Webber snatches pole over Kubica in Monaco

Mark Webber took a sensational pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix maintaining Red Bull Racing’s qualifying record this season.

The Australian fended off a solid challenge from Robert Kubica to take his third pole position of 2010 and with overtaking extremely difficult at this street circuit, the Red Bull driver is looking good for the race.

Kubica was unlucky to miss out on the top spot and the Renault driver was tipped as a strong favourite after setting some competitive lap times in the practice sessions.

It would have been a shock to the Formula One field with a Renault at the front and Kubica’s early Q3 lap time was spectacular. A massive 1.1 seconds advantage! Robert improved this on his second qualifying run, but Mark was even faster and sneaked in a lap time around the 2.075-mile street circuit with one minute, 14.104 seconds.

Kubica’s response was only one minute, 14.120 seconds leaving him second with Webber securing the top spot with a time of one minute, 13.826 seconds. Despite this Robert should be satisfied with this result as he has a good opportunity to challenge Red Bull for the victory come race day.

Sebastian Vettel took third in the second Red Bull, ahead of Q1 leader Felipe Massa, who was the Scuderia’s only representative in the session following a practice crash that left Fernando Alonso on the sidelines with a damaged chassis.

The Spaniard was the race favourite following his impressive lap times in the two opening practice sessions on Thursday, but that crash at Massenet – locking his brake and careered into the armco barrier on the outside – has now dented his chances in scoring a decent result in the Monaco Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver will start Sunday’s race from the pitlane in the repaired F60.

McLaren-Mercedes suffered a disappointing qualifying session with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button down in fifth and eighth respectively. This was a frustrating result and Jenson in particular complained about the car’s balance and the traffic.

As for the Silver Arrows, Nico Rosberg beat his team-mate Michael Schumacher by a small margin of 0.046 seconds to take sixth. It would have been higher but he too was hit by the traffic around the narrow, tight street circuit.

The Williams of Rubens Barrichello will start the Monaco Grand Prix in ninth with his rookie team-mate Nico Hulkenberg two places behind.

Tonio Liuzzi cast aside his qualifying troubles by completing the top ten, while his Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil missed out on Q3 and will line up P12 on the grid.

Vitaly Petrov slewed into the Sainte Devote barriers late in Q2 and will start in P14, ahead of the Sauber pair and Jaime Alguersuari – the latter four positions and 0.7 seconds adrift of Toro Rosso team-mate Sebastien Buemi on his first Monaco Formula One appearance.

And as for the battle between the new teams competing this season, the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen leads the second division of Formula One with P18, despite pushing his car to the limit and spinning twice (at Mirabeau and Loews on consecutive laps)! Team-mate Jarno Trulli is one place behind followed by the Virgin Racing pair of Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi while the HRT of Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok take up P22 and P23.

So, a Renault one-two-three in qualifying. Yet again the RB6 remains the car to beat in qualifying as the Milton Keynes-based squad maintain their 100 per cent record with a sixth consecutive pole position. Can Mark Webber follow up his Spanish Grand Prix success with victory at the Principality? Or will we see Robert Kubica challenging for the race win in the Renault? With overtaking so difficult, it seems certain the speed and the confidence of Webber we will see another victory headed to the Australian.

Qualifying times from Monte Carlo:

1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:13.826
2.  Kubica         Renault                1:14.120
3.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:14.227
4.  Massa          Ferrari                1:14.283
5.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:14.432
6.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:14.544
7.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:14.590
8.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:14.637
9.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:14.901
10. Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:15.170
11. Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:15.317
12. Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:15.318
13. Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:15.413
14. Petrov         Renault                1:15.576
15. de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:15.692
16. Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:15.992
17. Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     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                No time

7 thoughts to “Webber snatches pole over Kubica in Monaco”

  1. The top three drivers’ views on the qualifying session at Monte Carlo. Stories taken from Autosport.com.

    A delighted Mark Webber says is confident he will be able to capitalise on his pole position in the Monaco Grand Prix tomorrow.

    The Australian grabbed his second consecutive pole after a superb lap saw him finish nearly three tenths of a second ahead of Renault’s Robert Kubica.

    The result also meant Red Bull has secured all six pole positions so far this year.

    Now Webber is aiming to score his second in a row.

    “It’s fantastic to be on pole and the team has done a very, very good job,” said the Australian. “Pole at every race, it’s very good for us and the team and Renault. It is a good result for the team so we have to capitalise tomorrow.

    “We know someone had misfortune today, we saw Fernando, and we have to capitalise tomorrow.”

    The Australian, a dominant winner of the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, admitted his car was great during today’s sessions.

    “The car was a pleasure, the guys have worked incredibly hard, it is a great team effort,” said Webber. “Three Renault engines is a big credit as well. The heart rate is up. You have to be very precise and I am very happy to be here.

    He added: “I will wake up happy in the morning. It is a long race, I know that. It is a very, very narrow track, we will come across backmarkers, the track here changes during the GP.

    “I am optimistic I can have a nice clean race and do the best job possible. The team has given us good momentum and we can give it a good crack from there. We have some reasonable opposition around us as is normal in F1.”

    Robert Kubica admitted he was amazed that he was able to split the Red Bulls and take a front row slot in Monaco qualifying, just a week after he was 1.5 seconds off the pace and back in seventh on the Spanish Grand Prix grid.

    Only a late charge from Mark Webber prevented Kubica taking a shock pole in Monte Carlo today.

    “If the same car is 1.5 seconds quicker in Barcelona there is no reason why we should qualify in front of them,” said Kubica. “I was surprised by the pace in practice but miracles don’t happen in F1. Normally when you are very close there is a bit of upset but we have to be realistic, the team has done a great job.”

    Kubica thinks the Renault will perform even better in race trim tomorrow.

    “Generally the characteristic of the car is similar to this morning, this morning I felt the car was a bit better with changes more for the race,” he said. “I was scared with a lot of fuel we would have a lot of bottoming, we raised the car a bit so a bit of disadvantage for qualifying but for the race it should be better.

    “Of course in Monaco the race is a bit different, it is not about race pace but bringing car home, pitting at the right moment, getting out of pitstop without traffic. The race pace helps but even if you are one second quicker it doesn’t matter, you have to pit at the right moment, and get out ahead of everybody. That is how it works in Monaco.”

    He said he there was no disappointment over being pipped for pole despite having come so close.

    “I am not disappointed, of course I am here for qualifying as best as I can and today we achieved it,” said Kubica. “The first one is what counts but second or third is still good. We have to be realistic, for me, for us, it is a great achievement and we hope for good points tomorrow.”

    Kubica also played down the disadvantage of starting on the dirty line in second place.

    “I don’t know to be honest, our starts in the beginning of the year were very good but unfortunately lately we were not as good as we were,” he said. “In Barcelona we managed a good start but lost out some distance.

    “In Monaco it is not far to first breaking. Dirty side, clean side… we will see tomorrow, there is a bit of difference but it is so small that we shouldn’t worry too much.”

    Sebastian Vettel is hopeful he will enjoy a stronger race on Sunday after being unable to match the pace of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in qualifying.

    Vettel was outqualified by Webber for the second weekend in a row, as the Australian secured his third pole in six races with a great performance around the street of Monte Carlo.

    Vettel had to settle for third position after finishing four tenths of a second behind Webber.

    “I think we still did a step forward but probably it will be better in the race than in qualifying,” said Vettel. “Now we are third, if they don’t crash into the first corner then there won’t be a lot of clean air tomorrow.

    “You never know, a lot of things can happen, especially with backmarkers, so we will see.”

    The German admitted he was surprised by the traffic issues he encountered in the final qualifying segment, when only 10 cars were on track.

    “It was quite a surprise. Even though there was only 10 cars, there was traffic, so it wasn’t ideal for the tyres. When it was clear I couldn’t use it.

    “All in all still a good result as Mark said, so compliments to the team and Renault. I think there has been some criticism on the power side. We know probably it is not the strongest engine but for sure here it counts a lot with driveability.

    “Tomorrow is a long race, lots of things can happen and it’s good to be in front, so let’s see.”

  2. After setting the pace on Thursday, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will start the Monaco Grand Prix right at the back after crashing in the final session leading up to qualifying. The damage to his F60 meant the team were unable to repair the car in time for the qualifying session and so the double world champion will start the race in the pitlane. Despite this the Spaniard believes he has a chance to score a decent result. Read the Autosport.com article posted below for the full story.

    Fernando Alonso says he is still eyeing a points finish in the Monaco Grand Prix despite having to start from the pitlane.

    The Ferrari driver has been forced to miss today’s qualifying after his car was too damaged to be fixed in time following a crash during the final practice session this morning.

    Alonso, fastest in both of yesterday’s practice sessions, will be forced to start from the pitlane with a new chassis.

    Despite overtaking being virtually impossible in Monaco, the two-time champion says he is still aiming to finish in the points.

    “These things happen and you can’t do anything about it,” Alonso said. “Now let’s hope Felipe can have a good qualifying and let’s see what the positions are for tomorrow thinking about a possible comeback.”

    He added: “We’ll see. It’s difficult to start from last place in Monaco but it’s a long race and in 2006 Schumacher started last and finished in fifth so tomorrow the goal is to score some points. We’ll see if we are that lucky.”

    UPDATE: Fernando Alonso admits he is facing a very difficult Monaco Grand Prix after being forced to take the start from the pitlane.

    The Spanish driver had to sit out today’s qualifying after his Ferrari was damaged when he crashed at the Massenet corner during final practice.

    With rules not allowing the use of a spare car, Alonso will have to start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane, at a track where overtaking is nearly impossible.

    The Ferrari driver admitted the incident could not have come at a worst circuit, but he is not giving up on a point-scoring finish just yet.

    “It’s a very difficult circuit because overtaking is impossible, so it’s the worst circuit to start at the back,” Alonso told reporters. “But we also saw in 2006 Michael [Schumacher] finished sixth starting last, so we need to try to repeat that performance.

    “We think it’s very difficult, but we also know that it’s difficult that the first 10 cars finish the race, because many things can happen in one race. It happened to us in practice and maybe it can happen to others in the race. We have to be ready to take the opportunity.”

    Alonso reckons his crash was very unlucky as the chassis broke despite the low speed of the impact.

    “I think it was an unlucky situation because I touched the wall at 90km/h and I broke the chassis. I think if I crash 100 times, 99 I will never break the chassis, but this time it happened.”

    The two-time champion, whose team-mate Felipe Massa qualified in fourth, said he expected to be able to fight for pole position.

    He conceded, however, that Ferrari still needed to find more speed in order to catch Red Bull.

    “I think we need to improve, that’s for sure,” he said. “I think we all understand that Red Bull is quick at the moment. It’s the quickest car. I think here in Monte Carlo we were at a very good level, maybe quick enough to fight for pole position, so we missed the opportunity but I think at some of the tracks Red Bull will be the favourite, especially for qualifying.

    “But we remain very optimistic about the future development of the car. We have new parts coming for the next grands prix so hopefully we can catch them.

    “Also at the same time they are behind us in the championship so let’s concentrate first in McLaren and Button, who are in front of us, and tomorrow afternoon we’ll decide who is the next target. At the moment, McLaren and Button are the target.”

  3. 2009 Monaco Grand Prix winner Jenson Button will start the race down in eighth after omplained about the lack of grip with his choice of tyres in Q3. Autosport.com has the details as posted below.

    Jenson Button felt McLaren would have been better off sticking with hard tyres in Q3 after he struggled to eighth on the grid.

    The championship leader was also frustrated with having been blocked by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa at the start of the final qualifying segment.

    “The car in Q1 felt pretty good on the harder tyres but we didn’t run them in Q3 so a little bit of a shame really,” Button told TV crews in Monaco.

    “I think maybe that was a better option. We ran on the softer tyre like everyone else and I struggled on it – a lot of movement in high speed at the rear and a lot of understeer at low speed apex. Didn’t feel great.

    “I don’t think Lewis [Hamilton] is particularly that happy either, he’s fifth and I’m eighth, so I’m obviously a long way back but even so it’s a bit frustrating. The car didn’t feel that great in qualifying on the soft tyres so it’s a pity we chose to go that direction.”

    Button’s incident with Massa came at the end of his first flying lap in Q3, when he encountered the Ferrari going into the final corner and had to slow down, while Massa then accelerated away to start his own first run.

    “I had so much space and I don’t know what he was thinking,” said Button. “There are only 10 cars out there in Q3 so it should be easy to keep out of the way of cars coming round, but he obviously wasn’t looking in his mirrors and it was right at the end of a timed lap as well – it was my first timed lap of the session.

    “Very annoying. I don’t know what the lap time would have been but very annoying that he got in the way because it was blatantly slowing me down.”

  4. Despite edging out Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher by a margin of 0.046 seconds, Nico Rosberg was left frustrated to start the Monaco Grand Prix in sixth. When questioned after the qualifying session, the young German was in a bad mood as he felt he would have been on pole position. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Nico Rosberg described his sixth place on the Monte Carlo grid as a ‘terrible’ performance, as he felt his Mercedes had been quick enough for pole position.

    The German was fastest in Q2, and was devastated that he could not maintain that form.

    “I’m very sorry, I’m in a bad mood because I did terribly,” Rosberg said to television reporters. “I should have had pole or at least first row of the grid today because in Q2 it was easy for me to be first with just one set of tyres so I should have been on the front row or just right up there.”

    He said there had been no specific problem other than a failure to get the best out of the car and find gaps in the traffic.

    “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,” Rosberg said.

    “Just a disaster and very, very disappointing. So I’m really sorry to the whole team that it went so bad. Difficult race tomorrow, then, starting sixth.”

    Michael Schumacher will start a place behind Rosberg in seventh in the second Mercedes.

    UPDATE: Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn admitted he was left frustrated by the ‘cock-up’ that saw Nico Rosberg hold up Michael Schumacher in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

    Brawn had high hopes that his team could deliver its best qualifying performance of the season so far on the streets of Monte Carlo, but both Rosberg and Schumacher lost their best chances through traffic.

    And worst of all for the team, whose driver line-up sixth and seventh, a problem with Rosberg’s exit from the pits meant that he managed to hold up Schumacher on track too.

    “I feel extremely frustrated about today because we had a good car all weekend, and as a team we didn’t perform well in Q3,” said Brawn.

    “There was a problem with Nico’s car getting out of the garage. We knew the last thing we wanted was to have our two cars on the same piece of track, because if there had been an incident both cars would get caught up.

    “So the plan was to split them, but when we came to release Nico’s car we had a problem releasing it, and it left the garage 20 or 30 seconds later than we planned. So then we had both cars together.

    “Plus, Nico was getting squeezed between Michael behind him and Rubens [Barrichello] in front of him, and we didn’t manage it very well as a team.

    “Michael was annoyed after the second or third lap got spoiled, but when I explained what happened he was okay – just frustrated. But I think all of us were frustrated today because we did have a reasonable car around here and, as you saw in Q2, we were looking forward to final qualifying and we cocked up.”

    Rosberg apologised to Schumacher after qualifying for holding him up, and said he too was a bit annoyed by what happened.

    “For sure Q3 didn’t go my way and that is why I am very disappointed, because I think at least it would have been a front row grid position today – and with the chance to go all the way to the front if I had got everything together.

    “It is disappointing because it didn’t go my way and just the whole Q3, the whole thing didn’t go right. I never got into a rhythm because I was stuck in a bad place between two cars with Barrichello in front and Michael behind, so I could never push to get a rhythm.

    “I never had a good lap until the last lap, where I then had a few issues with brake balance and made a mistake as a result, so it didn’t come together. It is disappointing but that is it. We need to move on.”

  5. During Jenson Button’s Q3 run, the McLaren driver encounter the slow Ferrari of Felipe Massa in sector three. The Brazilian was on the racing line and that moment cost significant lap time to the 2009 world champion. Massa denied he blocked Button as Autosport.com outlines the story.

    Felipe Massa has denied blocking Jenson Button on purpose during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

    The McLaren driver was angry at the Brazilian after he slowed down right in front of Button just as the Briton was about to complete a flying lap in Q3.

    “Very annoying. I don’t know what the lap time would have been but very annoying that he got in the way because it was blatantly slowing me down,” said Button after qualifying.

    Massa said he slowed down in order to get a clean lap, but denied blocking Button on purpose.

    “There was a car in front of me, he slowed down and I slowed down as well. Then I pushed and when I see Jenson coming I pushed, so I didn’t do anything on purpose, definitely,” said Massa.

    “I cannot complain so much because in Q1, I was not in traffic. For me it was worse in Q3 than Q1, but maybe I was lucky as well. I am sure some people had traffic in Q1, but anyway it didn’t happen.”

    The Ferrari driver, who qualified in fourth, was very pleased with his performance, especially after getting over his problems with the tyres.

    “I feel happy, I feel that definitely the tyres are working well, so the car is much more competitive and easier to drive compared to the last race, so I feel really on the normal direction driving like I want on this track.

    The Brazilian also said there was still a lot to play for tomorrow, despite Mark Webber again securing a dominant pole position.

    “Game over, for sure not. It takes a very long time to say it is game over, it is not game over. We are there to fight and we are going to try to fight until the end, until the end of the championship when you see that in the points you have no chance.

    “It is never game over. We are pushing hard inside the factory to be the best and to fight with whatever team.”

  6. As for the 2008 world champion and previous Monaco winner Lewis Hamilton, he said that fifth was the best possible result. Read the story below as posted by Autosport.com.

    Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monaco 2010Lewis Hamilton said there was no way he could have gone any faster than the lap that put him fifth on the grid in Monaco.

    The 2008 Monte Carlo winner reckoned Red Bull – which took first and third on the grid with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel – was just too quick to challenge on the street track.

    “On that last lap I literally got everything that was in the car, there was really nothing left,” said Hamilton.

    “So clearly the Red Bulls have quite a lot more downforce, specially in the middle sector – they’re like half a second faster than me.

    “Literally, I touched all the barriers I could touch and used all the road I could use, so I’m happy with my performance.”

    Last week Red Bull dominated qualifying in Spain, but Hamilton was able to split them in the race until crashing when a tyre deflated due to a wheel problem two laps from the end.

    He is optimistic that the gap will close in race trim again in Monaco.

    “It would’ve been great to be on pole, but the race is tomorrow, we’re on the clean side for the start, and it’s not over till it’s over,” Hamilton said.

    “Tomorrow hopefully the car will be a little bit more competitive in the race, and hopefully we can make some steps forward.”

  7. What an exciting qualifying session!

    Brilliant driving by Kubica and Webber, with the latter simply stunning the hell out of everyone. Bet those last few seconds played out the same as Lewis versus Massa in Brazil!

    Renault : “Yeah! We got pole. A Pole on pole! Woot Woot…….oh shit!” LOL

    But second on the grid is still plenty good.

    I hope Webber can do the business as I would love him to stay a bit more consistent.

    But this is Monaco, so those walls are mm’s away and it looked like Webber had even made contact judging by the way he was looking at his tyres after the car was parked up. Also it’s hard work for the brakes. Hmmmmm, with Red Bull adding extra air ducts to try and keep the brakes cool, I’m not sure how much faith they have in the dodgy braking system that has failed on numerous occasions.

    As for the rest, well then McLarens were so, so. It appeared from first appearances from Jenson’s car, Massa DEFINITELY slowed on purpose. I would find it hard to believe Massa would do such a thing though. Any other driver, then yeah I would, but not Massa. However, it really did look like a deliberate move. Would it have made a big difference, well no, not really as Jenson just didn’t have the lap times. Even with his liking for the hard tyre, something he protested at his interview, I dont think he would be anywhere near a pole position. Besides, I think if you can keep in touch with wearing soft tyres at the start, hards at the end will be even better by then. The track will have lost all it’s ‘real road effects’ over the last 12 months, so I would moan too much Jenson.

    After an incredible start for Nico, he just died out there for the final session. God knows what happened, considering you could time a racing lap quite easily. Schuey has got his old SWB car back, so that’s him struggling again, though the Monaco circuit will surely minimise many issues he has with it.

    The lower end teams still stuggled, but I was suprised we didn’t have many crashes, with young new heads, in new not very good cars. Of course some were lucky eh Heikki Kovalainen?!

    I just love this circuit, with it’s years of history and those streets giving us so much to enjoy. Love watching the cars fly round the chicanes and the incredible on-board shots. All I need now is for it all to be in HD!

    I so want to go here for a F1 weekend, but it costs soooooo much. Then you got meals etc which being Monaco are going to be costly as well. But before I die, I will manage it. That and Singapore. I don’t know how I’m going to get to do them, but it WILL happen!

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