Alonso 'very pleased' for pace-setting Schumacher
26 May 2012 – Many in the paddock and grandstands alike were thrilled to see Michael Schumacher on pole position in Monaco, even though the German was forced to take a five-place penalty which drops him down to sixth position for Sunday’s race. One man who voiced his delight at the result was none other than ex championship rival Fernando Alonso.
Although being responsible for the crash with Bruno Senna in Spain saw Schumacher’s 69th career pole instantly become Mark Webber’s tenth, that did not stop cheers from the crowds situated all around the legendary street circuit.
“I think that our realistic goal is a place on the podium, but we also know that surprises are the order of the day,” Alonso said after qualifying. “We saw that again today, with Michael on pole. I was very pleased for him, even though he won’t be able to make the most of it because of the penalty. Michael is actually alongside me on the grid – it’s been a while, so it will be nice to have him close by, but I’ll be concentrating on passing the four in front rather than thinking about him.”
Felipe Massa, who was fastest in Q2 but starts seventh - on the other side of Schumacher’s Mercedes – also praised the efforts of his 2006 team-mate.
“Michael did a great lap and I congratulate him – it’s a shame that he will then find himself very close to me on the grid tomorrow afternoon,” said the Brazilian. “Let’s hope we have a good race tomorrow and that a new championship can really get underway for me!”
Ferrari is yet to win in Monaco since 2001; on that occasion, it was Schumacher himself who led home a one-two result in front of Rubens Barrichello.