Peter Anderson | May 27, 2012

Schumacher fastest at Monaco, but Spain incident with Bruno Senna will see the German pushed back five spots. Australian Mark Webber will start on pole today.

Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix started under bright blue skies and the highest temperatures of the weekend so far. As is always the case on the streets of the Principality, Qualifying was action-packed.

The Lotus and Mercedes cars went into the session as the cars to beat, with the Red Bulls struggling to match the pace of the frontrunners.

Sergio Perez kicked off proceedings by clouting the wall in Q1 after understeering off the kerb at the Swimming Pool chicane. The session was red-flagged, the Mexican having torn off a rear wheel against the armco and ending up parked at La Rascasse.

In Q2, Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso teammate Vergne lost the car under braking for the Nouvelle Chicane, snapping off his front wing and breaking his rear suspension. Ricciardo ended the session 16th, just ahead of his teammate.

Sebastien Vettel had to fight to move into both Q2 and Q3, using extra sets of tyres over teammate Mark Webber.

In Q2 he complained of the car 'jumping like a rabbit' while his teammate was sitting in the garage biding his time.

Jenson Button had another terrible qualifying session, ending up 13th, nine places behind Hamilton's eventual fourth.

Kimi Raikkonen also had to battle his way into Q3, both Lotus drivers struggling to get the tyres 'switched on.' When they did, they flew.

The Ferraris of Massa and Alonso were joined at the hip, Massa enjoying a much better weekend than he's had so far this season. Alonso finished up sixth with Massa right behind.

Vettel didn't bother setting a time, aborting his only attempt at a flying lap.

Schumacher's teammate Rosberg went third, having been P1 for most of the session.

The Lotuses faded to fifth for Grosjean and eighth for Raikkonen.

Pastor Maldonado managed ninth, again thrashing his teammate. However, he will start behind Senna courtesy of his discourteous driving in Free Practice 3. The Spanish Grand Prix winner drove into Perez after driving into the wall at Casino Corner.

The battle for pole came down to the final seconds of qualifying.

Webber went out for a second run and punched in a 1m14.381, bumping Rosberg behind him. Schumacher then went faster, much to his own delight, with a margin of just 0.08s.

Schuey however will serve a five place penalty for cleaning up Bruno Senna in Spain, leaving Mark Webber on pole position for the race.

In typical understated style, Webber said, "It was a good little battle".

Webber joins fellow Australians Ryan Briscoe and Marcos Ambrose on the front row of their respective championship races. If he wins the race, Webber could find himself leading the championship.

The Monaco Grand Prix will be run over 78 laps around the streets of Monte Carlo.

1. M Schumacher*
2. M Webber
3. N Rosberg
4. L Hamilton
5. R Grosjean
6. F Alonso
7. F Massa
8. K Raikkonen
9. P Maldonado**
10. S Vettel
11. N Hulkenberg
12. K Kobayashi
13. J Button
14. B Senna
15. P di Resta
16. D Ricciardo
17. J Vergne
18. H Kovalainen
19. V Petrov
20. T Glock
21. P de la Rosa
22. C Pic
23. N Karthikeyan
24. S Perez

* Five place penalty to be applied for the race, will start sixth.
** Ten place penalty to be applied for the race, will start 19th.