Not for the first time this season Formula One threw up a surprise result in Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. With Lotus-Renault tipped to be strong no one saw the final run from Michael Schumacher coming when he grabbed pole on his last flying lap.
However the German Champion will hand pole over to Australian Mark Webber in the Red Bull, as he serves a 5 grid spot penalty for his collision with Bruno Senna at the last race.
Given some of the recent doubts expressed by some, including me, about his place in the sport it was a amazing statement by the German ace and one he was clearly delighted with ”It is simply a wonderful feeling to set pole after such a long time, and particularly here in Monaco. Okay, it has taken a little bit longer than I might have wanted in the second chapter of my career, but that makes it even sweeter. It's just beautiful. We already thought that this circuit should suit us, and it's the perfect confirmation of all the work from every team member in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart - a big thank you to every one of them, because this is a team result. Of course, it's unfortunate that I won't start from the very front but that's how it is. I will do as well as I can. We know that overtaking is tough but with DRS and KERS, you might as well try it - and you can be sure I will.”
Webber last started from pole here in 2010. His second fastest time was also a impressive effort as his team mate Sebastian Vettel struggled on the tight street circuit and in the end did not post a time in Q3.
“It was a strong day, particularly this afternoon. It’s normal around here that the momentum has got to build before qualifying and then you have to start putting it all together and the guys did a really good job on the car." was Webbers assessment post qualifying
"I felt comfortable, which is important, you need to go to the absolute limit everywhere to get the maximum out of the car and squeeze everything you can. It’s a great effort from the whole team; we had a lot to do on Thursday night, but the team reacted really well. It’s Michael’s day and he did a great lap, but we are right there and will have a good race tomorrow. It’s been a happy hunting ground for me in the past – Monaco is a very special, unique challenge for the drivers.”
Behind Webber Nico Rosberg grabbed the third quickest time and completed the strong showing for Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton claimed the fourth quickest time and like Webber completely out drove his team mate Jenson Button who was down in 11th and failed to make Q3.
Despite their promise going into Qualifying Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 5 for Lotus- Renault just ahead of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in their Ferrari's.
Kimi Raikkonen and Pastor Madonado were 8th and 9th fastest but the Williams drivers will take a 10 grid place penalty for a incident in free practice.
Young Aussie Daniel Ricciardo has been a winner around the circuit in the lower categories but the Toro Rosso again was off the pace and he could only manage 16th just ahead of his team mate.
He was looking for slightly better “I enjoy this track a lot so I am disappointed with my qualifying position, because I thought I might have had a chance to do a bit better: top ten would have been optimistic but I had thought maybe twelfth was in reach. However, we didn’t make that happen. I was relatively happy with the way I drove, but I did not manage to put all my best sector times together on one lap. I think I was overdriving at times and making a few mistakes. If I had managed the perfect lap, maybe that would have brought me a couple more tenths, but I was not good enough to go much further up the grid. It’s tough to pass here, but we’ll try our best for tomorrow. The opening lap will be a fine balance between keeping the car between the barriers and trying to make up some places. Who knows, maybe there will be some rain to help us out.”
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