Van der Garde storms to Monaco pole
Dutchman on top in chaotic qualifying
Giedo van der Garde kept calm in the pressure cooker environment of this afternoon’s qualifying session in Monaco, pushing at the perfect time to take advantage of his rival’s errors to claim pole position, finishing the session ahead of Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi. The Dutchman’s best time of 1:21.781, set with just one minute remaining in the eventful session, took pole by less than a tenth.
The session opened to blue skies and very little breeze, with Charles Pic leading the field out onto the circuit. Local man Stefano Coletti set the first competitive lap as Romain Grosjean started a torrid day when he tapped the back of Fairuz Fauzy, forcing the Frenchman into the pits for a new front wing.
Luca Filippi was the next man on the top of the timesheets, but the popular Italian overcooked his run into Ste Devote and clipped the wall immediately after setting the time, bringing his session to an early close and forcing the yellow flags out at the corner for the next five minutes. Bianchi took the top spot when the flags went in, with Fabio Leimer set to steal it until Coletti ran inside the Swiss driver at Rascasse: the inevitable accident brought out the red flags to allow the marshals to clean up the mess.
The stop didn’t seem to calm anyone down: with 10 minutes to go Dani Clos tagged the rear of Bird at Anthony Noghes, with van der Garde losing his front wing a few minutes later on the back of Oliver Turvey’s car, and Grosjean riding over the rear wheel of teammate Pal Varhaug’s car at Rascasse a few minutes later: the Frenchman was unable to set a lap inside the 107% time.
Somehow everything was tidied away to allow one last hot lap in the session: Bird went top, van der Garde went faster, and then Marcus Ericcson found the rear of teammate’s Bird’s car at the swimming pool, and Johnny Cecotto and Michael Herck stopped on track as the clock wound to an end. Behind the top three were Davide Valsecchi, Alvaro Parente, Coletti, Josef Kral, and Max Chilton, who will all be promoted one place when Bianchi’s penalty is applied. Tomorrow’s race is set to be a Principality classic.
The Latest for Monaco!
Giedo van der Garde has been demoted to sixth place on the grid for Saturday’s Feature Race, with the Barwa Addax driver being penalised for a collision with Carlin’s Oliver Turvey. The Dutchman had originally snatched pole with a time of 1:21.781, but the decision means iSport International’s Sam Bird inherits the top spot.
Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson were also handed grid drops, with both men running into the back of their team-mate’s cars. The 2011 GP2 Asia Champion will start from the back, while Ericsson has been pushed down to 20th from 15th place.
Fernando Alonso on top in Final practice two!
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.123s 42 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.228s + 0.105 33 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.321s + 0.198 44 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.448s + 0.325 38 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.667s + 0.544 46 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.781s + 0.658 45 7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m16.356s + 1.233 33 8. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m16.642s + 1.519 42 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m17.101s + 1.978 46 10. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m17.126s + 2.003 38 11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m17.337s + 2.214 35 12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.541s + 2.418 47 13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m17.570s + 2.447 39 14. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.581s + 2.458 32 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m17.633s + 2.510 49 16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.706s + 2.583 37 17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.789s + 2.666 43 18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m18.266s + 3.143 50 19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m18.490s + 3.367 39 20. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m19.053s + 3.930 15 21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.185s + 4.062 40 22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.338s + 4.215 35 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m22.066s + 6.943 33