Michael Schumacher rolled back the years yesterday with the fastest lap in qualifying for today’s Monaco Grand Prix but a five-place grid penalty means he will start in sixth, leaving Mark Webber to start from the front.
In the season of the unexpected and the unpredictable, few could have suggested that the 43-year-old German, a seven-time champion, who has been under fire for his poor form, would have produced such a performance ahead of the season’s most glamorous race.
But he did it in astonishing fashion with a flying late lap in his Mercedes around the twisting barrier-lined street circuit to outdo Red Bull’s Webber.
Schumacher’s best lap of one minute 14.301 seconds stunned his team and his rivals as he drove a lap of the circuit with one finger in the air in celebration before blowing kisses to the fans and then kissing his car.
It would have been the 69th pole position of his astonishing career and would have given him a great opportunity to deliver a 92nd win.
Meanwhile, fellow Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was third fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, Romain Grosjean of Lotus, two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and teammate Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2012.