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Vettel on pole for Monaco Grand Prix, as Perez crashes heavily
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Vettel on pole for Monaco Grand Prix, as Perez crashes heavily
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 May 2011   |  4:38 pm GMT  |  50 comments

Sebastian Vettel took his first pole position at Monaco and the fifth of the season ahead of Jenson Button and Mark Webber.

It is Vettel’s 20th career pole in just 68 races, equalling the total of Fernando Alonso, who has done 163 races. His time was 3/10ths of a second faster than last year’s pole at Monaco, set by Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber.

Once again it came about because of a massive step up in performance from Q2 to Q3, where Vettel found 7/10ths of a second from his Red Bull car.

But qualifying was dominated by the accident of Sergio Perez, which brought out the red flags and caused a delay of over half an hour.

Perez: Heavy accident (Photo: Sauber)


The 21 year old Mexican lost control of the car at around 180mph as he began braking for the chicane. As Nico Rosberg had experienced in the morning, the car went light over the crest and snapped right, hit the armco and then slid sideways into the barriers. It was a very heavy impact, but he suffered no broken bones, just a sprained thigh and a concussion.

Prior to the stoppage Sebastian Vettel had done a good lap, as had Jenson Button and Mark Webber. Fernando Alonso had fourth fastest time but Lewis Hamilton was planning to do just one run – a three lap run – at the end of the session. He believed he had the car for pole. But he was caught out by Perez’ accident and ended up unable to set a time better than seventh in the two minutes which remained at the restart.

Worse still, he cut the chicane on his lap and the stewards deleted his time, so he is effectively 10th, with no Q3 time, but as Perez won’t race tomorrow, Hamilton will start 9th.

Most of the drivers found the track had lost grip in the final run and some found it hard to prepare the brakes and tyres properly for the run. Nico Rosberg managed to improve his time, but he was 8th behind his team mate Michael Schumacher for the first time this year. Schumacher lines up 5th tomorrow.

Afterwards some drivers, including Webber and Button, suggested that some changes need to be made to the circuit to make sure it is safe for F1 for the long term. The barrier at the bottom of the hill which Perez hit – and which Button has hit before – being the first thing to look at.

Jaime Alguersuari was the fall guy from the established teams who joined the new teams in the drop zone at the end of Q1. He was beaten by both the Lotus cars. Meanwhile the two Renaults and the two Mercedes drivers used a set of supersoft tyres to get through to Q2.

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Q1 and he was fastest again in Q2. Paul di Resta beat his team mate Adrian Sutil on the final run, while Monaco specialist Pastor Maldonado again managed to get into the top ten for Williams, ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

Neither of the Renaults had the pace to get into the top ten and at Sauber Kobayashi struggled in comparison with Perez, he was 4/10ths slower. Pereze got into the top ten for the first time this season.

Nico Rosberg’s car had been badly damaged in the morning practice session but the Mercedes mechanics managed to fix it in time and Rosberg did a fantastic job to get through Q1 and Q2 without any drama. Also through was his team mate Michael Schumacher, although he used up a set of supersoft tyres in Q1.

MONACO GRAND PRIX, Monte Carlo

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m13.556s
2. Jenson Button McLaren 1m13.997s + 0.441
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m14.019s + 0.463
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.483s + 0.927
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.682s + 1.126
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.877s + 1.321
7. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m15.280s + 1.724
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.766s + 2.210
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m16.528s + 2.972
10. Sergio Perez Sauber No time
Q3 cut-off time: 1m15.545s Gap **
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m15.815s + 1.540
12. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m15.826s + 1.551
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m15.973s + 1.698
14. Paul di Resta Force India 1m16.118s + 1.843
15. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m16.121s + 1.846
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m16.214s + 1.939
17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m16.300s + 2.025
Q3 cut-off time: 1m16.813s Gap *
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m17.343s + 2.136
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m17.381s + 2.174
20. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m17.820s + 2.613
21. Timo Glock Virgin 1m17.914s + 2.707
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m18.736s + 3.529
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT No time
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT No time

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50 Comments
  1. irish con says:

    why was the ferraris slower in q3 than they had looked in p3. i would of thought the track was faster in q3 due to more running or dod alonso make a mistake on his first run and then didnt get a second run at the end. i was expecting either alonso or lewis on the front row at least yet neither got close. big mistake when it was a chance for them to beat vettel on pure pace this weekend.

    1. TheLegend says:

      Alonso had fuel to do 4 or 5 qualy laps at the beginning of Q3 but with red flag he could only do the 2 first ones so he had some disadvantage there. At the end of the qualyfiyng he also said that the tyres he had used in qualyfying hadn’t behaved at all as in P3.

  2. hutch says:

    Lewis penalised down to 10th

  3. aj says:

    How to shoot yourself in the foot.
    by McClaren

    1. jay harte says:

      totally agree
      they are just giving red bull too many presents
      these days ,
      vettel is so lucky this year everything is going right for him .
      his run of luck will end soon ,wait til we get to fast tracks that require kers and he will be in trouble .

      1. Miha says:

        Vettel had all the bad luck last year. And still won.

  4. Manish says:

    Just read this on Autosport, Hamilton’s time is deleted from the time sheets as he reportedly jumped chicane in Q3. He will start either 10th or 9th depending whether Perez races tomorrow.

    This comes as a huge blow to would have been winner of Monaco GP. Hammy showed real good pace throughout and this is bad news for him.
    In a way makes the race more interesting also, let’s see if he can overtake and pose some real serious challenge to the front runners tomorrow…

  5. R2 says:

    Massa holds up Lewis and ruins his flying lap, then the Sauber-Ferrari driver Perez crashes and effectively ends Q3 (and luckily escapes serious injury). Why am I wondering if Alonso is a strategic genius?

  6. AlexD says:

    One more race – Canada – and Ferrari will be fighting for a win, based on what Domenicali said.
    By the way, does anybody remember what LDM said in the beginning of the year that Ferrari is going to win this year?

  7. Michael Grievson says:

    its a shame for lewis. He could have won today. I’m glad Perez is OK. Do we know who will take his seat if he is unable to race?

    1. LT says:

      No one. The driver who qualified must take part in the race. If he is unable to, then no one else is allowed to take his place IIRC.

  8. d.h. says:

    Was certainly a massive shunt by perez. He certainly didn’t have it under any sort of control out of the tunnel. He was lucky he hit it side on, and whether his putting his hands up to protect his head played a role in escaping without serious injury, the car certainly done what it was designed to do.
    Nico rosberg was very lucky he was inches away from a head on smash at exactly the same point, lucky boy.
    Only thing they could possibly do is smooth out the bump on the exit of the tunnel and remove or move back that section that perez hit.

    As for qualifying, bit of a anti climax, it was shaping up to be a good old fashioned qualifying session.
    Was anything said about massa slightly holding up Hamilton on his first flying lap in q3?

  9. Dale says:

    What a letdown that qualifying was, really looking forward to a real shoot out bgetween Vettel & Hamilton and maybe even Alonso.

    McLaren shot themselves in the foot today.

  10. goferet says:

    First of all get well wishes go out to Perez & Kubica, hope to see you two sooner rather than later.

    Now Vettel, Vettel, Vettel AHHHHHHHHHHHH Veeeeettel, how does he manage to do this time after time again but after today’s qualifying chaos, am more than certain that Lewis Hamilton will be crowned the 2011 WDC championship come the end of the season.

    Just like Jenson in 2009, after his Monaco win, the tables are going to turn against Vettel for the cavalry are coming through.

    Congrats to Jenson for representing & sticking the Mclaren on the front row & knowing Jens, am sure he will give Vettel a run for his money.

    Also looking forward to the battle between Alonso & Schumi, surely there’s going to be lots of carbon fibre flying about come the first bend.

    1. James Allen says:

      At this stage that looks like wishful thinking of the highest order!

      1. ACB says:

        Yes, quite.

      2. Ryan Eckford says:

        I get the feeling that this season is turning out very similar to the way the 2006 season did. I think the difference between Vettel and Hamilton on the points table will be very small at the end of the season.

  11. Michael says:

    I believe that Rosberg also used up a set of options/supersofts in Q1.

    1. Stephen W says:

      Yes he did,i,ve checked a couple of times having recorded qualifying.

  12. BillC says:

    I am going to revise my earlier prediction given the better tyre performance and predict most will go for a stop strategy and hope that Jenson goes for a 1 stop to win

    MGB

    1. BillC says:

      Sorry that was a 2 stop for most people

  13. Dave Roberts says:

    Pure bad luck for Lewis, but I wish he had just said that. He is a good team player but I have noticed that on a couple of occasions when things haven’t gone to plan that he has been quick to blame the team for decisions and not accept his share. I hope this isn’t a trend.

    All of that said he won at Monaco after his strategy was compromised through hitting a barrier, perhaps he can turn adversity into a win again tomorrow!

    1. Born 1950 says:

      I think Lewis just tells it like it is. His strategists made a wrong call — probably bad luck but, hey, that’s Monaco. If he’d made a mistake he’d have admitted it. He’s not duplicitous — just straight talking.

      I think we’ll see fireworks from him tomorrow and he’ll either force his way through to the front or, more likely, end up colliding with another car or a barrier in his frustration.

      The winner is likely to be either Vettel, who manages to stay in front by strategy, or another driver who manages to overtake Vettel through strategy. I guess Button is best placed to win that way.

  14. Craig says:

    I know a lot of people are disappointed that Lewis is so far back on the grid, but don’t discount Jenson for the win tomorrow. The McLaren race pace should be strong (as it was in Spain) and Button is only 4 tenths behind Vettel in Q3. Yes 4 tenths is a lot in F1, but it’s a lot better than at some races this year.

    As a side note – if Michaels’ performances this season lead some people to believe he should give up and retire (again), then Webber and Massa should clearly be joining him on the sofa with pipe and slippers as those drivers performances (compared to team mates) are actually much worse.

    Thank you and goodnight.

    1. JF says:

      Absolutely:
      Giving Vettel a victory on saturday is premature. Button could do it.

    2. Anil says:

      Agree with you on the point about Michael. If he finishes ahead of Nico tomorrow that means in the last 10 races they have been teammates he has finished ahead more times than Nico has (5-4 with the other being a double retirement). Michael is much closer to Nico (esp in race pace) than Webber and Massa have been. DC clearly just likes to take a shot a MS wherever he can and tbh I find it very uncomfortable viewing.

      1. Born 1950 says:

        Can you blame DC for that? He knows Michael’s tactics very well and feels Michael pulled a few unfair tricks in his time.

        He’s right, Michael did. You don’t get to be the most successful driver of all time without using every trick in the book — some of them not always as sporting as they should be (like the ‘car parking’ incident at Monaco). Michael was often controversial — and perhaps still is!

      2. Tiago says:

        Let´s not forget the little “accident” in Spa when DC braked in the rain costing Michael the race and problably the championship that year.

  15. nando says:

    Perez tyre was perilously close to him after he hit the first wall, thank god for modern equipment. It was a shame we were denied the spectacle of Hamilton going for it though.
    I don’t think for one minute that Massa blocked Hamilton intentionally, Ferrari must of known that it would cause Hamilton interference when they sent Massa out but maybe it was too tight a window to wait another 20 seconds.

    Will be interesting to see what Mclaren try to do with Hamilton, I expect Schumacher will be in top 3 by the first corner so it may give Ham a chance of pushing towards the top 5.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Ferrari proved in Spain that their current team are complete numpties when it comes to strategy. And yet you’re suggesting that the intentionally sent Massa out at exactly the right time to be in front of Hamilton on his flying lap and somehow knowing that would be his only opportunity because the session would be red flagged? We saw on the TV feed that Massa went straight into the pits, got a fresh set of tyres and left again straight away. Your scenario implies an impressive amount of forward thinking from Ferrari!

  16. irish con says:

    does that mean hamilton can start on whatever tyre he feels like. could it b a good thing for him so he can start on the soft tyre and run much longer. maybe he has to start on super soft he set that time on.

  17. Pablo says:

    James,

    Can you confirm if Lewis is now freed from the Fastest Lap Tyre rule, or if the timing computer has him having a timed lap (no matter how slow) that will force him to start on the options?

    Thanks

  18. Sufyaan Patel says:

    Any updates on tyre usage and who has most sets of new tyres for the race?

    Really looking forward to the start. More or less all the ‘big guns’ going for it down to turn one…. its going to be great! And hopefully for the rest of the race too :D

    Also finding it hard to pick a winner for a change! Strategy will be key. I guess its between Vettel and Button… and maybe Alonso. Will be fun watching Lewis trying to make his way through :) Oh and the fast starting Schumacher in P5.

  19. Hamilton critical of McLaren’s strategy saying, “hmmm, it wasn’t the pit lane waiting, it was the strategy into the Q3″, hopefully it won’t hang over him during the actual race tomorrow.

  20. Edward Valentine says:

    It should be an interesting race with JB starting P2 and Lewis fighting from P10 (penalty pending). But thank Heavens Perez is OK. According to reports he wants to drive tomorrow! That just goes to show how strong a metal F1 drivers have! I would regard them along with Tour de France/professional cyclists and olympic rowers as the strongest and fittest all round athletes.

  21. Seán Craddock says:

    I’m confused with these results. The bit beside the time, +1.540 for Petrov for example. What does that mean?

    1. vettelfan says:

      the difference to the fastest driver in Q2

      1. Seán Craddock says:

        No, that’s not it according to F1.com

        Kovalainen was 1.737 behind Vettel in Q1, but it has +2.136 here…

    2. Anil says:

      he was 1.540 seconds slower than the lead time from Q2.

    3. Steve says:

      That’s the difference between his time and pole.

  22. Steven says:

    Is Perez beating Kamui every race now? I guess theres still good pay drivers out there, it seems Sauber hit the jackpot with this one!

    1. KinoNoNo says:

      Hardly.

      This was probably the first weekend that Perez has looked the quicker guy,but what’s the point if you overdrive in quali and stick it in the wall.

      Then again Perez is a rookie after all,so can’t be too hard on the lad.

  23. Rich C says:

    I must have missed the traditional complaints from Barrichello about the car being ‘un-driveable’.

  24. jay harte says:

    hamilton was robbed today by perez crashing
    he should have done an early banker lap ,leaving it for one lap run at the end is very risky .
    mclaren made a bad call today and handed vettel another xmas present .

  25. Paul says:

    The 107% rule is a joke. Get rid of it. HRT know they couldn’t reach it, so they make excuses, don’t run, save tyres, and become mobile chicanes on Sunday. These are the races where it would benefit not having slow cars on track.

  26. Joe Williams says:

    Good to see Red Bull’s Q3 exhaust valve cooling doing the job again ;)

  27. goferet says:

    @James Allen @ACB Not quite! It’s like this, Vettel didn’t lead the WDC till the last race of 2010 & it’s very possible that this year, Vettel will lead the WDC till the penultimum race only to lose it at the last race … And this is why

    In the 2007 season, the first driver to congratulate the new WDC in parc ferme that wasn’t his teammate, went ahead to win the title themselves the following year.

    So in 2007, Hammy was the first (non teammate) to congratulate Kimi

    In 2008, Jens was the first (non teammate) to congratulate Hammy

    In 2009, Jens dodged Hammy & so no driver (apart from Rubens) got to congratulate the new WDC

    And in 2010, guess who was the first driver to congratulate the youngest WDC, uh-huh.

    Plus, since 2003 (excluding 2004) the driver that was the strongest in the first half of the season, wasn’t the strongest in the second half so if the gap isn’t too large by the mid way stage, anything is possible.

    So I encourage you, to put your money on Hammy for the tide has just turned

    Happy days are here again!

  28. JohnBt says:

    I T ‘ S R A C E D A Y ! Are you all not excited.

    1. Born 1950 says:

      The capitals please. It’s not that exciting.

  29. Aey says:

    After the first corner, If Jenson is still 2nd, I feel like Vettel will have the easy win again.

    Jenson always very slow on the first few laps and will hold the train, he usually not aggresive for the first few lap.

    but if he can be first like alonso in spain, it will be good for the whole group of train behind and tyre strategy will got more chance to come in the game. If Vettel can runaway, look like no more game.

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