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Qualifying analysis - dice fall perfectly for Vettel 28 May 2011

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger (USA) Pussycat Dolls Singer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 The damaged car of Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6 passes two sunbathers.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 (L to R): Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus with team mate Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011

Luck has always played a big part in winning in the gambler’s paradise that is Monte Carlo. And on Saturday it was very much on Sebastian Vettel’s side, as the Red Bull driver emerged triumphant in a qualifying session that was rendered something of a lottery by Sergio Perez’s dramatic accident in the Sauber (from which the Mexican mercifully escaped without serious injury). With a grid that may well not represent their true Monaco form, we take a look at each team’s pre-race fortunes…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 13.556s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 14.019s, P3

Zero problems for Vettel, who beat Raikkonen’s long-standing pole record of 1m 13.664s from 2005 and was in just the right place at the right time to take the most coveted grid place. Webber was still suffering from the loss of FP1 track time, but said he was happy with third in the circumstances.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 13.997s, P2
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 15.280s, P7, starts P9

Button said his MP4-26 wasn’t quite au point in Q2, but he really nailed it early on in Q3 and that paid dividends as he described himself as very happy with the car’s performance and his lap. Hamilton gambled on a late run in the hope of avoiding traffic but that backfired spectacularly as Perez’s accident forced him to abort at the crucial moment. He’d dominated Q1 and Q2, but found himself only seventh as his super-soft Pirellis had lost their temperature when Q3 resumed for a final two and a half minutes. Things went from bad to worse when stewards deleted his best Q3 time for missing the chicane, dropping him to ninth on the grid.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 14.483s, P4
Felipe Massa, 1m 14.877s, P6

Somewhere along the way Ferrari lost the pace they’d shown all weekend. Alonso said he didn’t get anything like the same feel from the car in qualifying that he did in practice, and it showed in the lap time. Massa said his session left him with a mixture of satisfaction and regret, after he made a mistake at Rascasse in Q3 which possibly cost him two places.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, 1m 14.682s, P5
Nico Rosberg, 1m 15.766s, P8, starts P7

Schumacher was the first to admit that Perez’s accident probably helped him to P5, and that P7 would have been more realistic. But he had his Mercedes going well. So did Rosberg, who bounced back superbly from his heavy morning mistake and accident to take P5 in Q1. Unfortunately, he, like Hamilton, was compromised by Perez’s incident, and should have been much higher than eighth.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 16.528s, P9, starts P8
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 15.826s, P12

Maldonado took ninth on the grid for Williams for the second race in succession. He was fast and consistent, but was one of those compromised by the Perez incident. Barrichello said his car worked less well on new tyres than old, and blamed traffic for failing to get to Q3.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, No time, P10, will not start
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 15.973s, P13

Perez did a great job to get his C30 into Q3 after setting ninth best time in Q2, but then he dropped it under braking for the chicane and ended up having a sizeable broadside impact with the chicane wall. Thankfully he was extricated conscious and speaking from the wreckage, but will not be allowed to start the race. Kobayashi got tagged by Alguersuari at Rascasse in Q1, and never quite got going in Q2.

Renault
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 15.815s, P11
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 16.214s, 16

Renault struggled all weekend on the super-soft tyre, and Petrov was not happy to miss out on the top 10. Heidfeld was only 16th, and said there were no problems. That summarised how much trouble the team were in.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 16.118s, P14
Adrian Sutil, 1m 16.121s, P15

Di Resta and Sutil could not have been more closely matched, but for the fifth time the Scot out-qualified the German. The former thought P14 was a fair reflection of the VJM04’s pace, while the latter said that Petrov spoiled one of his laps and that thereafter his tyres were past their best.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 16.300s, P17
Jaime Alguersuari, 1m 17.820s, P20

Buemi was very disappointed in Toro Rosso’s qualifying form, while Alguersuari missed out on the chance to get through to Q2 as his STR6 was in the its nose being repaired after he tagged the back of Kobayashi’s Sauber at Rascasse.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 17.343s, P18
Jarno Trulli, 1m 17.381s, P19

Lotus came back to earth in Monaco, after their Q2 performance in Spain. Kovalainen said he didn’t get the best from his first set of tyres in Q1, but that his second run was much better. Trulli reported that his first set of tyres was fantastic, but that the car did not respond anything like so well on the second. Head scratching all round.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 17.914s, P21
Jerome D'Ambrosio, 1m 18.736s, P22

Glock said he had pretty much a perfect Saturday, and that he got the best qualifying lap he’d ever driven at Monaco which included a couple of brushed walls. D’Ambrosio got a bit left behind this time, and said he felt he went backwards compared to FP3.

HRT
Tonio Liuzzi, No time, will start P23
Narain Karthikeyan, No time, will start P24

Liuzzi’s car was still not repaired after his crash in FP3, and Karthikeyan’s did not run after sustaining a suspension problem, but the stewards announced that they will be allowed to race after setting suitable times in a free practice session.

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