Maldonado magnificent in Monaco
Pastor put it on pole again in the Principality.
Pastor Maldonado has repeated his triumphs of last year by claiming pole in Monaco once again, taking the top spot in this afternoon's qualifying session despite constant pressure from Bruno Senna and Mike Conway.
Maldonado's best lap of 1:21.057 was set halfway through the session, putting himself at the head of the timesheets despite touching the wall on entry to the tunnel: his rivals pushed hard to match the Venezuelan's time but just missed out, with a red flag in the closing stages of the session putting paid to their efforts.
Once again Maldonado was the first man on track, with Andy Soucek just behind him: the latter was soon to regret his haste as he collected the wall at St Devote. The Venezuelan pushed a little too hard at the same corner next time by, but managed to stay off the barriers and find his way back on track with the help of the marshals.
Romain Grosjean, Adrian Valles and Senna set the early pace as everyone tried to find a way through the traffic, a task which was made a little more difficult when Ho-Pin Tung ran too hot through the swimming pool complex and lost the rear of his car at the exit, with Marcello Puglisi also going through Casino square too fast and finding out the hard way just how close the barriers are at this circuit.
But when most of the field came in for new tyres Maldonado struck, setting two fast laps and giving his competitors a target to aim for: Valles was in fourth place and looking for more but just caught the barriers at St Devote, which pitched him into a spin and the wall on the other side of the track, prompting an immediate red flag. With just three minutes remaining it was unlikely that anyone would improve their times when the circuit reopened, and so it proved.
Just behind the top three Valles managed to hold on to fourth position despite his accident, just ahead of Giorgio Pantano, Karun Chandhok, Romain Grosjean and Sebastien Buemi, with the first 14 drivers covered by just one second despite the usual traffic woes. With so many drivers this close on the timesheets, tomorrow's race promises to be a race not to be missed.