Vettel on pole for Monaco Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix, his first at the track, with Jenson Button in second and Mark Webber on third. Final qualifying saw Sergio Perez suffer a big accident, interrupting the session.
Sebastian Vettel made his own luck, banking the second fastest time ever around Monaco to capture pole position.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fourth, Michael Schumacher fifth, Felipe Massa sixth, Lewis Hamilton seventh, Nico Rosberg eighth, Pastor Maldonaldo ninth, and Perez tenth.
Perez may not race after being taken to hospital following his accident.
The first part of qualifying saw the main runners all through, with McLaren leading the way. Nico Rosberg was able to join qualifying after a nasty crash in his Mercedes GP, and was faster than teammate Michael Schumacher.
The drivers eliminated were Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Jamie Alguersuari, Timo Glock, and Jerome D’Ambrosio. Tonio Liuzzi and Nahrain Karthikeyan failed to set times, after Liuzzi had a major shunt during practice and a rear-suspension problem was found on Karthikeyan’s car.
Qualifying part two saw the battle to get into the top ten between the front runners and the midfield, with Hamilton leading the pack ahead of Vettel and teammate Button.
Mark Webber was seventh and not looking like he would repeat his memorable pole from 2010, some half-second off the pace of the pair at the top.
Sebastien Buemi, Nick Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi, Rubens Barrichello, and Vitaly Petrov were eliminated from qualifying, with notable performances from rookies Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonaldo to qualify in the top ten.
Qualifying was decided with the top-ten shootout, with the session compromised by a heavy shunt suffered by Sergio Perez, who lost control out of the exit at the tunnel, off line into the swimming pool corner, ploughing side-on into the barriers at the Nouveau chicane.
Medical teams worked slowly and carefully, with some considerable concern for Perez, with relief amongst the teams and fans that he was indeed talking and conscious.
The accident red flagged Monaco qualifying with just 2:26 left for a final shootout flying lap amongst the top runners. Lewis Hamilton in particular was disadvantaged, having not set a fast flying lap after being balked by Felipe Massa as he exited from the pits.
The barriers were also badly damaged and required running track repairs before qualifying resumed.
After lengthy 38 minute delay, qualifying resumed with Lewis Hamilton waiting at the end of the pit lane to get out first, and all nine remaining cars taking to the track for a final flurry. However, only Hamilton was able to get any improvement from their cars, qualifying sixth.