Monaco Qualifying: Schumacher fastest but Webber inherits pole

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2012, Grand Prix of Monaco,  #7 Michael Schumacher (GER, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team),    *** Local Caption *** +++ +++ copyright: HOCH ZWEI +++

Michael Schumacher was fastest in qualifying for the Monaco GP

May 26 (GP247) Michael Schumacher will be especially regretting his moment of madness in the Spanish Grand Prix which resulted in a five place penalty for Monaco, because in qualifying around the streets of Monte Carlo the 43 year old powered around fastest of all for the first time since his comeback in 2010.

Michael Schumacher celebrates his fastest lap in qualifying for the Moanco GPInstead it will be Mark Webber who will start from top spot on the grid, the third time in three years for Red Bull, and giving the Australian a good shot at his second victory in three years.

Schumacher’s name was not among those mentioned as pre-qualifying favourites, but when the pressure was on the five time Monaco winner scorched around in 1 minute 14.301 seconds to deliver his best qualifying lap in two and a half years, outshining his younger Mercedes teammate who looked a good bet for top spot before the session started.

“I’m obviously excited. It confirmed what I have felt for a long time. Sometimes you have to put everything at right moment together. Here it worked out. Thanks to the team, in particular to … the guy who work closely with me. We had a special session earlier this week. I’m grateful to all the trust Mercedes had in me and supported me. I’m able to give back a little bit in qualifying and hope I can give more back tomorrow,” said Schumacher who will be vying to score his sixth win at Monte Carlo, which would tie him with Ayrton Senna as a six time winner here.

Top three (L to R) Nico Rosberg third, Michael Schumacher fastest and Mark Webber secondWebber was also not on the radar as a possible pole winner, as neither Red Bull’s had shown the kind of dominance around the narrow streets that they showed in the past two years. But when it was all to play for Webber dug deep to end the session second best, a mere 0.081 seconds down on Schumacher.

Nevertheless it was enough for Webber to take top spot as Schumacher’s penalty kicked in to relegate the German five places – sixth on the grid.

Third quickest and promoted to second on the grid was Nico Rosberg who was among the favourites for pole, especially after topping the morning session.

It was two very different stories in the McLaren camp with Lewis Hamilton setting the fourth best time in the session, while teammate Jenson Button simply lacked pace when it mattered – pretty much as he did during qualifying for the Spanish GP two weeks earlier – he failed to make it out of Q2.

Lewis Hamilton fourth fastest Monaco GP qualifyingHamilton commented afterwards, “It was very exciting and very tough, it was one of the toughest qualifying sessions for me for some time. I think we struggled in the middle and last sectors, at the low speed corners. I’m fortunate that Michael has the penalty so it puts us further ahead. I think it will be a tough race though, I don’t know what the weather’s going to be like and now we’re hearing tomorrow is going to be nice too. Tyres and strategy play a huge part in Monaco but if we can get a good start then we have a good chance. I have a good feeling about the weekend but I have two good drivers in front of me but I’ll do everything I can.”

Button, who won the 2009 Monaco GP from pole, reflected on his below par showing, “I don’t have the pace. That’s it really. This morning the car felt good, the pace was really strong but we didn’t have it this afternoon when it count[ed]. Monaco is all about qualifying. I proved it last year. It’s the way of Monaco. It’s a great place when you really hook up a lap, but I didn’t have it today.”

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday 24 May 2012.Lotus continued to under perform when expectations are high. The E20 was clearly one of the best cars around Monaco and Romain Grosjean will have the Enstone boys scratching their heads. The Frenchman looked the business in all the sessions, yet when it mattered he failed to deliver. On the Soft (yellow band) tyres the E20 was easily the quickest car around Monaco, but somehow they simply could not extract a similar advantage with the red band Super Softs.

Grosjean, who will start from fourth on the grid, explained, “We were looking too much time in sector two, but it’s good to be up front, even if it was a track maybe not best for the car. We are here. The race is long, and a good car on high fuel. Strategy is key tomorrow and sure I can do something.”

Kimi Raikkonen has spent the entire Monaco weekend playing catch-up, from the first day when he missed FP1 as the Lotus team sorted out his steering comfort the 2005 Monaco winner has been on the back foot. In qualifying he had to work extra hard to make it into Q3 when eighth was the best he could deliver – half a second off his less experienced teammate’s best.

Felipe Massa will start from seventh on the gridFerrari promised much throughout the weekend, but when crunch time came they fell short. Although it has to be said that Felipe Massa has looked a revitalised force this weekend, and even topped Q2 but in the Q3 it was again Fernando Alonso who led the charge for the reds. Alonso was sixth fastest and will head up the third row, starting from fifth alongside Schumacher. Massa will head up the fourth row in seventh, and will no doubt be boosted by the fact that he managed to make it into the top ten for the first time so far this season.

It has been a classic tale of hero to villain in a short space of time for Pastor Maldonado, who fresh from his Spanish GP maiden F1 win, lost his cool in FP3, apparently deliberately running into Sergio Perez. Report here>>>

Thus his qualifying session was basically over before it began, as a ten place grid penalty is going to be hard to come back from. Nevertheless the Venezuelan behaved himself further and gave a reasonable account of his potential to set the ninth best time, so  he will start from 19th on the grid.

Sergio Perez (MEX), Sauber F1 Team C31 on three wheels - Formula1 World Championship Round 06 at Monaco, Monte Carlo, Saturday 26 May 2012   +++ Ã? Copyright: RACE-PRESSHowever the ramifications were immense because Perez was an early casualty when he slithered into the barrier at the Swimming Pool complex, after what appeared to be a front end failure. The Sauber simply did not turn at high speed and it would be no surprise if this was as a result of Maldonado’s ‘crazy’ move on Perez earlier in the day.

Perez explained, “We are analysing what happened. In the Tunnel I had a lot of understeer, which doesn’t normally happen. When I got to Turn 13 and I went into Turn 14 the car went straight. It’s a big shame because we were so competitive. It was a big opportunity for us today. If it’s a normal race tomorrow, it will be over for us.”

Last year’s winner, Sebastian Vettel, has struggled this weekend in Monaco. The world champion had to dig deep just to make it into Q2 and Q3, then opting not to run a fast lap in Q3 as he and his crew had clearly erred on the setup of the RB8.

Monaco F1 Grand Prix - Sebastian Vettel 10th in qualifyingVettel said, “Today was a bit mixed up for me. It was looking very good in the morning. Then we did a step in the wrong direction and ended up with a not very good car in qualifying. Disappointing because Mark showed what the car can do.”

Statistics show that last year’s pole winner (Vettel) also won the race and the the top four qualifiers hogged the top four places at the end of the grand prix. Stats also show that the driver on pole for the Monaco GP has won seven of the last 11 races at the Principality.

McLaren have won 15 times in the past 28 years, while Ferrari have not won in Monte Carlo since 2001…

On the grid on race day there will be five different drivers have won in Monaco in the last five years: Vettel, Webber, Button, Hamilton and Alonso – while seven former winners of the race will be in action on the day – add Schumacher and Raikkonen to the aforementioned quintet.

If there is a sixth different winner on Sunday, it will be a first in the history of Formula 1, and yet how things will pan out race day is anyone’s guess. Watch this space!

Subbed by AJN.

Monaco Qualifying – Saturday, 26 May 2012

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:15.873 1:15.062 1:14.301
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:16.013 1:15.035 1:14.381
3 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.900 1:15.022 1:14.448
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.063 1:15.166 1:14.583
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:15.718 1:15.219 1:14.639
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:16.153 1:15.128 1:14.948
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:15.983 1:14.911 1:15.049
8 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:15.889 1:15.322 1:15.199
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:16.017 1:15.026 1:15.245
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:15.757 1:15.234 No time
11 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:15.418 1:15.421
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.648 1:15.508
13 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.399 1:15.536
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:15.923 1:15.709
15 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:16.062 1:15.718
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:16.360 1:15.878
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:16.491 1:16.885
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:16.538
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:17.404
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:17.947
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:18.096
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:18.476
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:19.310
24 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari No time
  • Maldonado drops 10 grid places for causing a collision in final practice.
  • Schumacher drops five grid places for causing a collision at last round.
  • Perez failed to set a time within 107% requirement – races at stewards’ discretion.
  • Matthias O’keeffe

    It was a fantastic qualifying session today… If it wasn’t for Michael’s penalty, he would be starting on his 70th pole position..

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    And what’s the point of putting the 107% time rule if almost every race that the driver doesn’t complete in the 107% rule, they still get to race… And i think the stewards were a little too harsh on Michael in Spain.. He would have gotten his pole if it wasn’t for the penalty.. Let’s hope he wins this race..

  • 101

    what an emotional day!
    great job! the king of formula 1 IS BACK to his throne!
    goob job michael you are simply the best of all

  • andrewf1

    Schumacher will start 6th, not 5th.

    Great job by Michael, Webber and Hamilton.

  • Joe Kinnear

    I agree with Matthias O’keeffe, the 107% rule is pointless if the person still gets to race “under stewards discretion”. Why not just get rid of it. Anyways great to see Michael back on pole! Albeit being penalized…

  • s u

    69th pole for schumi technically. everybody was so uneasy when michael went pole. grosjean gave a cold shoulder at the paddock weighin. they are all threatened and schocked michael is back. he got what everybody wanted a pole in monaco! the penalty is not his moment of madness but the madness of bruno idiot senna. a shame to his last name. michael said it and hope he does it he came to monaco to get pole and win the race from 6th! if he doesn’t there will be more threat coming from him and he will get that win soon.

  • hillside

    so Massa gets in to q3?? now they need to extend his contract!lol

  • Lol.

    They should indeed have a zero tolerance on any car that completes laps outside of the 107%.

    If a red bull crashes on its first run in Q1 then sure, let it race, but if a HRT does 5 laps or more and doesn’t do a single quick sector then letting them race is ridiculous.

    @Mattias, the penalty was deserved. Although it would have been nice to see Schumi back on form again.

  • AlonsoFan

    yeah totally agreed.everyone was so cold after Michael gained pole position.Only Stefano and Alonso congratulated and appraised Michael for his pole(in their respective press releases)

  • Speedo

    Are all the rules laid out in F1 fair. Happy that Schumi got only a 5 place grid penalty unlike Lewis who had to start from P24 in the last race. The car looks strong on this circuit and he should be able to work his way up with luck on his side for once.