Vettel on Monaco pole as Perez crashes

Sebastian Vettel claimed the 20th pole position of his Formula 1 career after going fastest in a Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session that was interrupted by a heavy accident for Sergio Perez

Vettel on Monaco pole as Perez crashes

The Red Bull driver's time of 1m13.556s was set midway through Q3 and was enough to give him the top spot by 0.441 seconds from Jenson Button's McLaren.

A heavy accident for Perez at the chicane with two minutes remaining brought out the red flags for 40 minutes while the Sauber driver was stretchered away and the barriers were reset.

Once the green flags were waved, there was not enough time left for any of the nine remaining drivers to get their tyres warmed up sufficiently to improve on their previous times.

The top six on the grid, therefore, did not change during the final two minutes with Button ahead of Mark Webber's Red Bull and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher equaled his best grid spot since his return to Formula 1 with Mercedes in fifth, while Felipe Massa put his Ferrari sixth.

Lewis Hamilton had been quickest in both Q1 and Q2, but was the main loser as a result of the red flags as the McLaren driver had been on-track at the time and with four super soft Pirelli tyres on his car.

He could only manage the seventh best time when the session resumed, enough to put him ahead of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes and Pastor Maldonado's Williams. Perez ' should he be fit to start Sunday's race - will do so from a career-best 10th place.

Vitaly Petrov missed out on Q3 for the first time all year, his final flying lap splitting Maldonado from his Williams team-mate Barrichello, while Nick Heidfeld in the second Renault was a disappointing 16th.

The biggest name not to make it into Q2 was Jaime Alguersuari, who was only 20th quickest - slower than Team Lotus drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli. It was Alguersuari's worst qualifying performance since the 2009 Italian GP.

One of the Spaniard's late efforts on super soft rubber was thwarted when he came across Kamui Kobayashi on an out-lap at Rascasse and made a minor collision with the rear end of the Sauber. Both drivers were summoned to the race stewards to explain his actions.

Neither Hispania took to the track. Vitantonio Liuzzi's machine was not repaired in time following his practice accident this morning, while a rear suspension problem was discovered on Narain Karthikeyan's car. Neither, therefore, set a time within the 107 per cent qualifying limit and may not be allowed to start the race.

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time            Gap   
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m13.556s  
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m13.997s  + 0.441
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m14.019s  + 0.463
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m14.483s  + 0.927
 5.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m14.682s  + 1.126
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m14.877s  + 1.321
 7.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m15.280s  + 1.724
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m15.766s  + 2.210
 9.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m16.528s  + 2.972
10.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       No time
Q3 cut-off time: 1m15.545s                                   Gap **
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m15.815s   + 1.540
12.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m15.826s   + 1.551
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.973s   + 1.698
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m16.118s   + 1.843
15.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m16.121s   + 1.846
16.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m16.214s   + 1.939
17.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.300s   + 2.025
Q3 cut-off time: 1m16.813s                                     Gap *
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m17.343s   + 2.136
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m17.381s   + 2.174
20.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m17.820s   + 2.613
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m17.914s   + 2.707
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m18.736s   + 3.529
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         No time
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         No time

107% time: 1m20.471s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
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