• Monaco Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel seals pole in Monaco as Perez crashes

ESPNF1 Staff
May 28, 2011
Sebastian Vettel took his fifth pole in six races this season © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix as a big accident for Sergio Perez overshadowed qualifying.

It was Vettel's first pole in Monaco, the 20th of his career, his fifth of the season, and Red Bull's sixth in six races this year.

But Q3 was overshadowed by Perez's crash. He ran a touch wide exiting the tunnel and lost the rear of the car under braking for the Nouvelle Chicane. Similar to Nico Rosberg earlier in the day he hit the barrier on the right and was just a passenger as the car continued down the hill. Unfortunately for Perez the car turned 90 degrees and ploughed side-on in to the barrier at the bottom, as he instinctively lifted his hands to his head before impact. He escaped serious injury but will miss tomorrow's race.

Jenson Button will start second and Mark Webber third as the red flag caused by Perez restricted Lewis Hamilton to just one late flying lap once the session restarted, meaning he would have started seventh alongside Rosberg had he not subsequently been penalised for skipping a chicane. As it is, he will be down in ninth.

Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa will start the race from fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively, with Rosbery seventh and Pastor Maldonado eighth.

Button was the first man to drop under the 1:14s marker in the final session with an impressive lap as McLaren appeared to pose a genuine threat to Red Bull, which was backed up when Webber couldn't beat the time, missing out by just 0.022s.

Vettel's stunning lap soon did though, as he took pole by over 0.4s. Hamilton had looked extremely quick during the first two sessions but had yet to set a time when Perez's accident brought out the red flag, and he wasn't able to get in a clean lap in the remaining 2m26s.

Surprisingly both Renaults dropped out in the second qualifying session. Nick Heidfeld was a disappointing 16th and Vitaly Petrov 11th as the pair struggled to get the R31 to perform around the tight corners. A late lap from Perez had put him in the top ten for the first time this season, along with the improving Maldonado, while Paul di Resta again outqualified Adrian Sutil and will start 15th.

The remains of Sergio Perez's Sauber are lifted away © Sutton Images

Mercedes did well to get Rosberg's car repaired following his big accident during FP3, and he went straight out on super-soft tyres in Q1 to set a competitive time. That forced the hand of many teams, with his team-mate Schumacher and both Renaults using up a pair of the options in the first session.

Jaime Alguersuari was the man to miss out on Q2 as he didn't set a time on the super-soft tyres, his cause not helped when he went into the back of Kamui Kobayashi, an error which earned him a visit to the stewards.

As expected, both Lotus' and Virgins failed to make Q2, while neither HRT car set a time. Tonio Liuzzi sat out the session following his crash late in final practice, while Narain Karthikeyan had a rear suspension problem that couldn't be fixed in time either, but the stewards granted them both places on the grid.