The events of today have been heavily overshadowed by the dramatic incident of Sergio Perez in Q3. He did amazingly well to get to Q3, but lost control and hit the barrier between the escape road and the track. Earlier in the day, Nico Rosberg had a similar accident in the Mercedes but missed the barrier. David Coulthard had also been through a similar accident in 2008 and also missed the barrier. The session of course was immediately red flagged, and marshalls and ambulance men rushed to the scene. It of course took time to sort out. The side of the car was smashed in, but it didn’t look like the part of the chassis holding the driver was damaged. According to the BBC, it was reported that Checo was conscious and talking, and possibly that he hurt his legs.
A typical Monaco practice session saw two red flags from Nico Rosberg’s crash and Tonio Liuzzi losing control in the Hispania at Ste. Devote. The back end of his car completely fell to pieces, and there was no way the team were going to make it to qualifying. It was his second crash of the weekend, and he has already missed FP2 because of the FP1 crash.
Renault were not showing a great turn of speed, with Kovalainen’s Lotus close on their tails. This is unlike last year when Robert Kubica – who is around Monaco but staying away from the press – was P2 in qualifying and fastest in FP3, and challenged well for pole.
Fastest of all in the session was Fernando Alonso, a good distance ahead of his challengers.
But Perez’s crash meant that Q3 didn’t go the way it could have gone, and it was another Red Bull pole. Schumacher beat his teammate for the first time. Neither HRT went on track, meaning if they do get to race then Karthikeyan will be ahead of Liuzzi. Alguersuari failed to get into Q2 and qualified behind both Lotuses.
In Q2, Pastor Maldonado scraped into the top ten as did Sergio Perez. His teammate Kobayashi qualified further down the grid. For the first time, neither Renault made it to Q3. Paul di Resta once again beat his teammate.
The drivers who set times before Perez’s accident were best placed, and Vettel took pole position. Next to him will be Jenson Button, then Webber and Alonso on row 2. A good qualifying for Ferrari.
But Monaco is proving once again to be a deadly track, and drivers will need 100% concentration to make it around all 78 laps safely. The most dangerous areas of the track seem to be coming out of the tunnel and Ste. Devote. We’ve seen two crashes at each of those places this weekend. If Perez is able to start tomorrow, it will be from P10. If he cannot, Sauber may choose not to run or they may let their reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez drive. But since Perez – a rookie who won at Monaco last year – had this accident, it might not be such a wise decision.
The GP2 race has been delayed by 20 minutes and will start at 4:30pm local time, 3:30pm GMT.