Button does it again as Ferrari hit back

2009 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

Posted on

| Written by

Jenson Button’s rivals failed to keep him away from a crucial fourth pole position of the season at Monaco.


But he’ll have to work hard to keep Kimi Raikkonen behind him – the KERS-equipped Ferrari driver lines up second on the grid.

But Lewis Hamilton will start a lowly 16th after throwing away his chances of a good result with a session-stopping crash in Q1.


The session didn’t start well for Felipe Massa, who lost his Ferrari half-way through the swimming pool complex. Fortunately, he only clipped the barrier with his front nose and was able to pit for a replacement.

Lewis Hamilton was not so lucky. He’d gone fourth fastest with a 1’26.264 when he lost the rear of his McLaren under braking at Mirabeau. The left-read made heavy contact with the barrier, wrenching the wheel out of joint – his session was over.

With eight minutes left to run in Q1 the red flags came out to allow the marshals to recover the McLaren. Both the BMWs and Toro Rossos occupied the bottom five, along with Giancarlo Fisichella’s Force India. But Hamilton’s stricken McLaren offered them a hope of reaching Q2.

Remarkably the BMWs remained stuck in the bottom five – and the Toyotas joined them. Timo Glock threw away his hopes of getting into the final part of qualifying by spinning to a halt at La Piscine – and the resulting yellow flags caused problems for several other drivers. Trulli, meanwhile, was left seething after being blocked by Fernando Alonso.

Nick Heidfeld improved but was only able to match Hamilton’s time. It left the pair 16th and 17th, Hamilton ahead by dint of having set the time first.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1’16.264
17. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1’16.264
18. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1’16.405
19. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1’16.548
20. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1’16.788


Nico Rosberg, who had been fastest at the end of Q1, hit the top of the times early in Q2 with a 1’14.846. Quickly three other drivers joined him on a 1’14.8s: Heikki Kovalainen the fastest of them, followed by Webber and Barrichello.

The next driver to lose control of their car was Nelson Piquet Jnr. He’d clipped the wall on the approach to Rascasse. He rounded that corner without drama, but the car got away from him at the entrance to Anthony Noghes and he sun harmlessly to a halt. Luckily for him, not only was his car undamaged but he was able to get running again before team mate Fernando Alonso arrived on the scene. Alonso reached the top ten, but once again Piquet failed to.

Jenson Button had a scare towards the end of the session, falling to eighth by the chequered flag. Kimi Raikkonen ended the session fastest, with Kovalainen making it a Finnish one-two.

Force India failed to get any further in qualifying, though Giancarlo Fisichella at least beat Sebastien Bourdais. This was despite becoming the first victim of the stewards’ crackdown on corner-cutting, costing him two of his first times.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1’15.833
12. Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault, 1’15.837
13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1’16.146
14. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1’16.281
15. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1’16.545


Sebatian Vettel was fastest of the first batch of runners, but it was close – Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello were both within a tenth of a second of his first effort.

Button found himself fourth ahead of the final round of laps and went quickest with a 1’14.902. That knocked back Kimi Raikkonen – whose resurgent Ferrari was only 0.025s off the pole time.

On the second row of the grid are the two drivers who most badly needed to keep Button off pole position – Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel.

Team boss Ross Brawn reckons Button has 20 laps of fuel on board – we’ll find out the fuel weight details in full in a few hours’ time.

Update: fuel weights for tomorrow’s start published – Monaco GP fuel loads give no comfort to Button’s rivals – especially Vettel

Update: Lewis Hamilton to start from the back of the grid following a penalty – Monaco Grand Prix grid

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 1’14.902
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1’14.927
3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 1’15.077
4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1’15.271
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1’15.437
6. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1’15.455
7. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1’15.516
8. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1’15.653
9. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1’16.009
10. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1’17.344

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

46 comments on “Button does it again as Ferrari hit back”

  1. I can’t believe Lewis put it in the tyres. I think he had a real chance at pole and the win at Monaco.. oh well, maybe we’ll see some superb drive from him so he can finish in the points.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys
    23rd May 2009, 14:22

    So, uh, who was is the other day who said Hamilton ad McLaren were a sure thing of victory because the team have won every race at Monaco since the turn of the century?

  3. Well who would have bet on the Q1 drop zone looking like that?

    1. I know! BMW weren’t looking too hot but looks like Toyota had a bit of misfortune and Glock’s error.

      Surprised Alonso’s not been given a penalty (yet) – presuming the replay we saw on BBC was accurate it looked quite plain to me he’d held Trulli up.

    2. Where else was Alonso supposed to go?

    3. Agree with K

  4. No circuit bites quite like Monaco.
    Maybe Heikki will be able to show his worth?
    I found the Ferraris a little tail-happy but guess that could be down to Monaco conditions plus tyres & KERS. Maybe Hamiltonn had similar problems?

  5. That was sooo good seeing Lewis bin it :D Looking forward to the race tomorrow.

  6. kimi just put two fingers up to his critics, what a performance! should have a good chance of getting to P1 by the first corner??

  7. Great job by JB at the last moment – I really thought Raikkonen did enough to get pole (almost .5s clear). I hope Raikkonen can use his KERS to good effect to get past Button off the start – he’s got a helluva job defending into the first corner tomorrow!

    1. Sush Meerkat
      23rd May 2009, 14:54

      I hope Raikkonen can use his KERS to good effect to get past Button off the start

      Excellent point Loki, I forgot he had KERS on his car, Jenson is in trouble, Jenson isn’t that good off the line. And all the “experts” said KERS isn’t an advantage at Monaco, yeah I think Kimi took offence to that comment.

      I’m sad that Sutil didn’t get higher up the order. With the tyres the way they are this year I don’t think he’ll make it far in tomorrows race.

    2. Forget It… run into 1st corner too short for KERS effect …. I’ll come back here to eat humble pie tommorrow if I’m wrong… button into 1st corner 1st for me.

    3. If Hamilton passed Kimi into turn 1 last year with no KERS factor there’s no reason to think KERS would not be an advantage. Certainly, if I were Jenson Button, I’d be a bit concerned as the best thing about the Ferrari so far this year (today’s qualifying exempt) has been their starts.

      But granted, it will be difficult (nigh on impossible) to overtake regardless of KERs. I believe Button will be 1st into the corner as well, but his position will be far from easy to defend. Ferrari need this result more than the Brawns, and so Button has the red car on one side to defend against, whilst behind him (or on the other side) he has a team mate desperate to get the better of him.

      It should be a very interesting start!

  8. StrFerrari4Ever
    23rd May 2009, 14:42

    Great quali session in the early minutes of Q3 my heart was in my mouth i feared Rosberg was going to spoil the Vettel’s party. But Vettel did a good job i thought he could’ve gone quicker on his last lap and seemed like the Williams of Nakajima kind of slowed him down then again i could be wrong. Ferrari are back and the run down to Saint Devote will be interesting i can see Button possibly being jumped by 3 cars or more if it rains which his pretty unlikely it would be great would mix it up big time :)

  9. It was a great qualifying, the cars are so close on the time sheets. It has been a very entertaining qualifying this season. I hope, so will be the race tomorrow.

  10. Monaco is drivers track, today’s quali proved it again.

  11. Joseph Jones
    23rd May 2009, 15:21

    I was very impressed with raikkonens pace from q2. He was very far off the pace on his first couple of laps on fresh super softs but seemed to put everything into the third lap. very happy, I want to see more of this old Kimi Raikkonen.

    Where will the pre race wieghts first be published does anyone know and at what time????

  12. Watch out for Rubens in the other Brawn car. In the last race, he proved to be a fast starter, so I won’t be surprise if he out-accelerate both drivers in front. In a street circuit notoriously difficult for overtaking, if Rubens can maintain his pace, he would win unless someone screws up his strategy in the last minute.

    1. I won’t be surprise if he out-accelerate both drivers in front.

      But will he have room to get by?

    2. Sush Meerkat
      23rd May 2009, 17:56

      But will he have room to get by?

      Compounded by the fact the stewards will be watching that first corner like Fog Horn Leg Horn keeping on eye on a sparrow hawk.

      Any overtaking atempted tomorrow at that point that isn’t on the racing line will be severely punished if GP2 is the template for the F1 rules.

  13. This is getting annoying. I as looking forward to the new rules in F1 and it’s just made it so uncompetitive!!!

  14. ******WOW KIMI IS BACK !!!!!!!

  15. What time are the weights due to be announced and why hasn’t Alonso been handed a penalty?

  16. Extraordinary and somewhat surprising qualifying, especially perhaps even more so looking at the bottom half of the grid…

  17. Never ceases to amaze me what an unforgiving track Monaco is.The Kimster was fully focused today…looking forward to watching him battle with the Brawns.(with Vettel knocking on the back door!)

  18. theRoswellite
    23rd May 2009, 16:25

    This is getting annoying. I as looking forward to the new rules in F1 and it’s just made it so uncompetitive!!! TommyB

    We have had more than a decade with 3 teams dominating the sport…race in…race out…year in…year out.

    Relax and enjoy the change, it won’t stay this way very long.

  19. Not full understand red bull tactics leaving Webber in pits so long that he had to do the whole q3 on 1 set of rubber when it was clear the 2nd lap was the best on a set and they by leaving him so long had to do 4 laps on one set…?

    I think if they sent him out as they did vetel he may have gone faster…he was super quick in q2, and parked it early.

    He either has a truck load of fuel and they are praying on a saftey cars or 2…??!?!?!?!?

  20. Number Car Driver Weight [kg]
    01 McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 645.5*
    02 McLaren Mercedes Heikki Kovalainen 644.0
    03 Ferrari Felipe Massa 643.5
    04 Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen 644.0
    05 BMW Sauber Robert Kubica 696.0*
    06 BMW Sauber Nick Heidfeld 680.0*
    07 Renault Fernando Alonso 654.0
    08 Renault Nelson Piquet 673.1*
    09 Toyota Jarno Trulli 688.3*
    10 Toyota Timo Glock 700.8*
    11 STR Ferrari Sebastien Bourdais 699.5*
    12 STR Ferrari Sebastien Buemi 670.0*
    14 RBR Renault Mark Webber 646.5
    15 RBR Renault Sebastian Vettel 631.5
    16 Williams Toyota Nico Rosberg 642.0
    17 Williams Toyota Kazuki Nakajima 668.0
    20 Force India Mercedes Adrian Sutil 670.0*
    21 Force India Mercedes Giancarlo Fisichella 693.0*
    22 Brawn Mercedes Jenson Button 647.5
    23 Brawn Mercedes Rubens Barrichello 648.0

    1. Wow, look at that, Jenson one of the heaviest of the top 10. An even more stunning lap!

    2. Thanks Persempre, an interesting set of fuel loads. It’s a shame that Vettel had to run so light to get to forth on the grid after Red Bull did so well in the past races.

      Good to see the Brawn’s have a heavy fuel load and are still fastest after fuel balancing, should be an exciting race with a first corner against Raikkonen with his KER’s button.

  21. For the first time I’m actually disappointed with Lewis’s performance. It all felt so good up to that point, building up for some grid topping times. Following typical procedure – at his fave circuit (maybe not any more?) I dunno who is more gutted, me or Lewis?
    Anyway – at least Jenson pulled off yet another effortless “Oh I’ll save it until the last moment.”
    Not really enough ground for KERS to make a difference with Kimi over Jenson at the start.
    Can’t see Kimi going the distance or even getting on the podium.

    1. Don`t forget he doesn`t carry the 25-30kg weight of KERS, though.

    2. But is that not just a balance issue at this point? Not sure what you mean. Jenson’s quali weight?
      The question of course is KERS advantage or disadvantage at Monaco?

    3. I dunno who is more gutted, me or Lewis?

      Some fans seem to think pretty highly of themselves.

      Can’t see Kimi going the distance or even getting on the podium.

      I don’t think you understand how the adverb “even” works. Look it up.

    4. Sorry, I was meaning the weight is, presumably, all fuel. Not very clear, was I.

    5. Some fans seem to think pretty highly of themselves.

      Huh? I’m really disappointed for my fave driver. How is that thinking too highly of myself? Maybe some people just can’t (even) get beyond the literal…

      I don’t think you understand how the adverb “even” works. Look it up.

      I don’t even know what adverb even means!

      Anyway, I’m off even for some much needed English lessons so I can do accomplish better needed communications on higher level internet web logs.

  22. There were a lot of complaints about rear-tyre graining on Thursday – so, any word on who used how many sets of fresh tyres vs. those who have a fresh set remaining etc.?

    1. As far as I know tyre degredation isn`t a big issue at Monaco, Navs. There have been proble with grip because of the normal ever-changing track conditions at Monaco but I haven`t heard that the tyres themselves have been a big deal.
      I didn`t take a great deal of notice on usage, sorry, but I`ll see if I can find anything out. Meanwhile maybe someone else was more on the ball with that info.

  23. A stunning lap by Button, carrying a heavy fuel load and out qualified everyone. Disappointment for Hamilton was looking good and would of been great for the team. Just proves Button is the real deal carrying that much fuel and still qualifying in pole. Stunning lap well done Jens

  24. Just proves Button is the real deal carrying that much fuel and still qualifying in pole. Stunning lap well done Jens

    Yup. That will shut some mouths.

  25. 13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1′16.146
    15. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1′16.545

    Force India 13th n 15th? Both are in Q2!! Thats something new :D
    (Will they get some points too? They come very close last year..)

    And look at Ferrari
    2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1′14.927
    5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1′15.437

    Showing their class before leaving F1?

    Though tough luck for Hamilton, he hit the wall. This is his favorite track (i suppose). He was fast in all practice sessions.

  26. Ferrari Dude
    23rd May 2009, 20:44

    Kimi showed Massa who is the real wheelman. Just look at the times and the fuel amounts. Kimi was heavier than Massa and still 0,5s faster!

    1. …for a change.

      Seriously though it was good watching Kimi like he wanted it. Thought Massa did good in the end though I think he coulda been a runner for pole if he hadn’t knocked his own confidence early on?

  27. Morcov Agresiv
    23rd May 2009, 23:24

    Hamilton noob of the year!!!

  28. hamilton=0

Comments are closed.