Qualifying for the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix began on a slightly damp track, following a short shower before the start of an awe-inspiring session. In a session with so many parallels with last year, Fernando Alonso took pole position as his nemesis parked his Ferrari at La Rascasse.
After battling his rookie team-mate throughout all three sessions, the two times World Champion beat Lewis Hamilton by just one tenth of second to secure pole on a 1:15.726 the first time this season a Ferrari hasn t been on pole. Felipe Massa put in another impressive performance in his Ferrari, and during the dieing moments of qualifying, he set a time that moved him from seventh to third on the timesheets.
As his Brazilian team-mate crossed the line to end the session, Kimi Raikkonen was making his way to his new two-hundred foot yacht. The Finn broke his steering on his right-front wheel as he travelled over curbs exiting the Swimming Pool, but the damage may have initially been caused as he ran wide in Tabac. Despite a slight pause in La Rascasse, reminiscent of Michael Schumacher s controversial incident last year which cost the German pole, Raikkonen returned to the pits, once again showing his uncanny ability to return even the most heavily damaged car back to his mechanics. Unfortuntely, the damage was too severe to fix in the remaining eight minutes of Q2 and he finished fifteenth on the timing sheets.
Giancarlo Fisichella, a veteran around Monte Carlo, impressed with a fourth position for tomorrow s race. Meanwhile, the sister R27 driven by Heikki Kovalainen struggled for most of the second session, only for David Coulthard to block him as he attempted to set a time to fall into the third and final session. David Coulthard was quickly punished by the stewards and told he wouldn t compete in Q3, he will now start from sixteenth tomorrow, two places behind Kovalainen.
With Coulthard in the dock, Button was promoted from eleventh, meaning that for the first time this season, Honda had both cars running in all three sessions. Rubens will start ninth ahead of Jenson, in tenth.
BMW Sauber finished a disappointing qualifying with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica lining up seventh and eighth. Rosberg continued his 2007 form, putting his Williams on fifth ahead of Mark Webber. Team-mate Wurz starts 11th ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Ralf Schumacher continued his dismal season finishing twentieth, as Trulli put his Toyota in thirteenth. Both Super Aguris failed to progress beyond the first session, Anthony Davidson starting seventeenth, four places ahead of Takuma Sato.
Despite topping the timesheets in third practice, Adrian Sutil starts from nineteenth tomorrow, behind Scott Speed. Meanwhile his team-mate Christijan Albers failed to set a time in his Spyker due to a hydraulic failure which leaves him twenty-second and last.
McLaren will be hoping they can keep Massa honest during the opening stages tomorrow. With thirteen wins, the Woking based team have won more Grand Prix around Monaco than any other.