A Crashed McLaren Still Did Better than Lewis Hamilton in Monaco Qualifying

Setup isn't Mercedes' strong point, it seems.

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice
Mark Thompson—Getty Images

Despite being a contender for the title in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton isn't having great luck with qualifying in Monaco. McLaren, well, they're not having much luck, full stop. The company's racing efforts have been stalled as a result of cars that can't see to complete races. And the tenuous partnership with Honda isn't helping, as engines have been a serious failure point. All not pleasant, so they were aching for some good news. 

And things were looking up, as both cars were posting strong numbers. Then, not one to let a good thing go unruined, Stoffel Vandoorne sent his McLaren careening into the wall during qualifying, to make sure the session wasn't a complete success. Oh, and Vandoorne still has a three-place penalty from last race.

So a crash, a car that's been underperforming and unreliable, and a sizable penalty. And yet, Vandoorne still did well enough to qualify 13th. One spot above Lewis Hamilton, whose car was severely off pace and was eliminated from the second round of qualifying. 

So if Hamilton isn't running the race, who is? Surprisingly, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel wasn't the leader. Kimi Räikkönen, also racing for the Italian powerhouse, qualified into the top spot for the first time in nearly a decade. Last time Räikkönen started in the lead, the phrase "I'd like to buy a new Saab" was still a sentence someone could say without bystanders collapsing into fits of laughter.