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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