Circuit de Monaco
Van der Garde storms to Monaco pole
Dutchman on top in chaotic qualifying
Giedo van der Garde kept calm in the pressure cooker environment of this afternoon's qualifying session in Monaco, pushing at the perfect time to take advantage of his rival's errors to claim pole position, finishing the session ahead of Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi. The Dutchman's best time of 1:21.781, set with just one minute remaining in the eventful session, took pole by less than a tenth.
The session opened to blue skies and very little breeze, with Charles Pic leading the field out onto the circuit. Local man Stefano Coletti set the first competitive lap as Romain Grosjean started a torrid day when he tapped the back of Fairuz Fauzy, forcing the Frenchman into the pits for a new front wing.
Luca Filippi was the next man on the top of the timesheets, but the popular Italian overcooked his run into Ste Devote and clipped the wall immediately after setting the time, bringing his session to an early close and forcing the yellow flags out at the corner for the next five minutes. Bianchi took the top spot when the flags went in, with Fabio Leimer set to steal it until Coletti ran inside the Swiss driver at Rascasse: the inevitable accident brought out the red flags to allow the marshals to clean up the mess.
The stop didn't seem to calm anyone down: with 10 minutes to go Dani Clos tagged the rear of Bird at Anthony Noghes, with van der Garde losing his front wing a few minutes later on the back of Oliver Turvey's car, and Grosjean riding over the rear wheel of teammate Pal Varhaug's car at Rascasse a few minutes later: the Frenchman was unable to set a lap inside the 107% time.
Somehow everything was tidied away to allow one last hot lap in the session: Bird went top, van der Garde went faster, and then Marcus Ericcson found the rear of teammate's Bird's car at the swimming pool, and Johnny Cecotto and Michael Herck stopped on track as the clock wound to an end. Behind the top three were Davide Valsecchi, Alvaro Parente, Coletti, Josef Kral, and Max Chilton, who will all be promoted one place when Bianchi's penalty is applied. Tomorrow's race is set to be a Principality classic.
Monaco Post Qualifying penalties
Three drivers handed grid position penalties for tomorrow’s feature race
Following an eventful qualifying session today in Monaco, the stewards have handed three drivers penalties for causing a collision.
Romain Grosjean rode over teammate’s Pal Varhaug at Rascasse in the closing stages of the session. The Frenchman was handed a five grid position penalty. Although he did not set a laptime inside the 107%, the Dams driver has been allowed to race tomorrow as he set a suitable time during today’s practice session. He will start from last position.
Also guilty of causing a collision was Marcus Ericsson who found the rear of teammate’s Sam Bird’s car at the swimming pool. The Swede was also handed a five grid position penalty and will now start from P20.
Lastly, today’s quickest man Giedo van der Garde was also handed a five grid position penalty for causing a collision early in the session with Oliver Turvey. The Barwa Addax man will start tomorrow P6.
Consequently, Sam Bird was promoted to Pole position – his first of the season – while Davide Valsecchi will start from front row.