Lewis Hamilton snatched a dramatic pole position for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix with an all-time circuit record lap in the final seconds to outpace Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.086 seconds.
The defending five-time champion and series leader clocked an unprecedented lap in 1min 10.166sec to end Bottas’ run of three successive poles as Mercedes, mourning the death this week of non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, produced a record-equalling 62nd front row lockout.
It was an emotional Hamilton’s second pole in Monaco and the 84th of his career as he dug deep in the final seconds to find the speed required to grab the prime grid position from his team-mate.
“Whoooah!” shouted Hamilton on team radio. “That’s what I am talking about….”
Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull and Kevin Magnussen for Haas.
Last year’s race winner Daniel Ricciardo was seventh for Renault ahead of Daniel Kvyat of Toro Rosso, Carlos Sainz of McLaren and Alex Albon in the second Toro Rosso.
Luckless local hero Charles Leclerc qualified 16th after a strategic muddle by Ferrari in the opening Q1 section of qualifying.