Perez crashes in Monaco GP qualifying

Perez crashes in Monaco GP qualifying

Published May. 28, 2011 10:56 a.m. ET

World champion Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth pole position in six races in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday, but the achievement was marred by a heavy crash in the final session.

Qualifying was red-flagged to a halt and postponed for more than half an hour after Sauber driver Sergio Perez smashed into the barriers. The Mexican was taken to the street circuit's medical center, where he was said by his team to be conscious.

Red Bull driver Vettel secured the front grid spot after lapping the 3.340 kilometer Monte Carlo track in a time of one minute 13.556 seconds to lap 0.441 seconds quicker than McLaren's Jenson Button.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber was set to line up third ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher.


Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa secured sixth ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado earned the ninth spot ahead of Perez, whose participation in Sunday's race was left a doubt after his late crash.

The 21-year-old rookie lost control of his Sauber as he came out of the tunnel, at the same place where German Nico Rosberg suffered a similar crash during morning practice, AFP reported.

His car appeared to hit bumps in the surface of the circuit, lift to the left and then steer right into the barriers before slewing in a half-turn into a barrier at the chicane, ripping off the front right wheel of his car.

The session was stopped for more than half an hour before restarting, following extensive repairs to the steel barriers and the covering blocks of protective materials.