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Monaco F2: Alexander Albon on pole position as main rivals struggle

Alexander Albon completed a hat-trick of Formula 2 pole positions in Monaco, while points leader and McLaren Formula 1 junior Lando Norris ruined his qualifying by hitting the barriers

Qualifying was divided into two 15-minute spells, the first featuring drivers with odd car numbers, and the second session for those with even numbers.

It was the first that proved the most dramatic, with Norris crashing into the wall at the exit the second part of the swimming pool section.

Norris is also under investigation for blocking Albon. A wing piece from Norris's car kicked up into the session-topper's F2 2018, but luckily no damage was done.

One piece of good news for Norris was title rival George Russell also struggling. The Mercedes Formula 1 junior lost the majority of practice this morning with engine trouble, hurting his ability to learn a track he has never competed on. He'll start 18th, one spot behind Norris.

Albon - the third of the early title contenders with Russell and Norris - was forced to watch the second session nervously, wondering if anyone could beat his benchmark time.

In the end Dutchman and McLaren Formula 1 junior Nyck de Vries came closest, just 0.010s off the pole time in his Prema Racing-run car.

Artem Markelov produced his best qualifying session of the season yet to take third on the grid, after the executing an unusual strategy of staying out early and giving his tyres extra time to warm-up, while also ensuring he had a clear track as other cars pitted.

He initially went 0.6s quicker than the rest of the field in the first group before Albon delivered the killer blow.

Antonio Fuoco also starred in that session to take fifth after crashing in the morning practice, behind Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara.

He ended the session in the wall at Ste Devote on his final flying lap, and said "I think I broke my hand" on the radio after the session. His Carlin team later said that Sette Camara was sore and bruised but fit to race.

Luca Ghiotto rounded out the top six from the second session for Campos, to continue his strong run of form after two points scoring outings and a third position start at Barcelona.

Maxi Gunther is set to start seventh, but is under investigation for missing the weighing bridge after his rapid lap in the first session.

As it stands, he heads Trident team-mates Arjun Maini and Santino Ferrucci, who both had a number of offs at Barcelona and have recovered strongly thus far.

Ralph Boschung completes the top 10 for MP Motorsport.

Provisional starting grid

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Alexander Albon DAMS 1m21.727s
2 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m21.737s
3 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m21.834s
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1m21.901s
5 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1m21.948s
6 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1m22.241s
7 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1m22.408s
8 Arjun Maini Trident 1m22.263s
9 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1m22.569s
10 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1m22.307s
11 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1m22.597s
12 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1m22.420s
13 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m22.654s
14 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1m22.707s
15 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m22.717s
16 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1m23.796s
17 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1m22.977s
18 Lando Norris Carlin 1m22.663s
19 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m23.157s
20 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 1m22.194s

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