Schumacher quickest but Webber will start on pole in Monaco

Michael Schumacher might have been fastest around the streets of Monte Carlo but it will be Mark Webber who starts the Monaco Grand Prix in pole position with the German receiving his five-place grid penalty for crashing into Bruno Senna in Spain.

The seven-time world champion vaulted his Mercedes from a provisional fifth after his first Q3 run to the top grid slot with a time of one minute, 14.301 seconds at the end of an exciting qualifying session.

But the penalty for his Barcelona incident means Schumacher will not be able to claim the first pole position since making his Formula One comeback. Instead Red Bull driver Webber – who was only 0.08 seconds slower – will head the Monte Carlo grid for the second time in his Formula One career.

Nico Rosberg held provisional pole for most of Q3, before slipping down to third. The Chinese Grand Prix winner will start the race on the front row following his Mercedes team-mate’s penalty.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was fourth quickest, ahead of Romain Grosjean. The Lotus driver was a likely contender for the top spot but a poor middle sector on his final lap left him fifth.

Ferrari could not manage the pole challenge it had been tipped for, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa sixth and seventh, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado made it to Q3 and was ninth, but his Williams will also be moved down the order due to the ten-place penalty for his incident with Sergio Perez in final practice.

As for the championship leader Sebastian Vettel, the defending world champion elected not to run in Q3 despite making it through into the top-ten shootout.

For the second successive weekend Jenson Button failed to get beyond Q2. The McLaren driver could not improve on his time of one minute, 15.536 seconds and he will start the race down in a disappointing P13.

Twelve months on from his dramatic crash at the Nouvelle Chicane, Sergio Perez was in trouble in Monaco qualifying again as he slid into the Swimming Pool barrier early in Q1.

Television replays showed his front-left wheel was not pointing in the correct direction before he hit the barrier. It’s possible that this was damaged following his collision with Pastor Maldonado at Portier during the final practice session.

The Mexican tried to drag his broken Sauber back to the pits but succeeded only in causing a red flag when he shed a wheel and had to park at La Rascasse.

Perez’s team-mate Kamui Kobayashi also had a brush with the wall on the approach to St. Devote, but continued intact and qualified P12.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was the other driver to crash, losing control under braking for the Nouvelle Chicane and clouting the barriers, causing wing and suspension damage. That left him P17 on the grid – but this was just one position behind team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Neither Force India made into Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg P11 and Paul di Resta P15.

Bruno Senna again failed to match Williams team-mate Maldonado’s pace and was only P14.

While at the back, Heikki Kovalainen came within a tenth of getting his Caterham into Q2. The Finn did beat his team-mate Vitaly Petrov by nearly a second.

Pedro de la Rosa in the HRT managed to split the Marussias and was only a tenth off Timo Glock.

So an impressive lap by both Schumacher and Webber. If only Michael didn’t hit the Williams at the last race in Spain… Can Mark become the sixth winner in Formula One? We will find out on race day.

Qualifying positions for the Monaco Grand Prix:

1. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m14.381s
2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m14.448s
3. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m14.583s
4. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m14.639s
5. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m14.948s
6. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m14.301s*
7. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m15.049s
8. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m15.199s
9.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     no time
10. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m15.421s
11. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.508s
12. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m15.536s
13. Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m15.709s
14. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m15.718s
15. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m15.878s
16. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.885s
17. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m16.538s
18. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m17.404s
19. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m15.245s**
20. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m17.947s
21. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m18.096s
22. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m18.476s
23. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m19.310s
24. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       no time

107 per cent time: 1m20.697s

*Five-place grid penalty
**Ten-place grid penalty

12 thoughts to “Schumacher quickest but Webber will start on pole in Monaco”

  1. After taking pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher will have to serve his five-place grid penalty after crashing into the back of Bruno Senna in the last race in Barcelona. Despite this, the Mercedes driver believes he had the pace to win the race on Sunday. has the story.

    Michael Schumacher has vowed to fight for his sixth Monaco Grand Prix victory on Sunday despite having to take a five-place grid penalty that nullifies what would have been his first pole position since returning to Formula 1 two and a half years ago.

    The 43-year-old German admitted that it meant a great deal to him to be quickest in qualifying on the tough street track, having come in for some criticism over his slow start to the 2012 season. The penalty means that Red Bull’s Mark Webber will start from pole.

    “First of all, I am more than thrilled and excited about making a pole here in Monaco,” said Schumacher, who received the penalty following his collision with Bruno Senna in the Spanish Grand Prix. “Monaco to all of us is the track of the year that has a very prestigious position, and to manage pole position here after what I have gone through in the last two and a half years is just fabulous. And that is what sticks into my mind.

    “I told you guys in the press conference that I would get pole, start sixth and win it – and that is what I am going to aim for. That’s all I have in my mind and the past doesn’t matter.”

    Schumacher, who has started from pole position in Monaco three times in his career, described the feeling when he knew he was fastest as ‘beautiful’.

    “Obviously I saw my time on the dashboard [I thought] it should not be too bad, but you don’t know as being one of the early ones out on track you don’t know what will come behind.

    “Seeing the monitors and at one point I saw number one and then I started to believe and got confirmation on the radio, it is just beautiful.

    “Monaco being so special, we call it in terms of percentage a bit more of a driver track than other tracks, and because of the prestigious atmosphere and what it means for us, it is super fantastic if you manage to do such a lap,” he added. “I knew I was on the lap, but you are never sure as we have seen how tight qualifying has been.

    “It is very tricky in these days and not always possible to get all these together. Here and now we did and hopefully we learned more and more in order to do it more often. Reminding me I am still around is a good point.”

    Schumacher added that he saw his performance as a vindication of the level he believes he has been able to operate at for some time, in spite of results not always matching his expectations.

    “I leave it up to others what it means or does not means, to me I am obviously excited and very happy and confirms what I have felt for a long time,” he said when asked what being fastest in Monaco qualifying meant. “It is just sometimes you have to put everything together at the right moment.

    “I have to say a great thanks to all the team, particularly some of the guys who work very closely with me – we had a special session earlier this week that unified and united us even further.

    “This is the result that comes together from that. I am grateful to the trust that Mercedes and the team had in me, they supported me. I am happy to give it back and want to give more back tomorrow.”

  2. Even though Michael Schumacher was fastest in qualifying, Mark Webber will start the Monaco Grand Prix in pole position following the grid penalty applied to the seven-time world champion. The Red Bull driver commented that the German fully deserves the credit in taking P1. has the details.

    Mark Webber said Saturday was Michael Schumacher’s day, despite the Australian inheriting pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

    Webber will start from first place on Sunday despite finishing in second place in qualifying in Monte Carlo.

    Mercedes driver Schumacher was quickest, but will drop five places on the grid for having caused a collision in the previous race at Barcelona.

    A delighted Webber welcomed the result, but conceded Schumacher had been better.

    “It is Michael’s day,” said Webber. “A good lap from him. It was a tight session and lots of different people arrived at the back end of qualifying with different situations with tyres.

    “I knew I was aiming for the first few rows for sure – and it came tight. The first run in Q3 was not too bad, and I thought I could go for pole. It was a pretty good lap and I’m happy with it. It’s a very good position to be starting tomorrow. We have a very good car. The guys have done a good job and I am very, very happy.”

    The Australian said it was tricky to think of better ways to punish a driver that is out of a race other than using grid penalties like the one Schumacher was given.

    “After qualifying I thought I had a penalty as my engineer said ‘great lap and blah, blah, blah, penalty’ – and I didn’t know what I had done,” said Webber.

    “When you have an incident in the grand prix that is always a tricky thing. When incidents happen apart from fines what else can you do? How do you enforce regulations on driver behaviour or team behaviour after that?”

    Webber admitted Saturday’s race is hard to predict given it will be the first time the super softs tyres are raced this season.

    “Everyone is in the same boat. We don’t have a huge amount of experience with super soft in long runs. Everyone is in ball park I would imagine.”

    When asked if he could use a one-stop strategy in the race, he said: “In 24 hours we will see.”

  3. Heikki Kovalainen believes he could have made it into Q2 in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix had it not been for traffic.

    Kovalainen’s Caterham will start tomorrow’s race from 18th. He was only 0.047s away from making it out of Q1 after Sauber driver Sergio Perez crashed early on.

    The Finn blamed a Marussia for not doing better than his 1m16.538s, but was pleased with his car.

    “I’ve had a good balance all weekend and I went into this session knowing I could push,” he said.

    “I’d said to my engineer before quali that I thought we could get into Q2 and we were very close – if it hadn’t been for one of the Marussia cars slowing me up in the final sector we’d have been there, but it’s not a huge issue. That’s what happens in Monaco.”

    Kovalainen still believes he can take the fight to the midfield in the race.

    “Around here I think tomorrow we have the car to be able to fight the cars ahead throughout the race,” he added.

    “So far this season we’ve been able to stay with them for pretty much most of the first two stints, but because it’s a shorter lap here we’d like to be able to fight for the whole race. Whether it’s dry, wet or in between, it doesn’t really matter to me – whatever happens I’m looking forward to it.”


  4. Sergio Perez crashed out during the Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session at the Swimming Pool section. The team are now investigating the cause of his accident. has the story.

    Sauber is still investigating whether or not something broke on Sergio Perez’s car after the Mexican hit the wall through the Swimming Pool section at the start of Q1, rendering him at the back of the grid without a qualifying time.

    Perez, who finished second in the Malaysian Grand Prix, has shown good pace in Monaco practice and this proved the first time that he had been bumped out of qualifying at the first stage in 2012.

    “I am disappointed as I felt we could fight for a very good grid position here,” he said. “We are still analysing everything to see if there was something wrong with the car.

    “I was on my first lap, so was not pushing a lot. I went into the tunnel and had a lot of understeer and then I went into turns 13 and 14. Thirteen was quite fine but in 14 I just went straight and didn’t get the car to turn.”

    Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi also made brief contact with the barriers but continued, though he failed to make Q3, placing 12th.

    “Of course I had hoped for a better result today,” said the Japanese. “With the super soft tyre compound you only have one lap to set a good time. I managed to improve in Q2, but unfortunately not enough to be able to start in Q3.

    “Nevertheless, the car was good and it will be good in the race, so I think we can improve tomorrow. A lot will also depend on our race strategy and some luck in terms of safety car periods, which can always happen here. I’m positive we can score good points tomorrow.”

  5. Pedro de la Rosa celebrated what he labelled as his best ever lap around Monaco to escape the final row of the grid ahead of Sunday’s grand prix.

    The HRT driver qualified in 21st position, ahead of the Marussia of Charles Pic and just a tenth of a second behind Timo Glock. The Spaniard was also 1.2 seconds faster than team-mate Narain Karthikeyan.

    “It was the best qualifying session of the year and, without a doubt, the best lap I’ve ever done in Monaco,” said de la Rosa. “The car went well and we decided to do three runs with three new sets of super softs because we already know that in Monaco the most important thing is to do one good lap.

    “And that’s just what happened and I’m delighted about it because getting into the 1m18.0s here is very good. I’m very satisfied because we got our timing right, the team knew when was the right moment to come out in order to avoid traffic and I accomplished my job, which was to do the best lap possible.”

    De la Rosa admitted he took several risks during his final flying lap.

    “I must admit I took some risks, on some laps in the last sector I even almost closed my eyes, but I had to attack and did just that,” he said. “With one more tenth we would have also overtaken Glock but the truth is that we’re very happy with how the day went.”

    Karthikeyan qualified in 23rd position.


  6. For the second qualifying in succession, McLaren’s Jenson Button lacked pace and was knocked out early. He now faces a difficult task on Sunday with little chance of overtaking around the tight street circuit. has the story.

    Jenson Button believes moving forward in tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix will be tough after he was mystified by a lack of pace in qualifying.

    The McLaren driver had been competitive in practice, but failed to make Q3 and will start the race from 12th.

    “I didn’t make a mistake, it just wasn’t quick,” admitted the 2009 Monaco victor. “This morning the car felt good and the pace was pretty strong, but we don’t have it this afternoon – when it counts.”

    It is the second race in a row Button has suffered a drop in pace between practice and qualifying, and he is still looking for an answer.

    “It’s very strange,” he added. “It’s there at some point in the weekend, even this morning I felt the car was good. We did make some set-up changes, which I thought would have been better, but maybe not.

    “It was the same as the last race. In practice the car feels good and then I get to qualifying and I can’t find that car.

    “The laptime is irrelevant, it’s what the car feels like and it felt much better this morning. Hopefully we’ll find out the reasons for it.”

    Despite the unpredictability of F1 in 2012, Button believes progress during the race will be difficult.

    “I don’t think it’s going to be like the rest of the season,” he said. “Monaco is all about qualifying.

    “Tomorrow is going to be really tough starting where I am. I don’t know if the pace will be better in the race and it’s very difficult to overtake. “

  7. As for his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion has the best chance of winning if he makes a good start off row two. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton believes he can fight for victory at Monaco after qualifying on row two in one of “the toughest qualifying sessions” of his career.

    The McLaren driver was fourth quickest in Q3 and will start third thanks to Michael Schumacher’s penalty.

    “It was one of the toughest qualifying sessions I’ve experienced for some time, but it was so much fun,” said Hamilton. “We got everything out of every set of tyres. We got the best we could out of the car we had.

    “Third is a good place to start from. It’s going to be tough, but anything can happen.”

    The Briton, who is the only driver in the last eight years to have won Monaco from somewhere other than pole, believes he can be in the mix tomorrow.

    “The tyres and strategy can play a big role here,” he added. “If we get a good start then we’re in fighting position for the win. I’ve got a good feeling for the weekend, but I’ve got two great drivers in front of me who will make it as hard as possible.

    “I’ve tried overtaking here and I’ve proved it’s almost impossible! I hope we don’t have to do too much overtaking tomorrow. I will try and keep it clean, keep it on the track, and make sure we score as many points as possible.”

    Like team-mate Jenson Button, Hamilton believes the team still has work to do to understand the Pirelli tyres.

    “I think it was the low speed corners we weren’t so quick,” he said. “We made a lot of changes coming into qualifying. It wasn’t bad, but we’re struggling for low-speed grip, for whatever reason.

    “In Barcelona we were very good at low speed in the last part of the circuit, but I think it’s the tyres again. Even though it’s warm, we’re struggling to get them to switch on and really give us the grip.”

  8. Romain Grosjean believes pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix was within reach for him despite finishing down in fifth position.

    The Lotus driver was three tenths of a second slower than Michael Schumacher, quickest in the session, after failing to get the most out of his car in the second sector during his final run in Q3.

    Grosjean will start from fourth place following Schumacher’s penalty.

    “We are not as high on the grid as we wanted to be, but things were very tight today,” said Grosjean. “I did a very good lap in the first part of Q3 but then I couldn’t improve on my second set of tyres. This was a shame because our strategy was perfect for the last part of qualifying.

    “The traffic wasn’t too bad but I missed out in sector two. I think pole position was within reach. P4 is not exactly where we wanted to be but the race will be long.

    “It’s Monaco, it will be difficult; nonetheless we know that the car is quite good on high fuel and with the tyres, so let’s see what we can do and put the best strategy into place.”

    Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen qualified in eighth position, the Finn not happy with his performance after struggling to get his tyres working properly.

    “For sure we’re not very happy after that session,” he said. “Since the first practice we’ve been a little bit behind where we should have been and we’ve been trying to catch up. The car is fine, the biggest problem today was trying to get the tyres working as it seemed to be a bit tricky to get them up to temperature.

    “I could have been a bit faster on my best lap, but I went a little bit too deep in the Swimming Pool section. It’s a bit disappointing but you can’t get it right every time.

    “At a normal racetrack you would be able to gain positions through overtaking, but in Monaco this is difficult. That said, anything can happen here so hopefully we can achieve something good tomorrow.”


  9. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel pins hopes on race strategy after qualifying in ninth position in Monaco Grand Prix. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel reckons anything is possible in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix and remains positive that his strategy of starting on the soft compound option tyre could play into his hands during the race.

    Last year’s winner from pole, Vettel gave up on his qualifying attempt in Q3 in order to save his tyres, and will start from ninth on the grid after Pastor Maldonado takes his 10-place grid penalty.

    But while the world champion accepted that starting mid-pack made his race more challenging, he suggested that being able to run longer on his first stint than all those that qualified on supersoft tyres could play into his hands in terms of track position.

    “Well it’s Monaco,” he said. “Some people say it might rain tomorrow so that would make a big difference, but nevertheless we have the possibility to start on the hard tyre and have a different kind of race.

    “Usually it’s all about track position and we start from P9 and we have some cars ahead, but it could be different after the first stops, so we will see what we can do.”

    Vettel admitted that he would prefer to have started on the front row – his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber took the second Monaco pole position of his career on Saturday – but explained that a set-up change between FP3 and qualifying scuppered his chances.

    “This morning I was very happy, to be honest, and I think we were quite competitive,” he said. “We were going quicker than we were this afternoon with less effort.

    “But yeah, we decided to change the car a little bit and it turned out to make a big difference. So I think we ended up worse than we thought we would.

    “Obviously it’s completely different when you put fuel in the car but we will get an answer tomorrow. We are starting on the hard tyres, that was the idea why we went out on the harder tyres and we will really go from there.

    “Obviously we would have loved to have qualified at the front but after Q1, and in particular Q2, we saw that pole position was not really in reach for me. That’s why we decided to go the other way and we will see what we can do tomorrow.”

    Vettel won last year’s race employing a one-stop strategy but questioned whether the same plan would be possible in Sunday’s race.

    “I think it’s always open here because you never know what is going to happen in the race,” he said. “It’s a long race and there could be a safety car. You might be able to catch up, or lose all your advantage over someone else. It really depends. I think it can be fairly open.

    “Last year I think we made the one-stop work but I think it is borderline. I’m not sure whether we can do that again this year. I think some people will try tomorrow. Other people will not.

    “It’s really difficult, in particular because we didn’t have the Thursday running when you get a better idea of how the cars behave.”

  10. Lewis Hamilton has praised Michael Schumacher’s Monaco qualifying effort and believes the 43-year-old will be a threat in the race despite his grid penalty.

    Schumacher’s Mercedes topped Q3, nearly 0.3 seconds faster than Hamilton’s McLaren, but will start sixth due to a penalty for his clash with Bruno Senna at the Spanish Grand Prix

    Hamilton was impressed with Schumacher’s effort, but said it was not a shock to him.

    “I’m not surprised – the car has been quick all weekend and he has won here five times before,” said Hamilton.

    “Michael did a really great job, not bad for an old timer! It’s great to see him performing so well. Big congratulations to him.”

    Hamilton believes Schumacher and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg will be competitive tomorrow.

    “The Mercedes was incredibly quick today,” he added. “I know Michael has a penalty, but he will still be very quick tomorrow.”


  11. Well it’s that time again. That time where no matter what has happened in F1, it’s always Monaco that brings F1 back to glitz, glamour, girls and fabulous amounts of money.

    I like F1 a lot, but can miss the odd race and its no biggy. But Monaco? I never miss this race and can watch it from any era, any time. It’s just such a great venue and the history just brings F1 alive.

    It’s also a great leveller of teams and today was no different. It’s always a chance to shine here, though it can also bring the chance to deny your team a chance to get any points.

    The surprise this year was of course Michael Schumacher. What a stunning lap and had me cheering him on?!? Such a shame he has to drop back 5 places.

    But that still leaves a great pole taker that is Mark Webber. Again a great drive from him to frankly embarrass his team mate Sebastian Vettel.

    Great to see Massa finally get to grips with his car too and had a stunning Q2. Shame he dropped a bit in Q3 but still his best qualifying position of the year and closer to his team mate. Hopefully that’ll do his confidence a bit of good and can put in a good show for the race proper.

    Perhaps understandably, Williams were not on form this week. Just getting here was a great performance by the team who had so much equipment wiped out in the fire. Seeing the BBC’s feature with Williams showed just how much was burnt. Two fuel rigs, countless computers and electronic equipment. But as always, when it really comes to it, the whole of F1 can come together and all the teams helped so much, both on the fateful day and no to get a rival team on the grid. I hope the one team member still in hospital recovers, but with another 10 days needed, it doesn’t sound good. But at least it all came off a great win, so at least I’m sure that has helped keep spirits up.

    So I cant wait for Sunday, not sure about the talk of rain, but if it does then it really can be anybodies race.

  12. Oh and I forgot of course about Pastor Maldildo’s move/crash to give him a penalty. I’m sorry but this guy is a complete cock.

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