HRT are racing tomorrow. Perez is not. This means that Karthikeyan has the rare pleasure of starting ahead of his quicker teammate. Perez ‘only’ has concussion, but with his car so smashed up and the doctors saying he can’t race, he will not be on the grid. The Mexican will return for Canada. This means everyone below him moves up a place.
Hamilton had his lap disqualified for cutting the chicane, so starts in P9, while Petrov is now P10. He has started in the top 10 for every race. Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Massa, Rosberg and Vettel are the other drivers to have done this, but Petrov is the only one of these seven to have not made it into Q3 each time.
It was Perez’s first time into Q3, as he has previously qualified 13th, 16th, 12th, 15th and 12th. Apart from the first two races, he has always qualified ahead of Kobayashi.
Vettel earned his 20th pole position today. He got 5 of them this year, 10 of them last year, four of them in 2009, and one of them at the Italian Grand Prix in 2008 for Toro Rosso. This equals the number of poles that Fernando Alonso and Damon Hill have achieved, but less than Schumacher (68), Senna (65), Clark and Prost (33 each), Mansell (32), Fangio (29), Hakkinen (26), Lauda and Piquet (24 each). Vettel is likely to beat most of these guys by the end of the season, let along the end of his career! In terms of the percentage of pole positions he has earned, that is 29.4%. Only Senna, Clark and Fangio have a better percentage of career poles (though Senna’s 40.1% is a long way off yet). At the start of this season he had 24.2%, while Schumacher had 25.3% pole positions. Now they have swapped places. Hamilton had 25.4% pole positions, but now is down at 23.4%.
Vettel will start from the front row for the 29th time, totalling 42.6%. At the start of the season it was 34.8%, and Hamilton had 40.8% while Schumacher had 42.8%. Now Schumi has 41.8% and Hamilton has 40.3%. Vettel has only overtaken Hamilton in this record for this Monaco Grand Prix. It would take a lot to beat Fangio’s record 92.3% front row starts!
There will probably be more to talk about tomorrow after the race, so see you then!