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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 18:29 UK

Jenson Button calls for calm in Monaco qualifying

McLaren's Jenson Button
Jenson Button tackles the tight turns of Monaco's famous street circuit in practice

McLaren's Jenson Button has called on his fellow drivers to keep their heads during what is expected to be a hectic Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session.

Saturday will see 24 cars battling it out on the tight street circuit, the largest number for 15 years.

"In qualifying we have to keep our heads on, stay relaxed and try our best to get through it," said Button.

"Getting angry in the session, which I am sure some people will do, is not the right thing," warned the Englishman.

There have been concerns that the three new teams, Hispania, Virgin and Lotus, who are seconds off the pace, could impede the front-runners.

The drivers discussed the issue of traffic in Monaco qualifying with F1's race director and safety delegate Charlie Whiting at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend.


But after those meetings it was decided not to change the qualifying format for Sunday's race.

After the first 20 minutes of qualifying the slowest seven drop out and in four of the first five races Lotus, Virgin and Hispania - have occupied six of those places so far this season.

Button's team-mate Lewis Hamilton admitted that traffic problems were likely, but said it was still possible to put in a good lap time.

"We have managed it in the practice sessions so it is not impossible," said the 2008 Monaco winner.

"But I predict that a lot of people will have messed-up laps, so for sure it will be very difficult out there. But of course everybody will do the best job possible."

Hamilton was seventh quickest in both practice sessions on Thursday while Button was eighth fastest in the morning and ninth in the afternoon.

"I'm reasonably happy, although we don't know where we stand," said Button.

"But the Ferrari looks very quick, and I'm sure Red Bull are hiding their pace, so it's the normal people at the front and hopefully we'll be there on Saturday."

The impressive pace of the Red Bull cars has dominated qualifying so far this season.

The team have secured all five pole positions so far in 2010, but Monaco's tight street circuit presents a different set of challenges.

Monaco is F1's slowest track so Red Bull's blistering pace is unlikely to be as decisive a factor, but qualifying could well be crucial - five of the last six race winners in Monaco have started from pole.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was quickest in both Thursday practice sessions, but the Spaniard expects a hard fight in qualifying.

"Felipe [Massa] and I were happy with our session, but we know in qualifying it will be very close, as we saw in practice," he said.

"There are seven or eight cars within three tenths of a second of each other, so we cannot afford any mistakes on the driver side or the set-up side. We need to be perfect on Saturday."

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see also
Hamilton to gamble for Monaco win
13 May 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso sets Monaco practice pace
13 May 10 |  Formula 1
Monaco Grand Prix practice results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
F1 qualifying unchanged in Monaco
09 May 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren fear Monaco traffic jam
11 May 10 |  Formula 1
Trulli shrugs off Monaco concerns
12 May 10 |  Formula 1
Webber expects tough Monaco race
12 May 10 |  Formula 1

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