Schumacher Quicker But Webber Is Monaco’s Pole-Sitter

Mark Webber will start the Monaco Grand Prix from pole position but it was Michael Schumacher who was the fastest man in qualifying. Schumacher will start from sixth on the grid after his five-place penalty, which he was handed following the Spanish GP for his part in a race-ending incident with Bruno Senna. Nevertheless, it is Schumacher who made the headlines on a track which he has been successful many times and he expressed his joy afterwards:

“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.”

Before the weekend, the seven-time world champion had said, in some jest, that his goal was to qualify on pole, start sixth with the penalty and win the race. He referenced his possible prediction in the post-qualifying press conference:

“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.”

Mark Webber will start the race from the front of the grid and had set the fastest time for pole position until Schumacher’s last-gasp effort left him in second. He said afterwards that he knew he could qualify well, but that it would be close:

“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.”

Nico Rosberg posted the third-quickest time and was pleased that Mercedes have been able to bounce back after a difficult past two races:

“I can also be pleased with today. Generally it’s all gone well, the whole weekend until now. It’s especially great to see how we, as a team, have managed to turn things around from a difficult time the last two races and now be right at the front again. It’s just nice to follow all the progress we’re making, moving forward and really fighting hard to improve the car and get the best of the situation – and that’s why today to really be on top as a team in qualifying is great and I’m very pleased, obviously, to start on the front row in Monaco. That is a great place to start to have a good race.”

The Lotus cars were many people’s tip for pole but they never got near as both Grosjean and Raikkonen struggled through the session. Grosjean acknowledged that both men should have been higher and hoped clever strategy could bring good results in the race:

“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.

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.”

Lewis Hamilton was all smiles after ensuring his McLaren will start third, singing the praises of an enjoyable session:

“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.”

Sergio Perez failed to complete qualifying at Monaco for the second consecutive year after his Sauber appeared to suffer some steering issues, hitting the barrier in the Swimming Pool section of the circuit. Perez and Pastor Maldonado collided in the practice session before qualifying and it is here where Perez believes he suffered damage which contributed to the accident:

“We cannot prove with the data that there was a problem, but looking at the onboard with the whole team, we all agree that there was a problem, and we think it came from this morning,” said Perez, who also crashed out in Monaco qualifying last season.

“We changed most of the parts, but not all. We don’t have enough sensors in the suspension to see what the problem is.

“The car was not 100 per cent. I arrived in the tunnel and I had massive understeer. In Turn 13 it was OK, then into 14 suddenly the car went straight. If you have a small problem like that here the first thing you find is the wall.”

Maldonado received a ten-place grid drop for his part in the incident.

Monaco GP Grid

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 
 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m14.301s
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m14.381s   + 0.080
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m14.448s   + 0.147
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m14.583s   + 0.282
 5.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m14.639s   + 0.338
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m14.948s   + 0.647
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m15.049s   + 0.748
 8.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m15.199s   + 0.898
 9.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m15.245s   + 0.944
10.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     no time
Eliminated in Q2
11.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m15.421s   + 0.510
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.508s   + 0.597
13.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m15.536s   + 0.625
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m15.709s   + 0.798
15.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m15.718s   + 0.807
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m15.878s   + 0.967
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.885s   + 1.974
Eliminated in Q1
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m16.538s   + 1.120
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m17.404s   + 1.986
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m17.947s   + 2.529
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m18.096s   + 2.678
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m18.476s   + 3.058
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m19.310s   + 3.892
24.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       no time
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