Vettel storms to Monaco pole as Perez suffers huge crash

Posted on May 28, 2011

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Sebastian Vettel set a truly phenomenal time to secure pole position for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix but qualifying was overshadowed by a huge accident for Sauber rookie Sergio Perez.

Perez suffered a huge shunt in Monaco. Credit: Sauber Motorsport

The Red Bull world champion will start ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button after posting a 1m 13.556s time, more than four tenths quicker than his nearest rival.

Vettel’s best time was set before a long delay to deal with Perez’s crash. The Mexican came out of the tunnel at 175mph in his Sauber, lost control over the bump, hit the side armco and crashed straight into the barrier at the bottom of the chicane.

Marshals and medics spent several minutes extracting Perez from the car before he was taken to the medical centre by ambulance. Early reports said he was conscious and talking.

The car was largely destroyed but the safety cell at its heart appeared to be intact. The car did its job and is a testament to modern safety standards in Formula One. The ‘Tecpro‘ barriers also absorbed a lot of the impact, despite the Sauber ploughing deep into the structure.

Perez’s accident was almost identical to a crash suffered by Nico Rosberg at the beginning of third practice today – except Rosberg’s car flew to the left of the barrier and came to rest on open track.

But we see this accident almost every year. Jenson Button crashed a BAR in almost exactly the same fashion in 2003. Questions have to be asked about the safety of this area.

Following the restart, the remaining nine drivers went out with two minutes left on the session clock. Lewis Hamilton was left compromised by the break and set just the one, poor time to start 7th. Despite thrashing the Ferrari to the top of the practice time sheets, Fernando Alonso could not do better than fourth.

Tomorrow’s race appears to be a straight fight between Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button. The McLaren driver knows how to win here and with a good start could lead into the first corner and control the race. We know the Red Bull is not so quick in racing trim. It should be a fantastic Monaco Grand Prix.

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