Vettel storms to pole in disrupted Monaco qualifying

Sebastian Vettel set a new lap record on route to pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix. He may have been beaten by Lewis Hamilton, but cold tyres relegated the McLaren to 7th. A massive crash for Sergio Perez delayed Q3 by 30 minutes, although initial reports suggest Sergio is conscious and talking. Here is the full report:


The session began with a sense of worry at the Mercedes garage, as Nico Rosberg waited with baited breath to see would his damaged W02 be repaired in time. Meanwhile, at HRT, Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car was ruled out of quaifying, leaving his fate in the hands of the stewards regarding the 107% rule.

Q1 saw a different strategy being run by many of the teams, as cars were fuelled up for 6 or 7 laps, in order to counter drivers possibly being held up.

A 1.17.0 was Jenson Button’s benchmark for the other drivers. Teammate Lewis Hamilton promptly smashed that time by 7 tenths of a second. Jenson soon responded, and carved his time down to a 1.15.9.

Sebastian Vettel and Button traded fastest laps at the top of the timesheets, while Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were 8 tenths away from the McLaren.

Surprisingly, Rosberg’s car was repaired in time, after his heavy crash in Saturday morning practice. He went 5th, splitting the Ferraris.

Interestingly, the Toro Rossos struggled massively in Q1, forcing Buemi to put on a set of super soft tyres. This got him through safely to Q2, but put him at a disadvantage later. Oddly enough, Schumacher tried the same tactic, having been 1.1 seconds off Rosberg. He went faster on the new tyres, but still slower than Nico, who was on the slower set.

Sergio Perez had a scary moment at the swimming pool chicane, but survived to go 6th. Jaime Alguersuari swiped Kamui Kobayashi as the Sauber entered the pits, causing minor front wing damage.

Neither of the HRT cars left the pits during the session. Rumours have began to float that the F111 is under investigation by the FIA, after Liuzzi’s car fell apart after a relatively small crash earlier.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Jaime Alguersuari

21) Timo Glock

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio

23) Narain Karthikeyan

24) Vitantonio Liuzzi


Q2 saw the top 5 cars begin to tear awat from the rest of the field. A 1.14.275 put Hamilton on top, 3 hundreths ahead of Vettel and 2 tenths faster than teammate Button.

Alonso and Webber were 4th and 5th, while Schumacher again struggled in comparison to Rosberg.

Vettel’s next run was only 0.002 seconds slower than Hamilton. Further back, Petrov, Maldonado and Perez began to tussle over 10th place.

Sergio’s run was faster than Schumacher, while Maldonado went 10th. Rubens Barrichello stayed 12th, while Kobayashi and Di Resta were 13th and 14th.

Vitaly Petrov’s final run wasn’t enough to get him through to Q3, for the first time this season. Teammate Nick Heidfeld was hugely disappointing, and was classified 16th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov

12) Rubens Barrichello

13) Kamui Kobayashi

14) Paul Di Resta

15) Adrian Sutil

16) Nick Heidfeld

17) Sebastien Buemi


The top 10 cars appeared to be split over using 1 run or 2, as Michael Schumacher was the first out. A 1.15.0 was well off the pole position time expected.

Massa was the first car into the 1.14 zone, before Button slashed that time by nearly a second. Mark Webber got within 2 hundreths of a second of the McLaren, before Vettel nailed a near-perfect lap to set a 1.13.5.

That lap turned out to be Vettel’s only run, leaving the rest of the field to try again.

Lewis Hamilton went out with 3 minutes to go, but got held up slightly by Felipe Massa, who had just left the pits. Despite Lewis gesticulating, there appeared to be nothing that Massa could have done.

With 2 minutes left, the red flag was thrown, for a heavy crash by Sergio Perez. The Sauber driver went on the wrong side of the track before the Nouvelle chicane, slid into the barrier on the right, then slammed into the barrier after the corner.

A nerve-wracking 30 minutes followed, while Sergio was extracted from his car, and the barriers were repaired. The good news is that Perez appears to be conscious and talking.

When the session finally restarted, Lewis tore straight out of the pits, desperate to set his first fast lap.

However, disappointment soon followed, as cold tyres halted Lewis’ challenge, and Jenson Button ran wide at the Nouvelle Chicane. Rosberg was only 8th, and Webber abandoned his final lap.

This left Vettel comfortably on top, having set a new lap record to top off the day. He will be joined on the front row by Button, with Webebr and Alonso. Schumacher was 5th, Massa 6th, Hamilton 7th, Rosberg 8th, Maldonado 9th and Perez 10th, although it appears certain the Mexican will not start the race.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: