Vettel on pole in chaotic qualification
McLaren's Jenson Button threw down the gauntlet and led the timesheets in the final session from Monaco, but it was only a matter of time before Vettel inevitably blitzed the Brit, and stole the pole.
The defending championship leader Vettel secured his fifth pole position of the season in Saturday's crash-marred qualifying session, and goes into Sunday as the 4/7 favourite to take victory.
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In a continuation of their 2011 domination, Red Bull Racing gained their sixth straight pole of the season with Vettel's hot lap of 1 minute 13.556 seconds, ahead of Monaco resident Jenson Button (7/2) and 2010 Monaco Grand Prix winner Mark Webber (13/2) .
A good day for Button, though McLaren fans were left pondering why their main man had not yet taken to the circuit in the final Saturday session.
Lewis didn't join in the early runs of Q3 but waited in the garage, and when the McLaren man did eventually arrive on the asphalt, he immediately got stuck behind Felipe Massa's Ferrari.
With the clock ticking, Lewis was running out of time.
So, with the cameras focused on the only man who looked likely to challenge Vettel for P1, Lewis Hamilton began his flying lap and the qualification battle was back on.
As if timed perfectly to halt Lewis, the TV cameras flicked over to a smoldering barrier at the chicane, somewhere amongst the debris was Sergio Perez's Sauber.
Halfway through his first run of the final session, the Sauber rookie appeared to bounce on the tunnel exit and entered Nouvelle Chicane sideways before making heavy contact with the TecPro barrier at high speed.
Yellow, and then Red flags were shown to halt the Q3 session and all thoughts were with Perez, little-to-no movement being seen in the Sauber cockpit.
It has since been reported that Perez's injuries are not life threatening and the team have just confirmed Perez will not take part in the Grand Prix.
"The doctors said Perez had suffered concussion and a sprained thigh, but no broken bones and, following a scan, they could find no further injuries."
Qualifying restarted 35 minutes after it was originally supposed to end, with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren waiting at the pit lane exit to ensure a clear lap.
A frustrated Hamilton could only manage a 1'15.280 for seventh on the grid and in doing so confirmed a career-first Monaco pole position for Vettel.
"It is a long race always here, a bit of a casino," said Vettel . "Seventy-eight laps is a long race. My laps in Q1 and Q2 were not perfect but in Q3 it was spot on, so I was happy with that. But the most important thing is to hear Sergio is OK."
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (10/1) had looked the man to beat during practice but could manage only fourth - a steady improvement for Alonso - with Michael Schumacher fifth ahead of the second Scuderia, Felipe Massa (66/1).
Following the results of Saturday qualification, Lewis Hamilton was demoted to tenth on the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix - the stewards deleting his time after deciding he cut the chicane on his qualifying lap and as this was the only lap time Hamilton set during Q3, he was then set to start the Monaco Grand Prix tenth on the grid, but with Perez's withdrawal, Hamilton begins Monaco in P9
The dominance of Sebastian Vettel is becoming difficult to question, (Which conveniently lets me mention our new " 4/7 Fav vs. The Field 13/10" market when you can back either the race favourite (Vettel) or ANY OTHER DRIVER to win the Monaco Grand Prix.)
Following last year's questionable conversion rates from Vettel, the youngster has completely turned those results on their head and now, when it matters, Vettel can put the times where they need to be...
At the top of the pack.
With overtaking a delicacy on the Cote d'Azure, the only thing to halt Vettel on Sunday will be the pretty-much guaranteed drama of the Monaco street circuit.
There's no room for error, and there's always an error so expect not only glitz and glamour, but yellow flags, safety cars and some important race strategy as all the action unfolds.
Join us for the Monaco Grand Prix from 12:30 on BBC One for live betting markets throughout the race from out In Play team.
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