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Qualifying - Schumacher fastest, Webber on pole 26 May 2012

(L to R): Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012 Sergio Perez's Sauber collides with the Armco and Q1 is red flagged Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 26 May 2012

Michael Schumacher showed that his old Monegasque fire still burns by pipping Mark Webber for pole position here in Monaco on Saturday afternoon, but the Australian had the last laugh as the German had to take a five-place grid penalty for his indiscretion in Spain.

Webber had just redefined the ante in Q3 with 1m 14.381s in his Red Bull when Schumacher roared home in 1m 14.301s for Mercedes.

Behind them, Nico Rosberg underlined the speed of the silver arrows with 1m 14.448s, while Lewis Hamilton was fourth on 1m 14.583s for McLaren. Romain Grosjean, who has shown flashes of great speed all weekend, was fifth for Lotus on 1m 14.639s, ahead of the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on 1m 14.948s and 1m 15.049s.

Schumacher’s penalty reshuffles the top six as Webber, Rosberg; Hamilton, Grosjean; Alonso, Schumacher.

Kimi Raikkonen was eighth in the second Lotus, on 1m 15.199s, and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado set the ninth-fastest time of 1m 15.245s as Sebastian Vettel struggled with his tyres throughout and never did a timed lap in the Red Bull.

Massa had a scare in Q2. Jean-Eric Vergne had stuffed the nose of his Toro Rosso under braking for the chicane, and was ambling back to the pits for repairs as the Brazilian came blasting through the first part of the Swimming Pool past Daniel Ricciardo and was then suddenly confronted by the Frenchman’s slow car. He just missed it, and shortly afterwards banged in a 1m 14.911s to head the session from Rosberg and Maldonado.

There was more drama at the end as Raikkonen just squeezed into Q3 at Nico Hulkenberg’s expense, leaving the German 11th on 1m 15.421s in the Force €ndia from Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 15.508s and a very unhappy Jenson Button on 1m 15.536s as he struggled yet again with the tyres on his McLaren, then came Bruno Senna on 1m 15.709s for Williams, Paul di Resta for Force €ndia on 1m 15.718s, Toro Rosso’s Ricciardo on 1m 15.878s and a crestfallen Vergne on 1m 16.885s.

Q1 wasn’t five minutes old when Sauber’s hopes took a dive for the second year in succession as Sergio Perez smacked into something hard. This time it was the wall on the exit to the first part of the Swimming Pool, which removed his C31’s left-rear wheel and sent him to Schumacher’s favourite parking spot at Rascasse. And from there to the back of the grid.

This was a tense session. Positions changed faster than you could blink, and as Hulkenberg set the pace with a super-soft run of 1m 15.418s for Force €ndia, to head Kobayashi and Grosjean, both Vettel and Raikkonen had to resort to super softs to be sure of getting through, eventually finishing fourth and sixth either side of Schumacher.

Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov put their Caterhams in their usual 18th and 19th slots, but the Finn was only fractions off getting into Q2 with 1m 16.538s as the Russian managed 1m 17.404s. Timo Glock got close to that for Marussia with 1m 17.947s, and Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT wasn’t at all far behind the German with 1m 18.096s. Charles Pic did 1m 18.476s in the other Marussia, and the final timed runner was Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 19.310s.

With Maldonado getting a 10-place grid penalty for a fracas with Perez in Saturday morning’s practice, the grid from ninth place downwards reshuffles as: Vettel, Hulkenberg; Kobayashi, Button; Senna, Di Resta; Ricciardo, Vergne; Kovalainen, Petrov; Maldonado, Glock; De la Rosa, Pic; Karthikeyan, Perez.

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