Schumacher fastest but Webber on pole in Monaco

2012 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monaco, 2012Michael Schumacher was fastest in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix – but will lose his it due to his five-place grid penalty from the Spanish Grand Prix.

That means Mark Webber will start Sunday’s race from pole after team mate Sebastian Vettel chose not to set a time in Q3.


The first part of qualifying got off to a busy start with all 24 cars taking to the track in the first few minutes. As usual traffic proved a problem – notably for Charles Pic, who was held up by Pedro de la Rosa at the end of his first lap.

But within a few minutes the session was stopped. For the second year in a row Sergio Perez crashed his Sauber – though fortunately not as seriously as his 2011 crash.

The Sauber driver hit the barrier at the Swimming Pool complex – replays showed his front-left wheel was not pointing in the correction direction before he hit the wall. The session was red-flagged while his car was recovered.

When the session restarted the Mercedes pair set the fastest times to begin with on soft tyres, with Pastor Maldonado’s Williams in among them.

Lotus waited until the track had quiet end before sending their cars out on soft tyres. Grosjean made it through into Q2 comfortably but Raikkonen’s last effort wasn’t quick enough and he had to make a flying visit to the pits for a set of super-softs.

He got the job done on the red-coloured tyres as did Sebastian Vettel, who also had to use the softer run to secure a place in Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’16.538
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.404
20 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’17.947
21 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’18.096
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’18.476
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.310
24 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari


Rosberg led the way at the start of the second part of qualifying, a 1’15.022 putting him fastest, with Webber just 0.013s behind.

The other Red Bull of Vettel continued to struggle – his first effort left him ninth, complaining the car was “jumping around like a rabbit”.

Jean-Eric Vergne was the next driver to lose his car on the approach to the chicane, swiping the barrier on the left and losing his front wing. He toured slowly back to the pits, Felipe Massa having to take evasive action to avoid hitting the Toro Rosso.

On his return to the track on super-softs Massa set a new benchmark time, lowering the mark to 1’14.911 and securing his progression to Q3 for the first time this year.

Grosjean did his first laps on soft tyres but couldn’t produce a time quick enough for the top ten. As in practice he couldn’t find as great a lap time improvement on the super-softs as his rivals, but made it into the final ten.

His team mate joined him, once again scraping in with his final lap. Vettel also escaped elimination with his last effort, but again Button was unable to join them, ending up 13th.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.421
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.508
13 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.536
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’15.709
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’15.718
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.878
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.885


Seven cars went out initially in Q3, the Ferraris and Vettel hanging back. Grosjean led the way to begin with, setting a 1’14.639, but Rosberg pipped him by six-hundredths of a second with his second lap on the super-soft tyres. Webber took up third behind them, followed by Hamilton.

The Ferrari duo took up sixth and seventh with their laps, but Vettel decided not to set a time, effectively settling for a place on the fifth row.

That was all the more extraordinary as his team mate had the pace to challenge for pole position. A 1’14.381 put him on top – until he was pipped by eight-hundredths of a second by Michael Schumacher.

Grosjean showed pace in the first sector of his final lap but a slow middle sector left him fifth.

But Schumacher’s pole position will be denied him because of the penalty he was handed in Spain. A five-place grid drop will put Webber on pole, sharing the front row with Rosberg.

Top ten in Q3

1 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’14.301
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’14.381
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’14.448
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.583
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’14.639
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.948
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’15.049
8 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’15.199
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’15.245
10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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156 comments on Schumacher fastest but Webber on pole in Monaco

  1. sumedh said on 26th May 2012, 14:35

    Michael’s last pole was in 2006 French Grand Prix, about 6 years back. Is that the longest break (in terms of time) between two poles for the same driver?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 14:43

      No, because Schumacher isn’t on pole in Monaco.

      • Rahim.RG (@rahim-rg) said on 26th May 2012, 14:47

        i don’t understand this thing Keith…
        why is Schumi’s pole not counted when his penalty is for Sunday and not for saturday…i mean even if he’s not starting from 1st…Pole should atleast be counted as his…

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 14:54

          @rahim-rg Because Schumacher won’t start tomorrow’s race from pole position. Same as was the case with Hamilton two weeks ago.

          • George (@george) said on 26th May 2012, 15:04

            @keithcollantine I guess you could argue the difference is Hamilton was disqualified from the session, whereas Schumacher only has a penalty. Not to say your method is wrong, but I do feel if someone gets pole – without cheating – that should go down in the record books as it was the actual performance on the day.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 23:01

            @george I think that’s a rather nebulous distinction to draw, and I’m not aware of anyone accumulating statistics along those lines.

            We could draw a line between drivers who were pole sitters and the drivers who were fastest in qualifying – but the latter may always include drivers/teams who broke the rules such as Hamilton two weeks ago or Schumacher in Monaco in 2006. So this would also be a rather worthless statistic to accumulate and, again, I’m not aware of anyone who is doing so.

            As far as I’m concerned, ‘pole sitter’ means the driver who has first place on the grid. That’s about as clear and unambiguous a distinction we can draw.

            Even then we have complexities. Consider drivers not starting races after the grid has formed, such as at the 2005 United States Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli was the pole sitter, but did not start the race, nor did the next three drivers on the grid. Schumacher was the highest-placed driver on the grid who started the race, but he actually started fifth. But I digress.

            Mark Webber will start the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix from pole position. I don’t think anyone is seriously disputing that.

            Hence, Michael Schumacher is not the pole sitter for this race any more than Hamilton was two weeks ago, or Alonso was at Hungary in 2007, or Raikkonen was at Monza in 2005.

            I don’t recall anyone accusing me of being Hamilton, Alonso or Raikkonen-haters on those three occasions, but apparently pointing out that Schumacher is not the pole sitter for this race makes me a ‘Schumacher hater’ in the eyes of some. Which I can assure you is complete nonsense.

            Finally, let me quote Sean Kelly, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of F1 is the reference point for dozens of the sports’ broadcasters:

            This will NOT count as a pole for Schumacher. Mark Webber took his 10th career pole, and Red Bull’s 40th F1 pole.

            I am utterly, totally, 100% absolutely, certain that this is not a Schumacher pole position.

            Amazed that nobody in F1 seems to know it’s the starting grid that determines pole position – first such instance was Cliff Allison, GER 59

      • AlexNK said on 26th May 2012, 14:51

        You’re choosing to promote the wrong view in this case. When driver is given a grid penalty from previous race but gets pole position, statistically he gets pole and it goes into the record. He simply doesn’t start first. This happened before. Do you have a bias in this particular case?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 14:59

          When driver is given a grid penalty from previous race but gets pole position, statistically he gets pole and it goes into the record. He simply doesn’t start first. This happened before.

          That’s completely wrong. A pole position is when a driver starts a race from pole position, not when they are fastest in qualifying.

          For example Lewis Hamilton has 21 pole positions, his last was in Malaysia this year, not in Spain this year, when he was quickest in qualifying but a penalty meant he did not start from pole position.

          That also meant McLaren do not yet have 150 pole positions. Hamilton would have set their 150th in Spain but he got a penalty, so they have 149.

          As was explained in the last stats and facts article:

          2012 Spanish Grand Prix stats and facts

          • AlexNK said on 26th May 2012, 15:03

            You do understand the difference between disqualification and grid penalty from the previous race, don’t you? If you are disqualified, your time is invalidated. That’s what happened to LH. Michael’s pole time stands, look at the protocol. It is not cancelled, so statistically he has a pole No. 69.

          • Thomas (@infi24r) said on 26th May 2012, 15:22

            But he was disqualified from Qualifying. Schumacher this race was on pole, but gets a 5 place grid drop for the race. So his pole time still stands.

            I’m thinking the record books will reflect this as a pole.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 18:33

            I don’t know how to put it any simpler than this: Mark Webber will start the race from pole position. Therefore this is not a pole position for Michael Schumacher.

            I don’t know why you think the distinction between the grid penalty and exclusion makes a difference; it doesn’t. All we are doing is counting how many times Michael Schumacher has started a race from pole position, and unless the five drivers in front of him on the grid all get penalties in the next few hours, this isn’t one of them.

          • Stjuuv (@stjuuv) said on 27th May 2012, 2:48

            Its kind of silly that Keith should even explain this here in so many comments, one after another, only to be followed up by someone who apparently didn’t read his previous replies.
            Schumacher was the fastest in qualification – won it, if you’d like to put it that way – but Schumacher will not start the race from the pole position, so this will not be regarded as a pole position from him, although he won the qualification. If you’d like to count the qualification victories instead of pole positions, you are welcome to do so, but no one really does that and the results will be somewhat different from what are universally accepted as the numbers of pole positions for the drivers. Also, you’d have to take care to refer that list of yours as “qualification victories” or “provisional poles”, not “pole positions” for drivers.

        • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 26th May 2012, 15:28

          @AlexNK you seem to be convienently ignoring the reason Schumacher has the penalty in the first place. He caused a crash which ended the race of another driver. Its not like gearbox or engine change.
          He stuffed up in Spain and is paying the price, just like Mclaren (by default Hamilton) in Spain, and and Maldonado in this race.

          Would you be demanding the same thing if it was Maldonado who got provisional pole? Because thats what its called “Provosional Pole” meaning Pole position until penalties are applied.

          • AlexNK said on 26th May 2012, 15:30

            Here’s a quote from James Allen for you: “In a surprising and frantic qualifying session in Monaco, 43 year old Michael Schumacher gave Mercedes its second pole position of the season and the 69th of his career. Schumacher is the fourth oldest pole sitter of all-time; only Jack Brabham, Juan-Manuel Fangio and Giuseppe Farina took pole position at a greater age than Schumacher is today. He is the oldest pole position driver since Spanish GP 1970.” James is a very respected journalist and knows a thing or two about stats, and he shares my point.

          • Moo said on 26th May 2012, 17:52

            Date: May 26th, 2012 @ 3:47 pm
            So is this statisticaly pole no.69 for Schumacher in spite of the penalty or Webber gets it??? It’s always confusing when someone has a grid penalty…

            And this was the reply

            James Allen Reply:
            May 26th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

            It will show as Webber’s pole as that is what will be published at 1pm tomorrow by FIA on the official starting grid

          • Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 26th May 2012, 18:52

            Alex you didn’t answer my question. If Maldonado had got provisional pole should he get the pole credit? Or should his penalty mean he forfeits that right?

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 26th May 2012, 22:04

            43 year old Michael Schumacher gave Mercedes its second pole position of the season and the 69th of his career.

            No he didn’t. James Allen has this wrong as he later admits. He doesn’t start in pole position and has therefore not achieved pole position. Simple really.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 27th May 2012, 4:18

            Alex, he did have pole, but when you include his penalty, he doesn’t.

            I’m a massive Schumacher fan, but this is daft.
            He was the quickest in qualifying, but statistically. He starts from 6th.

  2. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 26th May 2012, 14:36

    What a brilliant qualifying session! Really, really enjoyed that. I’m growing tired of the pole-sitter not being on pole though! I wish everyone could just behave…

  3. Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 26th May 2012, 14:42

    If tomorrow is dry, then i will be tipping Webber for the win. He is starting on pole position, which is on the clean inside part of the track. The run up is short, and Rosberg is not the best overall starter. Plus, he has been strong in Monaco as a rule. Hamilton stands a fair chance, although I’m not sure how much of a chance he stands with the primes. Rosberg has got a strong car underneath him, but he is starting on the disadvantage side of the track. I don’t see Grosjean going anywhere, I don’t think he has the temperament to last 78 laps in Monaco. The Lotus should be quick on the primes, but I think the driver will make a difference. Alonso should be careful of Grosjean at the start, and the fact that he’s saved an extra set of super-softs should work to his advantage.

  4. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 26th May 2012, 14:55

    What a qualifying!!!!

    I woke up early, (It’s 8:50 here in Texas) just to watch Q3 and I’m so glad I did!

    I expected it to be intense but I am just thrilled for Schumacher. He and Massa really upped their game today, and as the line up between Alonso and Kimi on the grid they should feel mighty proud of themselves. I know the guys at the front are looking really good, but I would not be surprised at all if tomorrow’s winner came from row 3 or 4 of the grid.

    “I said I was going to qualify on pole, start from sixth and win the race.” – Michael Schumacher at a meeting earlier in the week.

  5. Nick.UK (@) said on 26th May 2012, 14:56

    Shame the Michael has to conceed his first pole in years to a penalty. But he brought it on himself, and that footage of him in Spain was disgracefull!

    I’m caught in a bind here. I’m a die hard Webber fan, but have a sizeable bet on Rosberg to win at 22/1!! I think I’d rather win the money haha, would pay for me to actually go and see Mark race lol. This is how I justify it lol.

  6. George (@george) said on 26th May 2012, 14:56

    Wow, my punt for Webber on pole really paid off, surprised you couldn’t hear my shout for joy in Monaco when he went fastest!

  7. OOliver said on 26th May 2012, 15:10

    So who has set the pole lap?
    I still think it is Scumacher, because his position is no different from a pole driver who fails to get off the line during the formation lap, hence is forced to start at the back of the field.
    Taking pole and starting from pole are 2 different things.

  8. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 26th May 2012, 16:04

    I am going to stop making predictions. Clearly, six races in, it is an entirely futile exercise. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic qualifying. Bet Schumacher wont be complaining about the tyres now will he? Something about Monaco that Massa really enjoys. Look forward to a great race tomorrow and for the sake of my predictions, Hamilton takes a win.

    • icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 26th May 2012, 17:20

      @mahavirshah I don’t think he ever complained about the condition of the tires in qualifying when they all can push it harder to get a clean 1 or 2 laps. His opinion was more towards the race. I thought we already discussed this in the forum and for this Michael would say “Indeed”.

  9. Mahir C said on 26th May 2012, 16:08

    Why is there so much suprise at Michaels pole position. We know Mercedes is a fast car and Schumacher has been fast all year in qualifying, he could have got a lot more points if he had less technical problems.

    Regarding whether Michael won 69th pole or Webber his 10th, the only race I remember when the pole winner got a grid penalty was Italian GP 2005. I checked wikipedia 2005 Italian GP page, it shows Montoya as pole position winner although Kimi was fastest in qualifying and was demoted 10 places for an engine change. I know it is wiki but the editors are usually pedantic about that sort of factual info. isnt responding right now.

    • Stjuuv (@stjuuv) said on 27th May 2012, 2:52 hasn’t responded to me since the Bahrain GP, when it was supposedly overloaded with attacks. I have had to use since then, and that ends up on the same website.

      • Himmat said on 27th May 2012, 8:27

        Totally dumb that isn’t responding. I now have to type a longer than usual address. was just… simple.

  10. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 26th May 2012, 16:22

    Before the days of Ferrari dominance, I didn’t like Schumacher. I thought he was a dirty driver, and at the time was a Damon Hill fan. This could be argued that it was largely down to my dad’s influence, but nonetheless, I didn’t like him.

    After he broke his legs, and came back, I saw a different side to him. From then on, (again it could have been my dislike for Ron Dennis and McLaren), I supported Ferrari and Schumacher…

    Now…I have to revert back to the days when I disliked him. Crashing into Senna and then moaning about it was the icing on the cake for me, not to mention all of the complaining about the tyres. Then, when I saw him intentionally blocking Hamilton, I thought he was an absolute disgrace to himself, and the sport. He and Maldonado should be in a class of their own, where they can freely smash into each other without harming the clean drivers.

    So, overall, I’m happy he’s not on pole, and I won’t be surprised if he crashes into someone else tomorrow either…

  11. JJJones said on 26th May 2012, 16:37

    really enjoyable quali, looks like we have a race on our hands. It was a shame that DC and the BBC crew let the side down with their reactions and words towards schumacher, praise where praise is due…

  12. mac_user67 said on 26th May 2012, 16:52

    Would the bookies be paying out pole position Webber or Schumacher?

    If Schumacher was an option that would be really unfair if they paid out for webber instead

    I had a feeling schumacher would do well but I didn’t place a bet because of his penalty..

    Because the season’s so topsy turvey they only bets I have on are for Hamilton to be in the top 10 tomorrow and for the safety car to make an appearence

    • Skett (@skett) said on 26th May 2012, 17:55

      I know betfair paid out for schumacher their rules say they take the positions excluding any penalties applied post qualifying.

      Annoying as I had a bet on Webber!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 18:28

      I believe Unibet will pay out on Schumacher. It’s normal for bookies to pay out on the classification rather than the final published results.

      • mac_user67 said on 27th May 2012, 10:03

        Dammit, if only I’d thought about it a little more and placed a fiver on Schumacher, I’m sure the odds would have been pretty good!

        Having said that I was thinking of betting on Massa too, and with the difficulties of monaco it wouldn’t have been a shocker if they’d failed to get into q3

        Schumachers fastest lap was phenomanal and I think he completely deserved to be fastest, I can’t see any other driver making brake bias adjustments the way he can. Not bad for a 43 year old!

  13. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 26th May 2012, 18:00

    If Rob Smedley were Schumi’s race engineer, he would have either said “well done sunshine” or “Lewis, Nico, Fernando, Sebastian… who is the daddy of Monaco?”

    whether he gets to keep his 69th pole or not….good lap from the old master nevertheless.

  14. Keith, I always thought you were 100% neutral, but I can see you have a slight Anti-Michael Shumacher bias, but hey 99.9% ok.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 18:30

      I don’t believe I’ve given any reason for you to think so, and you haven’t said why you do, so all I can say is the plain truth which is I haven’t got anything against Schumacher.

      • wilhelmet said on 26th May 2012, 18:49

        I’m afraid that’s how it reads Keith. No biggy, you’re only human!

        Great qualifying today. Gonna be a doozy tomoro! Very impressive by MSC today, but if it’s gonna go to anyone else, couldn’t think of anyone nicer than Webber. Gonna be great race.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2012, 23:27

          Again, I don’t see why you say that. You haven’t explained your view and nor has Str8y, so what else can I say?

          As I explained in my comment above to George, this is no different to previous instances involving other drivers, the most recent of which was only two weeks ago.

          At the end of the day, Schumacher is not going to start this race from pole position, and all I’ve done is report that fact. It’s so disappointing so see how eager so many people are to accuse me of being motivated by hatred when all I’ve tried to do is learn as much as I can about this sport and report it accurately and fairly.

  15. Antonio Nartea (@tony031r) said on 26th May 2012, 18:17

    I think it’s safe to say this was one of the most unpredictable quali sessions so far this year. For me at least. Loved every minute of it.

    Impressed with Webber’s and Massa’s performances so far. Uber-impressed with Michael’s lap – a shame he won’t start from pole, he would have had a big chance of winning tomorrow’s race, but that’s the way things go sometimes. All in all, 6th isn’t that bad for him if we take 2011 into account.

    Tomorrow’s race – still completely unpredictable. I swear. The winner could very well come from pretty much anywhere in the current top 7, even further if we take Vettel’s alternative strategy into account, the possibility of rain and an almost certain safety car appearance.

    Brilliant season!!!

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