There were contrasting fortunes for the two Red Bull drivers during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix: Mark Webber was second fastest but inherits pole position from Michael Schumacher, who serves a five-place grid penalty; Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, chose not to set a time during Q3, and qualified only tenth.
“It was a strong day, particularly this afternoon,” said Webber, reflecting on his qualifying session. “It's normal around here that the momentum has got to build before qualifying and then you have to start putting it all together and the guys did a really good job on the car.
“I felt comfortable, which is important, you need to go to the absolute limit everywhere to get the maximum out of the car and squeeze everything you can. It's a great effort from the whole team; we had a lot to do on Thursday night, but the team reacted really well.
“It's Michael's day and he did a great lap, but we are right there and will have a good race tomorrow. It's been a happy hunting ground for me in the past – Monaco is a very special, unique challenge for the drivers.”
Vettel will actually start ninth, he inherits the position from Pastor Maldonado, who has two grid penalties to serve tomorrow. He blames car set-up for the fact that he was not up the sharp-end of the grid with his team-mate.
“It was a bit mixed up for me,” said the double world champion. “It was looking very good this morning, but then I think we took a step in the wrong direction and ended up with a difficult car for qualifying. It's a bit of a disappointment, as Mark showed what the car can do around here, so we'll see what we can do tomorrow.
“It's Monaco and everything is possible here. We could be on a different strategy tomorrow as we're able to start the race on hard tyres, slightly different to the cars ahead, so we'll see how the first stint goes and go from there. It's hard to predict, as it's a long race.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner congratulated Webber on his qualifying performance, and thinks that Vettel could still be well-placed to collect a good result tomorrow, despite his relatively lowly grid position.
“A very interesting qualifying,” was Horner’s assement. “Mark looked competitive in all three sessions and had a great last lap where he made up a lot of time in the last two sectors to take second place, which will become pole with Michael's penalty.
“It was a great performance by Mark and it's the best possible place to be starting the Monaco GP from.
“Sebastian appeared to struggle for pace through qualifying. He was never particularly happy with the car compared to this morning, which required him to run on options in Q1. He progressed through to Q3 on his second set of options, but based on what we could see pace-wise, we felt that it was better for us to have freedom of tyre choice to start the race tomorrow. So, he carries a new set of options into the race, plus primes, so hopefully that gives some good strategic options.”