Sebastian Vettel took pole position in the streets of Monaco in a qualifying session that ended up in a shocker. Close to the end, Sergio Pérez had a massive crash and got taken away by an ambulance. Jenson Button was second fastest while Lewis Hamilton is just 7th.
Just like any other day of this week, Saturday is sunny and warm at Monaco. The track is heated nicely by the sun, and Jerôme D'Ambrosio is the first to take the track. His time is however quickly improved by Vitaly Petrov, slashing off 5 seconds to set a 1:18.112.
Pirelli have brought their soft tyres, as well as their super soft tyres, marked with red letters.
Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton both go quicker one minute later, and just like many others they choose to continue on their softs for several more laps, improving steadily each and every lap.
Vettel though waited a few more minutes but then easily moved onto the top of the time list. Just like both Ferrari drivers they take the usual soft tyres to try to keep their options for the final session.
Nico Rosberg chose a different route and went out for a single lap on the options. He immediately shot up to 4th and triggered many others, including his teammate to also go for a lap on the options.
Perez in the Sauber moves up to 7th, and as such it appears that only the McLarens and Vettel can be reasonably sure to get through without burning a set of options. Maldonado then sets 4th on the options with just 30 seconds to go and a lot of cars still on track.
Massa and Petrov went out on track at the very end with a set of options but chose to return to the pits after their second laps and they move through to Q2 anyway.
Out are Kovalainen, Trulli, Alguersuari, Glock, D'Ambrosio and both HRT's. Neither of the Hispania's drove a lap and are hoping to get a positive judgement from the stewards.
At the start of Q2, Sutil, Buemi and both Mercedes GP cars are immediately out on track. All four are on the option tyre. Alonso then follows suit with the red Pirellis, as well as the McLarens and the Red Bull drivers. Felipe Massa chose the primes and is 8th 6 minutes into the session.
Towards the end of the session, the Williams drivers battle each other to make it through to Q3. Perez again did a great lap and ends up in 8th with less than 2 minutes to go. The Renaults meanwhile appear to have difficulties at a venue where they had hoped they would compete for the win.
At the finish flag, Petrov knows he'll be 11th on the grid tomorrow as he is elmininated together with Barrichello, Kobayashi, Di Resta, Sutil, Heidfeld and Buemi. That means Perez outqualifies his teammate, as well as Di Resta who is once more quicker than Adrian Sutil. Also, for the second race in a row, Maldonado outqualifies Barrichello.
At the start of Q3, Michael Schumacher is again quick to go out on track. He sets the benchmark with a 1:15.020 on the options. Alonso's first lap 30 seconds later is a massive 3 seconds slower. Massa then goes quickest, only to be topped by Button with a 1:13.997.
Mark Webber ends up in second behind Button, but Vettel goes even quicker than that. He posts a 1:13.556. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile was delayed a bit as early on in Q3 the team found a problem on his car and needed 5 minutes to fix everything to working order.
With 3 minutes 20 seconds left on the clock, Hamilton start his first flying lap and is immediately annoyed by Massa who distracted him a bit. Massa however was not to blame as he moved out of the way as soon as he could.
Moment later Sergio Pérez has a heavy crash out of the tunnel. He came out wide with the car constantly bottoming out on the track. He oversteered when hitting the brakes but by then was off of the regular racing line.
He went into the barriers under an angle of approximately 30 degrees and the slid into the armco barrier completely sideways. Pérez saw the impact coming and moved his hands off the steering wheel and on each side of his helmet.
As Pérez stayed in the car, the situation was obviously serious. The medical car immediately came out on track and the session got red flagged. The next 20 minutes show no image of Pérez as marshalls covered the place where Pérez was given first aids.
There is 2:24 left on the clock as the session is restarted for a final dash of laps.
Lewis Hamilton is the first in the queue to take the track as he wanted to take no risk to get held up by anyone. The tyres cooled perhaps a bit too much as his pace is nowhere compared to what would usually be possible for the McLaren driver. In fact he only improved one position to 7th while none of the others managed to improve.
As such, it is Sebastian Vettel who takes the pole after a stunning lap, ahead of Jenson Button who will join him tomorrow on the front row.
|5||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||1:16.092||1:14.981||1:14.682|
|8||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:15.858||1:14.741||1:15.766|
|14||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.813||1:16.118|
|15||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.600||1:16.121|
|Q1 107% Time||1:20.471|