by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Monaco F1 Grand Prix 2012: Qualifying Report - Lewis Hamilton 4th*, Jenson Button 13th*

- MP4-27A-03
- P3 programme: 1m15.734s (+0.575s), 19 laps, 7th
- Qualifying:
- Q1: 12th, 1m16.063s

- Q2: 5th, 1m15.166s
- Q3: 4th*, 1m14.583s

* Following a 5-place grid penalty awarded to Michael Schumacher after the race incident in which he was involved in the previous race at Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton starts the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday from 3rd.

“I’ve had a good feeling all weekend, but his afternoon was massively tough: one of my toughest qualifying sessions for some time, in fact. And there are two great drivers ahead of me who’ll make it even tougher for me tomorrow.

I’m fortunate to be one place higher owing to Michael’s penalty, but we struggled a little today, particularly with the very low-speed stuff. It was difficult to get the tyres to ‘switch on’ and give us the grip we needed.

Still, qualifying was so much fun - I really enjoyed it - and the tyres and strategy can play a big part around here. If I get a good start, we’ll suddenly be in fighting position for the win.

Anything can happen at Monaco and I’ll give everything tomorrow.”

- MP4-27A-02
- P3 programme: 1m15.471s (+0.312s), 19 laps, 5th
- Qualifying:
- Q1: 15th, 1m16.399s
- Q2: 13th*, 1m15.536s
- Q3: -

* Following a 10-place grid penalty awarded to Williams-Renault's Pastor Maldonado, Jenson Button starts the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday from 12th.

“Monaco is all about qualifying - that’s just the way it is - but I didn’t quite have the pace this afternoon. The car felt good this morning and we looked strong, but then we couldn’t translate that performance when it mattered.

It’s strange, because it’s there at certain points of the weekend – even this morning, in P3, the car felt good and I was pretty happy. I’m hoping that our pace will be better in the race - but it’s very tricky to overtake here.

The drivers around me are going to be on the same strategy, so it’s going to be tough, but as always we’ll do our best. I’ve only finished in the points at Monaco three times before - in first, second and third positions.

I hope I get another one of those tomorrow!”

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Our car is reasonably good on the few high-speed corners there are here at Monaco, and it’s pretty decent in terms of traction too. Under braking, however, we’re slightly struggling because it would appear that we aren’t managing to get quite enough energy into the tyres.

As a result of that, Jenson narrowly missed out on making it through to Q3. But it was an incredibly close qualifying session, as we’ve got used to seeing so far this season. Lewis, for example, lost a tenth or two at Sainte Devote on his first run in Q3, but his second run was strong and solid for the most part - and, as a result, he’ll start tomorrow’s race from P3.

Obviously, here at Monte-Carlo, where it’s notoriously difficult to overtake, you’d always prefer to be starting from the front row of the grid rather than heading up the second row – but the Monaco Grand Prix is always a long and gruelling race, and there’s no doubt that Lewis will be aiming to challenge the two cars ahead of him over the 78 laps.

Moreover, tomorrow’s weather conditions may well be changeable, we’re told, which could make the shape of the race less predictable still. And, on this famously daunting street circuit, anything can happen, as we’ve seen so many times before.”

~ Official photos and report courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ~

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