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. DavidJH (@davidjh) said on 26th May 2012, 19:22

    On the pole position debate, this is one of those matters where there is a certain logic to both sides of the debate, but ultimately it is a matter of convention and definition: for the purposes of the record books etc., the person who has the pole position is not the person with the best time in Q3, it is the person who starts on pole for the race.

  2. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 26th May 2012, 19:23

    The second race in a row where the fastest time doesn’t deliver pole position.

    • xivizmath (@xivizmath) said on 26th May 2012, 20:54

      Exactly. Sometimes I wonder why am I even watching this anymore. I would truly have to twist my mind hard in order to understand today’s F1 logic.

      And before all of you ask: I watch F1, because I’m a masochist.

      • ubik said on 26th May 2012, 23:38

        Yep, f1 is a dead end, we see it because of the weight of history. F1 should be 3000hp 20gs. But cannot, safety, green incentive, more audience… Then every year Fia remove 2 secs. Evert people now That the end is in1986 or 7, l’une in rally with the group b. F1 are toys nowadays exhibited in questionable countries, russia, china, BahreĂŻn…

  3. matt90 (@matt90) said on 26th May 2012, 22:05

    HRT did an impressive job. I wonder if it is just Monaco suiting them or whether they are genuinely back in touch with Marussia again.

  4. IanJPM said on 26th May 2012, 23:45

    Thanks for your responce to my question Keith, I followed the link. Enjoy the race.

  5. Paul A (@paul-a) said on 27th May 2012, 0:00

    I wasn’t going to jump in on this “pole debate”, but have just read the press release from the official FIA website. They say:

    “Michael Schumacher took his first pole position since July 2006 but Mark Webber will start from P1 in Monaco. At his 44th time of trying after coming out of retirement and joining Mercedes in 2010, Michael Schumacher took a magnificent pole position on the streets of Monaco. However, he has a five-place grid penalty hanging over him from the Spanish Grand Prix and will start from sixth place. P1 instead will go to Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing.”

    The FIA are the people who wrote the rulebook, so I’ll go with their definition of “pole” and “P1″ (Rule 36.2 doesn’t leave much wriggle room: “Once the grid has been established in accordance with a) and b) above, grid position penalties will be applied to the drivers in question…”

    Best – Paul

    • cduk_mugello (@cduk_mugello) said on 27th May 2012, 2:55


      Very good point re: FIA Definitions.

      It seems people just use the words that suit their argument best to twist the debate in their favour. Hence why those who believe it is Webbers are fixated on the “pole-sitter” and those who have it for Schumi go with “pole” etc.

      Personally I tend to agree with the pole/P1 distinction. Any comparisons with Hamilton in Spain are a bit of a red herring – he didn’t receive a grid penalty.

    • Guus (@guus_d) said on 27th May 2012, 9:42

      Yes, the FIA press release confused me as well. I just don’t understand if there’s a difference between a mechanical penalty (gearbox engine) and Schumacher’s penalty from Spain. in case of the former, I’m pretty sure the driver keeps his (statistical) pole, even though he won’t start from P1 in the race. If there is a difference in the type of penalty, than what is the difference between a five place grid penalty and a five place grid penalty.

      Yesterday I was convinced It was Michaels 96th pole and not Mark’s 10th, but now I just don’t know.

  6. Aussie said on 27th May 2012, 10:54

    Ill admit Webber will never beat Seb in a season.. but whenever he out races or out qualifies golden finger boy heaps of you bloggers defend him. Seriously its anopen blog.. And alwaysremember… Webber got his RBR seatt the hard way..Minardi, Jaguar, Williams whereas Vettel was basically given theRBR drive on a plate… Imnot biased just coz Im Australian.. I just like to see Webber having “some reward for effort” after seeing him in an uncompetitive car. Yes, Vettel is overall better than Web and has (in my opinion) greater backing by the team but Mark has never complained when things dont go perfect, unlike Vettel,and Im hoping for him he can win.. Go Mark, all Aussies are with you mate

  7. mr ROSSI (@mr-rossi) said on 28th May 2012, 3:26

    I personally would of loved to see michael on pole(ze dirty jerman) and think it would of led to a much better race if he started there. Rather than carry over penalties from previous race-could they not be given a WEIGHT PENALTY instead? That would give the fans alot more enjoyment/clarity-hauling round some lead instead of “artificial” grid tampering by the powers that be?

  8. mr ROSSI (@mr-rossi) said on 28th May 2012, 3:28

    (correction)……carry over GRID PENALTIES from previous race-

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