Mark Webber came out on top of a frenetic qualifying battle ahead of Sunday’s Monaco GP, just pipping Renault’s Robert Kubica to pole position.
The Pole had set the pace from the start of the ten-minute shootout, and appeared on course for his first P1 of the season as he consistently lowered his time. But Webber pulled the fastest lap of the weekend out of nowhere to duck below 1min 14secs and deny Kubica with the chequered flag being unfurled.
Kubica held on for second as the Australian’s Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel proved unable to match the pace, leaving the German to share row two with Felipe Massa, who will attempt to use Ferrari colleague Fernando Alonso’s absence to rebuild his own morale from fourth spot. The Brazilian, however, may yet face sanction for appearing to block a Jenson Button flier.
Lewis Hamilton shares row three with former karting team-mate Nico Rosberg, while the German’s Mercedes team-mate, multiple world champion Michael Schumacher, lines up seventh fastest, just ahead of Button.
The final two places in the shootout were filled, as expected, by Rubens Barrichello and Tonio Liuzzi, although both appeared higher up the order as the battle raged. Liuzzi, supposedly fighting for his place at Force India, popped up in fourth early on, while Barrichello pushed his Williams into fifth just as Webber claimed top spot for the first time.
1. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 13.826s
2. Robert Kubica Poland Renault-Renault 1m 14.120s
3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 14.227s
4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 14.283s
5. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 14.432s
6. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 14.544s
7. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 14.590s
8. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 14.637s
9. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 1m 14.901s
10. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 15.170s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Williams-Cosworth 1m 15.317s
12. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 15.318s
13. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 15.413s
14. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault 1m 15.576s
15. Pedro de la Rosa Spain BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1m 15.692s
16. Kamui Kobayashi Japan BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1m 15.992s
17. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 16.176s
18. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Cosworth 1m 17.094s
19. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Cosworth 1m 17.134s
20. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 1m 17.377s
21. Lucas di Grassi Brazil Virgin-Cosworth 1m 17.864s
22. Bruno Senna Brazil HRT-Cosworth 1m 18.509s
23. Karun Chandhok India HRT-Cosworth 1m 19.559s
Dnq Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari