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2011 Monaco Grand Prix (Rd 6, Qualifying, May 28th)

May 28, 2011

Monte Carlo. © Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Another Grand Prix, another pole for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and what better place to do it than Monaco.

The reigning World Champion set a best of 1:13.556, nearly half-a-second quicker than McLaren’s Jenson Button (2nd) and the other Red Bull, driven by Mark Webber (3rd).

It was a final session punctured by a long red flag session, brought out when Sauber rookie Sergio Perez lost his C30 at the exit of the tunnel, crashing into Armco lining the short straight leading into the Nouvelle Chicane.
Perez continued out if control, before pummelling side-on into the barrier at the chicane, signalling a thirty minute stoppage, while the barrier itself was repaired.

Prior to the Perez incident, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set the 4th quickest time ahead of Michael Schumacher (5th, Mercedes) and Felipe Massa (6th, Ferrari).
Nico Rosberg (7th, Mercedes) and Pastor Maldonado (8th, Williams) also set their peak runs after the red flag, but neither could dent the top positions. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had to settle for an indifferent lap once qualifying restarted, but later had his time deleted for jumping the chicane – he starts from 9th place.
Despite the ferocity of the accident, Perez suffered only a concussion and a thigh strain; however it means the Sauber man will not be able to race tomorrow.

As the season ages, Renault continue to fall back into the midfield pack, with Vitaly Petrov leading their charge from a disappointing 11th place, three-tenths shy of Maldonado’s Q2 cut-off time.
The Russian has Rubens Barrichello for company on the sixth row, with Kamui Kobayashi (13th, Sauber) and Paul di Resta (14th, Force India) just behind.
It’s another solid qualifying result for di Resta, who once again out-qualifies his far more experienced teammate, Adrian Sutil (15th). Nick Heidfeld will start from 16th – his best lap was nearly half-a-second shy of Petrov, while Sebastien Buemi will take the 17th starting spot in his Toro Rosso.

Heikki Kovalainen led the group that fell out of the first stint of qualifying. The Lotus driver fell just over 0.5 shy of the cut-off point. Kovalainen (18th) only just pipped teammate Jarno Trulli, with the Italian lagging behind by four-hundredths.
Both Lotus’ were half-a-second quicker than Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari. The Spaniard struggled through Q1 on soft tyres, before nudging the rear of Kobayashi, damaging his front wing in the process.
The Virgin Racing pair of Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio assumed the eleventh row of the grid, while neither Hispania even set a time Narain Karthikeyan with a “suspension problem” that developed in the morning practice. Vitantonio Liuzzi’s F111 was too damaged to run after his accident this morning; however both Hispania’s will still be allowed to race, having run on or near the verges of the 107% gap during the free practice session.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m13.556s  
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m13.997s  + 0.441
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m14.019s  + 0.463
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m14.483s  + 0.927
 5.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m14.682s  + 1.126
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m14.877s  + 1.321
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m15.766s  + 2.210
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m16.528s  + 2.972
 9.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     No time
10.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       No time
Q3 cut-off time: 1m15.545s Gap **
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m15.815s   + 1.540
12.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m15.826s   + 1.551
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.973s   + 1.698
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m16.118s   + 1.843
15.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m16.121s   + 1.846
16.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m16.214s   + 1.939
17.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.300s   + 2.025
Q3 cut-off time: 1m16.813s Gap *
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m17.343s   + 2.136
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m17.381s   + 2.174
20.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m17.820s   + 2.613
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m17.914s   + 2.707
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m18.736s   + 3.529
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         No time
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         No time
107% time: 1m20.471s
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