Webber Claims Pole On Streets Of Monte Carlo


Mark Webber continued Red Bull's dominance of pole position this season after beating the Renault of Robert Kubica to claim the top grid stop for tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix.

The Aussie, who now has back-to-back pole positions, was three tenths faster than Kubica, and four tenths ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who will start third.

Felipe Massa will start the race from fourth, way ahead of his Ferrari teammate who will start from the back of the grid after an accident in the final practice session prevented the Spaniard from taking any part in qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton could only manage fifth place – a disappointing showing for McLaren, while the Mercedes duo start sixth and seventh with Nico Rosberg ahead of Michael Schumacher.

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Tonio Liuzzi make up the rest of the top ten.

Traffic was the word on everybody's lips today before qualifying today. Even without Fernando Alonso taking part, if the remaining 23 cars were out on track at once, each driver would only have an average of 145 metres of Monaco tarmac to call their own.

Add in the fact that six drivers were in cars way off the pace of the frontrunners – in fact some GP2 cars were faster than the Hispanias on Thursday – chaos seemed inevitable in Q1.

However, with Alonso not taking part, it seemed the six other places in the bottom seven were destined to be filled by the Hispania, Virgin and Lotus cars. The others just had to put a decent level of fuel in their cars, do as many laps as possible, and hope that they get a relatively clear one in.

Felipe Massa was fastest in Q1, ahead of Mark Webber and Robert Kubica. Heikki Kovalainen will start the race eighteenth, but was only a second behind Kamui Kobayashi who made it through to Q2. Jarno Trulli will be just behind his teammate tomorrow and Timo Glock led the Virgin Racing cars while Bruno Senna qualified ahead of his teammate Karun Chandhok. Alonso will start the race from the pit lane.

The drivers were queuing in the pit lane to get out for Q2, and again there were a lot of drivers searching for a bit of clear track. Vitaly Petrov lost the rear of his Renault into turn 1 with only three minutes remaining, and clattered into the tyre barriers.

Jenson Button was in danger of going out at this stage, sitting tenth and looking precarious. The world champion jumped up to eighth in the dying seconds though, and made it through to the top ten shoot-out.

Rosberg was fastest in Q2, Massa put in a late lap to finish second, and Webber was third. Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, Petrov, Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi and Jaime Alguersuari will start tomorrow's race in eleventh through to seventeenth.

In Q3 the drivers had no traffic concerns, and could bide their time. In fact, half of the top ten didn't go out on track until three minutes had elapsed and by the time half of the session had passed only four had set lap times.

Massa courted controversy has he held up Jenson Button while the Brit was on a flying lap, and may have to answer to the stewards panel, which this weekend includes Damon Hill.

Considering the close times at the top all throughout the weekend, it was surprising that Robert Kubica managed to stay top of the timesheets for much of the session. However, Mark Webber then appeared from nowhere to go to the top. Kubica tried valiantly to get the top spot back on his next lap but Webber went faster again. On his last lap Vettel nicked third position.

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