'20.413 1.104
8 17 spain Sergio Canamasas italy Trident 11 1'20.415 1.106
9 3 switzerland Louis Deletraz spain Racing Engineering 12 1'21.592 2.283
10 11 switzerland Ralph Boschung spain Campos Racing 10 1'21.664 2.355

Group B

Pos.#DriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 8 thailand Alexander Albon france ART Grand Prix 11 1'19.321  
2 9 russia Artem Markelov russia RUSSIAN TIME 9 1'19.647 0.326
3 20 france Norman Nato united_kingdom Arden International 8 1'19.803 0.482
4 18 netherlands Nyck de Vries italy Rapax 9 1'19.814 0.493
5 10 canada Nicholas Latifi france DAMS 9 1'20.042 0.721
6 21 Gustav Malja spain Racing Engineering 11 1'20.282 0.961
7 19 Antonio Fuoco italy Prema Racing 11 1'20.593 1.272
8 17 Robert Visoiu spain Campos Racing 11 1'20.867 1.546
9 16 malaysia Nabil Jeffri italy Trident 11 1'21.239 1.918
10 14 brazil Sergio Sette Camara netherlands MP Motorsport 11 1'21.271 1.950
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