Jenson Button does it again as Ferrari hit back (Monaco Grand Prix qualifying)

Jenson Button has put his Brawn GP car on pole position again

Jenson Button has put his Brawn GP car on pole position again

Jenson Button’s rivals failed to keep him away from a crucial fourth pole position of the season at Monaco.

But he’ll have to work hard to keep Kimi Raikkonen behind him – the KERS-equipped Ferrari driver lines up second on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton, however, lines up 16th after throwing away his chances of a good result with a session-stopping crash in Q1.

Q1

The session didn’t start well for Felipe Massa, who lost his Ferrari half-way through the swimming pool complex. Fortunately, he only clipped the barrier with his front nose and was able to pit for a replacement.

Lewis Hamilton was not so lucky. He’d gone fourth fastest with a 1’26.264 when he lost the rear of his McLaren under braking at Mirabeau. The left-read made heavy contact with the barrier, wrenching the wheel out of joint – his session was over.

With eight minutes left to run in Q1 the red flags came out to allow the marshals to recover the McLaren. Both the BMWs and Toro Rossos occupied the bottom five, along with Giancarlo Fisichella’s Force India. But Hamilton’s stricken McLaren offered them a hope of reaching Q2.

Remarkably the BMWs remained stuck in the bottom five – and the Toyotas joined them. Timo Glock threw away his hopes of getting into the final part of qualifying by spinning to a halt at La Piscine – and the resulting yellow flags caused problems for several other drivers. Trulli, meanwhile, was left seething after being blocked by Fernando Alonso.

Nick Heidfeld improved but was only able to match Hamilton’s time. It left the pair 16th and 17th, Hamilton ahead by dint of having set the time first.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1’16.264
17. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1’16.264
18. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1’16.405
19. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1’16.548
20. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1’16.788

Q2

Nico Rosberg, who had been fastest at the end of Q1, hit the top of the times early in Q2 with a 1’14.846. Quickly three other drivers joined him on a 1’14.8s: Heikki Kovalainen the fastest of them, followed by Webber and Barrichello.

The next driver to lose control of their car was Nelson Piquet Jnr. He’d clipped the wall on the approach to Rascasse. He rounded that corner without drama, but the car got away from him at the entrance to Anthony Noghes and he sun harmlessly to a halt. Luckily for him, not only was his car undamaged but he was able to get running again before team mate Fernando Alonso arrived on the scene. Alonso reached the top ten, but once again Piquet failed to.

Jenson Button had a scare towards the end of the session, falling to eighth by the chequered flag. Kimi Raikkonen ended the session fastest, with Kovalainen making it a Finnish one-two.

Force India failed to get any further in qualifying, though Giancarlo Fisichella at least beat Sebastien Bourdais. This was despite becoming the first victim of the stewards’ crackdown on corner-cutting, costing him two of his first times.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1’15.833
12. Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault, 1’15.837
13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1’16.146
14. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1’16.281
15. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1’16.545

Q3

Sebatian Vettel was fastest of the first batch of runners, but it was close – Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello were both within a tenth of a second of his first effort.

Button found himself fourth ahead of the final round of laps and went quickest with a 1’14.902. That knocked back Kimi Raikkonen – whose resurgent Ferrari was only 0.025s off the pole time.

On the second row of the grid are the two drivers who most badly needed to keep Button off pole position – Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel.

Team boss Ross Brawn reckons Button has 20 laps of fuel on board – we’ll find out the fuel weight details in full in a few hours’ time.

Update: fuel weights for tomorrow’s start published – Monaco GP fuel loads give no comfort to Button?σΤιΌΤδσs rivals – especially Vettel

Update: Lewis Hamilton to start from the back of the grid following a penalty – Monaco Grand Prix grid

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 1?σΤιΌ??14.902
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1?σΤιΌ??14.927
3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 1?σΤιΌ??15.077
4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1?σΤιΌ??15.271
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1?σΤιΌ??15.437
6. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1?σΤιΌ??15.455
7. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1?σΤιΌ??15.516
8. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1?σΤιΌ??15.653
9. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1?σΤιΌ??16.009
10. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1?σΤιΌ??17.344

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46 comments on Jenson Button does it again as Ferrari hit back (Monaco Grand Prix qualifying)

  1. Dan said on 23rd May 2009, 14:19

    I can’t believe Lewis put it in the tyres. I think he had a real chance at pole and the win at Monaco.. oh well, maybe we’ll see some superb drive from him so he can finish in the points.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys said on 23rd May 2009, 14:22

    So, uh, who was is the other day who said Hamilton ad McLaren were a sure thing of victory because the team have won every race at Monaco since the turn of the century?

  3. ajokay said on 23rd May 2009, 14:25

    Well who would have bet on the Q1 drop zone looking like that?

  4. persempre said on 23rd May 2009, 14:28

    No circuit bites quite like Monaco.
    Maybe Heikki will be able to show his worth?
    I found the Ferraris a little tail-happy but guess that could be down to Monaco conditions plus tyres & KERS. Maybe Hamiltonn had similar problems?

  5. Brawn said on 23rd May 2009, 14:31

    That was sooo good seeing Lewis bin it :D Looking forward to the race tomorrow.

  6. theo said on 23rd May 2009, 14:37

    kimi just put two fingers up to his critics, what a performance! should have a good chance of getting to P1 by the first corner??

  7. Loki said on 23rd May 2009, 14:38

    Great job by JB at the last moment – I really thought Raikkonen did enough to get pole (almost .5s clear). I hope Raikkonen can use his KERS to good effect to get past Button off the start – he’s got a helluva job defending into the first corner tomorrow!

    • Sush Meerkat said on 23rd May 2009, 14:54

      I hope Raikkonen can use his KERS to good effect to get past Button off the start

      Excellent point Loki, I forgot he had KERS on his car, Jenson is in trouble, Jenson isn’t that good off the line. And all the “experts” said KERS isn’t an advantage at Monaco, yeah I think Kimi took offence to that comment.

      I’m sad that Sutil didn’t get higher up the order. With the tyres the way they are this year I don’t think he’ll make it far in tomorrows race.

    • Pat said on 23rd May 2009, 15:05

      Forget It… run into 1st corner too short for KERS effect …. I’ll come back here to eat humble pie tommorrow if I’m wrong… button into 1st corner 1st for me.

    • Loki said on 23rd May 2009, 15:49

      If Hamilton passed Kimi into turn 1 last year with no KERS factor there’s no reason to think KERS would not be an advantage. Certainly, if I were Jenson Button, I’d be a bit concerned as the best thing about the Ferrari so far this year (today’s qualifying exempt) has been their starts.

      But granted, it will be difficult (nigh on impossible) to overtake regardless of KERs. I believe Button will be 1st into the corner as well, but his position will be far from easy to defend. Ferrari need this result more than the Brawns, and so Button has the red car on one side to defend against, whilst behind him (or on the other side) he has a team mate desperate to get the better of him.

      It should be a very interesting start!

  8. StrFerrari4Ever said on 23rd May 2009, 14:42

    Great quali session in the early minutes of Q3 my heart was in my mouth i feared Rosberg was going to spoil the Vettel’s party. But Vettel did a good job i thought he could’ve gone quicker on his last lap and seemed like the Williams of Nakajima kind of slowed him down then again i could be wrong. Ferrari are back and the run down to Saint Devote will be interesting i can see Button possibly being jumped by 3 cars or more if it rains which his pretty unlikely it would be great would mix it up big time :)

  9. mani said on 23rd May 2009, 15:04

    It was a great qualifying, the cars are so close on the time sheets. It has been a very entertaining qualifying this season. I hope, so will be the race tomorrow.

  10. GP1 said on 23rd May 2009, 15:10

    Monaco is drivers track, today’s quali proved it again.

  11. Joseph Jones said on 23rd May 2009, 15:21

    I was very impressed with raikkonens pace from q2. He was very far off the pace on his first couple of laps on fresh super softs but seemed to put everything into the third lap. very happy, I want to see more of this old Kimi Raikkonen.

    Where will the pre race wieghts first be published does anyone know and at what time????

  12. ckwong said on 23rd May 2009, 15:42

    Watch out for Rubens in the other Brawn car. In the last race, he proved to be a fast starter, so I won’t be surprise if he out-accelerate both drivers in front. In a street circuit notoriously difficult for overtaking, if Rubens can maintain his pace, he would win unless someone screws up his strategy in the last minute.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd May 2009, 15:45

      I won’t be surprise if he out-accelerate both drivers in front.

      But will he have room to get by?

    • Sush Meerkat said on 23rd May 2009, 17:56

      But will he have room to get by?

      Compounded by the fact the stewards will be watching that first corner like Fog Horn Leg Horn keeping on eye on a sparrow hawk.

      Any overtaking atempted tomorrow at that point that isn’t on the racing line will be severely punished if GP2 is the template for the F1 rules.

  13. TommyB said on 23rd May 2009, 15:57

    This is getting annoying. I as looking forward to the new rules in F1 and it’s just made it so uncompetitive!!!

  14. Rahim said on 23rd May 2009, 16:09

    ******WOW KIMI IS BACK !!!!!!!

  15. F14EVA said on 23rd May 2009, 16:23

    What time are the weights due to be announced and why hasn’t Alonso been handed a penalty?

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