Sebastian Vettel has taken yet another pole position for the 2011 season, this time by going quickest in the final qualifying session at the Monaco Grand Prix. It was the German’s 20th career pole, his fifth of the season and his first at Monte Carlo, a race which he has never won.
But the main talking point from qualifying was a frightening accident during Q3 for Sergio Pérez, who became the fifth driver this weekend to have a major accident at the Nouvelle Chicane. Having performed impressively to make it into the final phase of qualifying, the Mexican driver suddenly lost control on the approach to the chicane before slamming sideways into the barrier at the end of the chicane.
The medics were on-hand almost immediately and the 21-year-old was quickly stretchered away to the local medical centre, where the initial reports are that he is alert and conscious. Any decision on whether he will drive tomorrow remains to be seen…
It was some 40 minutes’ delay – while crash barriers were being reinstated to their correct positions – before running resumed, but none of the remaining nine drivers in the session was able to improve their times, leaving Vettel on pole with Jenson Button starting alongside him on the front row. Mark Webber was third-fastest in the sister Red Bull.
The top-six was completed by Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher (his best-ever qualifying result since his comeback to F1) and Felipe Massa.
Lewis Hamilton was the big loser as a result of the qualifying delay, and he could manage no better than seventh on the grid despite being the fastest driver in both Q1 and Q2. He will start ahead of Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado, making his second top-ten qualifying appearance for Williams in as many weeks.
Vitaly Petrov missed out on a Q3 berth for the first time this season – although only by fractions of a second – and he shares the sixth row of the grid with Rubens Barrichello.
Kamui Kobayashi lines up a disappointing 13th on the grid, and he was summoned to the stewards room for his part in a nose-to-tail collision with Jaime Alguersuari during Q1, when the Spaniard collected the back of the Sauber at La Rascasse.
Alguersuari was the big name to miss out on a berth to Q2, finishing slower than both Team Lotus entries.
At the bottom of the timesheets, neither Hispania Racing made an attempt to qualify. Narain Karthikeyan’s car was hit with an apparent rear suspension problem just as qualifyig was getting ready, while Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car was too badly damaged after his crash in this morning’s final practice session.
The matter of whether they will actually be allowed onto the grid is another matter entirely. In this morning’s practice, both posted lap times that were quicker than the 107% cut-off for this afternoon’s Q1 session, which should normally get them onto the grid. However, at no stage in any session have the cars actually lapped within 107% of the fastest time posted in that session. The matter will rest with the race stewards, who will decide if the team is allowed to start this session.
2011 Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault||1:15.606||1:14.277||1:13.556|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes||1:15.397||1:14.545||1:13.997|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault||1:16.087||1:14.742||1:14.019|
|5.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:16.092||1:14.981||1:14.682|
|7.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes||1:15.207||1:14.275||1:15.280|
|8.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:15.858||1:14.741||1:15.766|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth||1:15.819||1:15.545||1:16.528|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari||1:15.918||1:15.482||no time|
|12.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth||1:16.807||1:15.826|
|13.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari||1:16.513||1:15.973|
|14.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes||1:16.813||1:16.118|
|15.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes||1:16.600||1:16.121|
|17.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:16.358||1:16.300|
|18.||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus Renault||1:17.343|
|19.||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus Renault||1:17.381|
|20.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:17.820|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth||1:17.914|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth||1:18.736|
|Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth||no time|
|Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth||no time|
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