Red Bull Racing diplayed strong pace during qualifying in Monaco, but while Mark Webber planted his RB3 firmly inside the top ten on the grid, team-mate David Coulthard found himself demoted down to 16th place for having inadvertently baulked Heikki Kovalainen.

Both drivers were competitive throughout the sessions, as the Milton Keynes-based squad seeks to build on its first points of the campaign last time out in Barcelona, and a podium finish for Coulthard around the streets of the Principality in 2006. A similar result for the Scot tomorrow would now appear to be out of the question.

"I didn't know Kovalainen was on a timed lap or else, quite clearly, I would have got out of the way," the 36-year-old stressed. "I did communicate with the team to find out what was happening with the traffic around me, but there was a misunderstanding so I didn't get the correct information. It's disappointing as we were progressing well throughout the sessions and I was pretty confident I could get the most out of the car."

Webber, by contrast, was pleased with his starting position, and eager to open his own points-scoring account in Sunday's race.

"The session went pretty well," the Australian confirmed. "I was having trouble getting into a good rhythm at the start to be honest, but as it continued I felt more comfortable with the car. It was a bit frantic in the last part of Q3 when there was a little bit of rain, but sixth is not bad so I'm looking forward to the start of the race."

Team principal Christian Horner was encouraged by Webber securing RBR's highest starting position of the campaign to date, though understandably frustrated by the breakdown in communication that had led to Coulthard's penalty and left him much further down the grid than he ought to have been.

"It was a good effort by Mark to qualify in our best grid position of the year so far," he stated. "We believe we have a good strategy for him tomorrow. It's frustrating that having comfortably got two cars into the top ten for Q3 one couldn't participate, as David held up Kovalainen as he started his timed lap. This was the result of a communication error from the pit wall to the car and was certainly not done by David deliberately."

"We are a bit disappointed because we had the chance to have both cars in Q3 today," concurred Fabrice Lom, Renault Principal Engineer in Track Support. "The car was working very well and our performance level was strong.

"We know how important it is to qualify well here and it's a pity for David as his race is going to be tougher now. We still believe in our chances for tomorrow, though - Mark is P6 and our package seems strong, while David will be able to bounce back. It's going to be a tough race but an exciting challenge!"

 

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