Red Bull team principal Christian Horner concedes that no one was going to get near Charles Leclerc on Saturday following a tremendous lap from the Monegasque to take pole at his home race.
Sergio Perez had consistently been out-performing team-mate Max Verstappen all weekend, but the pair found themselves on the second row of the grid after the opening runs in Q3, with the Mexican marginally in front.
While they were over two tenths of a second adrift of Leclerc, they were within range of Carlos Sainz, but Perez denied himself and the Dutchman a chance to get onto the front row by crashing at Portier on the final run.
The reigning champion was left incredibly frustrated as a result, but he was far enough back to avoid meeting the same fate as Sainz, who could only slam into the side of the Mexican when he came through the blind corner moments after the crash had taken place.
Horner laments the fact that there will be no front row start for either of his drivers on Sunday, but affirms that Leclerc was untouchable in qualifying.
“I don’t think the pole was on today,” he told Sky Sports.
“I mean Charles was mighty so look, congrats to him because we couldn’t have done that time.
“It’s a shame because I think both of the drivers could have actually improved a little. Max certainly was significantly up but [it’s] one of those things.
“I mean Checo, he’s been on it all weekend so still P3 and P4, [there] may be a bit of weather around tomorrow so yeah, disappointing not to get on the front row but we’ll fight from there.”
Verstappen was also denied a shot at pole last year when Leclerc crashed into the barrier, consolidating his earlier run in Q3, so the 48-year-old understands his driver’s anger at once again being scuppered by a red flag.
“It’s the second time [in a row at Monaco],” added Horner.
“I think there’s nothing more frustrating than not finishing… you know, being on a lap, you can see he’s up but it’s the second year in a row it’s happened to him so it’s unfortunate.”
However, the Briton swats away any notion that his team will be letting Ferrari have the win this weekend.
“I don’t think we’ll give anything to anybody,” asserted the Red Bull boss.
“I think we’ll fight as hard as we can, I think there’s weather, Safety Cars, a lot that can happen and let’s see.
“We’re still on the second row so it’s good to be disappointed with that.”
Perez’s crash ensured that he out-qualified Verstappen for the second time this season after taking pole in Jeddah in round two.