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