Webber on pole as Alonso suffers a disaster
Webber on pole as Alonso suffers a disaster
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 May 2010   |  3:36 pm GMT  |  117 comments

Mark Webber stunned F1 again today with his second pole position in eight days as he dominated qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

It is the sixth pole in six races for Red Bull this season. That is championship winning form and after early season reliability issues, they need to make sure they again convert it to a win tomorrow.

All predictions, including his own, were that it would be very close. In the end it wasn’t close at all. Webber was 3/10ths of a second ahead of Robert Kubica’s Renault, with Sebastian Vettel in third, 4/10ths behind Webber.

But the big story was Fernando Alonso’s accident in the morning practice session, which destroyed his car and meant that he missed qualifying. He will start the Grand Prix tomorrow from the pit lane in a newly made-up car.

It was an uncharacteristic error by the two times world champion and is the second major error this season, after his jump start in China which led to a drive through penalty on a day when he could have won the race. Alonso accepted full blame for the incident, “I lost the car,” he said glumly.

Comparisons will be drawn with Michael Schumacher’s drive through the field in 2006, but the conditions are very different. For a start there is no refuelling strategy nowadays, so less tactical options. Also there are more cars on the track than there were back then and the slowest ones are much slower. And finally he doesn’t enjoy the same level of car advantage as Schumacher did in 2006 on the Bridgestone tyre.

Webber’s lap was really something special, Christian Horner told me that the telemetry shows the tiny corrections on the steering wheel through Casino Square are amazing. He described Webber’s form as being a ‘purple patch’ and it will be fascinating to see how long it lasts. Certainly Vettel’s expression afterwards said it all, he is being soundly beaten at the moment.

But Webber’s fight was not with Vettel in the sister Red Bull car, but with Kubica. The Pole also elevated himself today with some incredibly committed driving. He reminded us in the interviews afterwards that his car was a second and a half off the Red Bull in Spain, so it was quite an achievement.

The surprises of the qualifying were Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton, whom many had expected to challenge for pole position. Massa was third until the final seconds when Vettel stole the place from him on his last lap, while Hamilton ended up 5th, six tenths slower than Webber. Team mate Button was 8th.

All the leading cars had advantages in different areas; the McLaren is quick up the hill in sector 1, while the Red Bull is very strong in the low speed middle sector and the final sector with the Swimming Pool. This is where Massa wasn’t so strong.

Nico Rosberg was fastest in the second part of qualifying, but couldn’t carry that form through to Q3, ending up 6th, 5/100ths faster than team mate Michael Schumacher. “It just went completely wrong in the last qualifying – just didn’t get it together – too many laps with traffic and just made a mistake myself,” said Rosberg, going on to describe his performance as a “disaster”.

Earlier on the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen came very close to making it into Q2 for the first time as he set a blistering pace for a new team car. He was ninth for a time, but ended up just under a second slower than the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari.

Once again the Virgin cars were two tenths behind.

1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:15.035 1:14.462 1:13.826
2. Kubica Renault 1:15.045 1:14.549 1:14.120
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:15.110 1:14.568 1:14.227
4. Massa Ferrari 1:14.757 1:14.405 1:14.283
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.676 1:14.527 1:14.432
6. Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.188 1:14.375 1:14.544
7. Schumacher Mercedes 1:15.649 1:14.691 1:14.590
8. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.623 1:15.150 1:14.637
9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:15.590 1:15.083 1:14.901
10. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:15.397 1:15:061 1:15.170
11. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:16.030 1:15.317
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:15.445 1:15.318
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.961 1:15.413
14. Petrov Renault 1:15.482 1:15.576
15. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.908 1:15.692
16. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.175 1:15.992
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.021 1:16.176
18. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.094
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.134
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.377
21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.864
22. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:18.509
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:19.559
24. Alonso Ferrari Did not set a time

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Off topic but i will nevertheless ask. Is vettel’s career panning out just like Kimi’s? I see a lot of similarities, your thoughts?


No, he’s quite different. How he overcomes Webber will be very interesting this season


Is Hamiltons career turning out like Kimi’s is more the question. Vettel’s very young this will make him stronger and faster. Vettel v Webber is shaping up to be awesome. I cant wait for the race in the morning.


James, when you interviewed him after Quali, he seemed really angry or disgruntled about something, did you get that vibe from him? I dont think he is to happy with Webbo performance.


He stayed that way the rest of the afternoon. He’s a competitive animal


IF he overcomes Webber you mean 🙂

As for qualifying, epic stuff from the front row, Liuzzi and Heikki.

The directing was rubbish though, I swear we saw about 7 times more Alonso than we did the guy who got pole. Was horrible.


I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was wondering why were looking at Alonso’s face so much, instead of the Red Bulls.


Go Webber! It seems to me Mark has gotten his quali mojo back in the last few races. He was always seen as a one lap specialist until Vettel came along. Now he’s 3 all with Vettel, this week beating him by a very solid margin. Fingers crossed no problems in the race for him so he can convert it to a win!

Awesome quali from Kubica! Congratulations. If it was anyone else beating him to pole I’d be spewing for Bob. I was cheering for him until Webber popped up top from out of nowhere.


Hello all!

I disagree with your opinion that it will be harder for Alonso to go up the order this year that it was for Schumi in 2006.

I think it could be even easier!


Because the limitations in strategy affects all, but Alonso “is more free” to adapt.

Let’s say that Alonso pits to change his tyres on the very first lap.

Then, for about 5 laps he will enjoy free track, and if the Lotus, Virgin and HRT facilitate his move (don’t see why not), then by lap 9 or 10 he will be on the back of the Saubers and Toro Rossos, that I’m pretty sure will also not difficult Alonso’s life (Ferrari oblige).

So, by lap 15, Fernando could already be racing in 12 or 13 position, only with his stop already done!

And if by then theres a pace car (Nelsinho, please came back :-)), better yet.

So, with a little help from lady luck, Alonso could finish well inside the first five.

Do you think I’m crazy??


No, but your thoughts are at odds with the team strategists and engineers I’ve spoken to. It’s all about track position and he’s got no way of gaining it other than passing cars


Which at Monaco is close to impossible


Lotus doing well. i would be a bit worried if i were Williams , force India and the like for next season,


The best part wasn’t Marky getting the big P, but seeing Vettel’s face in the press conference. He gets such a cob on if he gets beaten. Especially if its mark. The look on his face, he hates it. Like a child. Its happenned Seb, moaning won’t change it, get on with it. He’s a great driver when he’s out front, other than that, hmmmmm


Nobody likes being beaten by the teammate, someothers just hide the frustration much better.

Stuart Fenton

Nobody gets a moody face more than vettel if he isn’t sitting on that middle chair in the press conference. My problem with it? One, his anger at not being 1 is more obvious than any other driver. It simply isn’t professional! I want hand shakes and pat on the backs and bouquets


I agree. Don’t think he is very nice actually. The way he spitefully tried to push Hamilton into the engineers in the pitlane in China was appalling and shows his true character.

As for Alonso having a rare accident, I seem to remember him crashing last year in Monaco in the Renault. F1 pundritry seems to be more about perception and hype, than reality.


So when Vettel beats Mark, Mark is very happy?

No, he looks down and beaten too, just like all the other driver’s of other teams if their team mate beats them. It is a natural reaction by a human.

Non-issue only brought up for the sake of what?


When did he moan about it? Mark’s face and tone in voice was even more depressive than Vettel’s and he got the pole.

You are only seeing what you want to see.

If Vettel didn’t have all those technical issues which Mark never had, he would have double the points Mark has.


Nice to see two of the lesser hyped drivers truly show their stuff. Afer lasts week’s race where Vettel tried to bully his way past Webber at the first corner, I hope his frusration doesn’t lead him to get too aggressive and take Webber or Kubica out during tomorrow’s start.

That kid is going to win championships, but for his own sake I hope his immaturity doesn’t lead him to causing accidents by getting too impatient to make it happen immediately.

Webber’s a great guy and I’d like to see him win the championship before he retires but if the rumors of him retiring after this year are true, then it would be very cool to see Kimi in his seat next year.



How do you feel about Alonso having to miss qualfying because of the crash? Does the lack of a spare car really save the teams any money? If anything, that rule hurts the show as we had 1 less competitive car shooting it out for pole to day.


Hi James,

What are your views on spare cars in F1 these days? Surely the teams have enough spare parts with them at each race to build a whole car so why not just allow them to have a spare car.

Would it cost that much? It cost us Alonso in quali today.



They do as I think Ferrari used a spare tub to rebuild alonsos car. They no longer are allowed to take spare cars to races for cost reasons (although they take them in spares it seems 🙂

think that’s right isn’t it James ?


Love the new mobile theme on my Blackberry, good work.

I also hope for a little rain for the race. Last year Rubens in 3rd on the grid jumped Kimi for 2nd by the first corner, hope the same doesn’t happen tomorrow. I wonder if Alonso is hoping for a Webber win? Keeps the points away from Seb…..


I always love quali at Monaco, the improving track, the times falling down, the drivers running a lot,it´s just special.

Watching Kubica today on that Renault was fantastic, on the limit lap after lap, i really enjoyed specially watching him.

As for the race, it´s Monaco and anything could happen ,the weather, a safety-car, the start, so many things in prospect.


James, do you know what the lap time record for Monaco is? I know the race lap record is held by schumacher, but I was hoping to see the quali record, as webber’s lap seems pretty sensational.



Many says that the record belongs to Schumacher with 1:14.439 during the race.

But i remember Kimi laping it with a 1:13:532 on Quali 2 in 2006.

Maybe James can confirm this!



The best I’ve found is 2006, Raikkonen, Q2 with a 1:13.532. The year before when there was still aggregate solo qualifying, his Saturday low fuel time was 1:13.644 on tyres that lasted the whole race.




Lewis’s post quali comments don’t sit well with me. All in the leadup to this race, he was spoken with optimism. This is the drivers track after all.

Fair enough about Redbull’s downforce but what about Kubica and Massa.. why didn’t you outqualify them Lewis?

He also said this weekend that this car feels great and that it’s much better then last years. Last year he was in the hunt for pole before putting it in the wall. His win in Hungary showed how strong that car was in slow corners (but it was HORRIBLE in the fast ones). It seems now in retrospect that last years car was faster at Monaco.

It reminds me of when in last years preseason he said the car feels great and very similar to the car from the year before. He was using 2008 rear wing on the 2009 car, and didn’t even realise how badly the car sucked at that point.

Does he really believe what he is saying or is he just playing the media like a fiddle?

I’m not criticising his driving. He drove pretty well today. Not outstanding but pretty well. His PR comments put all the blame on the car though, and fail to address why he was out qualified by “going to be leaving Ferrari” Massa, and Kubica in the downforce lacking Renault.


Alonso also says great things about the F10. But he has no poles yet.

I guess they can only talk about the cars they are driving, if Lewis says that the car feels much better than last years that must be true.

I don´t think his playing the media.

I think he sounds a litle bit enthusiastic because he feels that he extracted all the pace from the car, it just wasn´t enough.


I hear what your saying james about alonso. Surely an early stop should bring him back into a lower points contention and will just have to put up with worn tyres later on


James, do the drivers that live in Monaco go home in the evenings or do they stay in motorhomes etc to keep in the zone?


Go Webber Go. After all these years of getting up at god knows when to watch him in shitty cars that blow up after he put the car in an impossible positions. Its great to see him kicking some arse. Im gonna put this out there if your from Australia or Poland you work a lot harder to get anywhere in F1 or London for that matter. So well done boys and keep on proving the doubters wrong.


Go webbarrrrrrrrrrrrr GO GO GO GO GO GO GO. At last webber is really showing just how good all us Aussies know he is!!!!

P.S James are you doing a pre race interview with Webber for ONE HD?? Keep up the great work James..


Yes. Did it last night


Perhaps if Alonso stops the ridiculous Ferrari love talk guff he can start driving properly.


one of the few mistakes!!! James, you will have to reconsider your position on alonso. He seems to me that the magic he had during his championship years, is hard to be found. I would say he is mistake prone these days.

His championship hopes are now gone, he’ll have problems with lack of engines at the end of the year, and he might be behind the red bulls tomorrow in the points table. What is it going to happen when the red bulls get to the fast tracks during summer, they are going to be hard to stop.


His championship hopes are gone? As of today he is still second, 3 points back, so in the worst case he will be 28 points behind on Sunday evening, which is equivalent to a win and an 8th place (I think) according to new points. It’s 13 races to go in this season and we have already seen drivers lose and make up as many points in the first five.

I also doubt he will have an engine problem. He might have to manage them a bit more than he’d like, and he certainly wishes not to have made the mistakes in China and today (and yes, he does try too hard and makes too many mistakes), but “gone” it is not.


I have to agree, I´m not Alonso fan but there´s a lot of water to go under the bridge before the end of the year.

The championship is very open for many drivers including Alonso even if he doesn´t score points tomorrow.

I kind expect a 4 away fight for the championship: the 2 Red Bull drivers, Alonso and Hamilton.



I don’t think this crash will cause that much damage, dear! Just wait and see, Alonso will bounce back, as always.

You seem like a frustrated fangirl.


hello james,

the race certainly will be interesting all be it the start will actually be breathtaking i think.

Anyway, James i would like to hear your thoughts on whether McLaren’s restructuring of the drivers engineers will have caused more problems than expected especially for LH? I am asking because of the admitted error on McLaren’s side having given Lewis the wrong info on heating up his tires plus the extra pit stop decision in two separate venues.


tomorrows results

1 LH

2 Vettel

3 Massa


1.Kubica (Webber spins tyres on start)



or so I wish


I think you might be optimistic to think that hamilton can jump from 5th to 1st…even if webber and kubica crash or retire…


what about webber? Accident at st devote with kubica?


If the podium consists of Hamilton, Vettel and Massa I’ll actually eat my own house… Seriously.


I figure Webber will either fall back dramatically fifth or sixth or retire fully due to fragility.

Sorry but heh who knows for sure 😉


Apparently those two drivers aren’t very good according to this LH fan.. lol.


James please don’t make excuses in advance for alonso, let him prove his status as the so-called

most complete driver in f1 by doing better in the race tomorow than schumachers” feat in 2006


Why does Alonso have to prove anything? Besides, it’s a different car in a different season. If he makes it to 6th from the pit, it’ll be a stellar drive. Period.


My point is not that alonso must neccessarily finnish 5th,

but that his cv could do with a memorable fighting drive from

the back and thus “prove” that he is as “complete” as people

like to claim that he is -which I doubt

Another the point, Schumacher is villified for his 2006 monaco “incident”

but those same people conspicously not only overlook but applauad a similar

case of sly opportunism from a sportsman committed

by diego “hand of God” maradonna-HYPOCRACY

Anyway great blog James, 4got to mention it earlier


Alonso has had many battling drives – I remember Paul Stodart’s quote about Alonso in a Minardi at Suzuka 2001 driving “53 qualifying laps” and earning a midfield position in a race not through attrition but speed. His stints in the Renault in 2008/09 were remarkable considering the car was not on the pace of the front runners.

I don’t know what you are talking about with your second point about Maradona, whether in relation to Alonso or Schumacher.


My point is not that alonso must neccessarily finnish 5th,

but that his cv could do with a memorable fighting drive from

the back and thus “prove” that he is as “complete” as people

like to claim that he is -which I doubt

Another the point, Schumacher is villified for his 2006 monaco “incident”

but those same people conspicously not only overlook but applauad a similar

case of sly opportunism from a sportsman committed

by diego “hand of God” maradonna-HYPOCRACY


I would agree but unfortunately the races are fairly different – its not excuses its just the way it is. We will see how well he does, I’m sure it’ll be a brilliant drive from him.


No excuses, but I wouldn’t be doing my job properly as a journo if I didn’t point out some differences.


If you remember MS got a number of very critical breaks to get his 5th place finish…..very good breaks!


Yeah, breaks…to be 15th by lap 20 on a heavy load. You make your luck, and he did it that day by driving the wheels of that car, fastest through speedtrap and setting fastest lap on 74th lap, stopping once and driving a heavy car.


He has a couple more cars to pass too than Michael had in 2006. James do you think the hard tires will last a full race, in which case someone’s suggestion of pitting on lap 1 could gain him a hell of a lot of time.


As I’ve said many times before, and yet been lambasted for – in the dry, Jenson Button is simply not the driver people seem to think he is.
He constantly complains when he’s off the pace and claims to be perfect when he’s on it. At Hamiltons stays positive throughout. Shame for Alonso but that add some spice Id say. He should pit on lap 1! Kubica’s driving is simply sensational to watch on board – good for him. And good for Webber too, he seems to be in a sweet spot. Massa has to grab this opportunity to get his confidence back. Don’t quite know what to think about Merc situation – it all feels very lumpy.

Anybody know if rain is forecast at all tomorrow?


Button was so obviously blocked by Massa its comical for someone to say otherwise. Was it intentional? We have no way of knowing. If you watch the lap in question, Massa slowed down and forced Button to ruin his lap. As for Button not being the driver ppl say, he’s schooling his teammate this season and making him look like a candidate for a switch to NASCAR. Lol.


What complete and utter baloney, ‘schooling his teammate’.

He has yet to match Lewis’s race pace, and without the tire failure at Spain, there would be but one point between the two.


Don’t disagree with that. Lewis, as with every driver has to make every point count, and luck can play a part. We will see.


The trouble with your last point Phil is that it may prove to be the deciding factor at the end of the season. From a team perspective, Button is still in the pound seat.


Button was 2 tenths off Hamilton who said he couldn’t get any more out of the car… Yep Button is sooooo slow.

Agree with everything else though… Kubica is defo worth a punt at the bookies, I can’t help thinking the Red Bull will be too hard on those softs again.


No rain, just partly cloudy.


If there was going to be rain, it would be today. No rain tommorow.

I agree (to an extent) about Button. One thing that irritates me about Button is that his smoooooth driving style is mentioned so often. However it’s also a factor for his slowness. He is timid. It helps in some situations and hurts in others. Fair enough on that. But no one after quali was talking about the smoothness then, were they?

I’ve always liked aggressive drivers but that’s neither here nor there.

Jenson is a good driver and he’s a WDC. He’s just not happy when the car isn’t happy, he’s very fussy. He’s still a good driver. I agree he complains too much. He cares very much about what the outside thinks, and sometimes it doesn’t look good when he complains. Last year during the race.. some of the “how can this car be sooo bad” comments were a bit rich, his car won the WDC. But that’s just Button.

Is it possible to be overrated and underrated at the same time? If it is, it’s Button. Button on his day is fantastic. But if he’s not happy, he’s average or below. It especially hurts at Monaco because it’s a confidence track. His 2006 pole was breathtaking but some of his Monaco qualifyings have been awful.

It’s the same story with his racecraft. Sometimes it’s fantastic, but sometimes he is too polite or timid and doesn’t go defensive enough. Alot of people admire the “gentlemen” racers, but I want to see my driver give it everything they got and fight tooth and nail before they concede position.

How often do you see Button make contact with something? He and Lewis are polar opposites in almost every way.



I reckon you’re spot on there. In Autocourse Ross Brawn was quoted as saying that when the car is perfect Button is faster than Schumacher at his peak. Jackie Stewart said he wished he looked as good as Button in terms of smoothness. This is something that drivers admire, but from the outside this looks similar to a car that is cruising.

Watching Hamilton is usually an event, but in a way it would be even better if he had an understeering car on turn in, as we’d get to see him countering it by getting the back out under braking. In a “perfect” car he is probably slower, particularly in fast corners, but cars are rarely perfect across an entire race (e.g. Button in Turkey).


Correction – His 2006 Melbourne pole.


Very happy for Webber. Hopefully now he can start to get the respect he deserves.

It was an epic duel with Kubica and I hope that at some stage we can see the pole lap. Stupid race director never showed it!!!!


james any news on williams?how the things with the car are going?thnak you in advance.


Actually, Kovalainen has already made it to Q2 once, in Malaysia, albeit with the help of rain and McLaren and Ferrari completely misjudging the conditions.

David Jerromes

Top job by Red Bull and in particular one seriously inspired Mark Webber!

My star of qualifying has to be Robert Kubica though, the way he hustled that Renault was awesome!

I found Hamilton’s post-quali comments a touch too arrogant, even if what he claims is true – the car had no more to give in his hands..

Talking of arrogant, poor old Alonso starting at the back, now with the predicted wet weather and the new teams in front it should be very exciting to see what he can pull off from the disaster that Monaco has been thus far.

We know he’s quick for sure!

The much-hyped traffic problems really didn’t come into play so much however there were many notable examples of experienced drivers such as Schumi blowing other’s laps..

Such a shame Heiki just couldn’t quite break into Q2, he fully deserved it as did Lotus.

Massa missed a golden opportunity with Alonso watching from the sidelines..

If Kubica can get the jump on Webber…, should be an excellent race!


No chance Kubica got the jump on Webber… Watch Vettel how to do that on Kubica instead…


“Talking of arrogant, poor old Alonso starting at the back”

What a gratuit commentary. Alonso has taken it quite graciously, judging from his attitude and live commentaries after the accident.

David Jerromes

Yes he has taken it quite well considering the unmitigated disaster it has been for him and could well prove decisive in the championships.

Still arrogant though, like Hamilton; very good at what they do BUT both supremely arrogant.

I love to watch both racers regardless, hence commenting on how fun it should be watching Alonso trying to charge through the field, especially if it’s a wet race as some are predicting…

I still think Kubica could surprise Webber!


Big thanks to RK for delivering a high tension moments to his fans. I am not sure how many of them really believed he can do that given Renault’s true pace is somewhere around fifth fastest.

Congratulations to MW; how on earth did he managed to go so fast. Definitely it changed my opinion of him, I used to rate him rather low, way too low to what he deserves.

I hope will have an eventful race.

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