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Posted By: James Allen  |  24 May 2013   |  1:56 pm GMT  |  108 comments

Friday in Monaco is a day off, but there are still quite a few people wandering around the paddock. There was a summit meeting of team principals with Bernie Ecclestone in his motorhome this morning, while the drivers are on promotional duties and the mechanics are up in the garages, tinkering with the cars.

There’s no doubt which team has the most confident staff: Mercedes.

Thursday’s free practice was everything the team could have wanted; fastest on a green track in FP1, fastest again in the second session with Rosberg and Hamilton ahead of the rest. The Mercedes single lap pace looked impressive, but Fernando Alonso was close to Hamilton’s time, despite setting his lap on used supersofts, compared to new for the Mercedes pair, which provided some encouragement. Romain Grosjean was also looking likely to get close to them, but he crashed on his qualifying simulation.

Nevertheless, Mercedes have tended to find more time in qualifying in recent races and their competitors expect that to happen again this weekend.

The crunch question is what their tyre performance will be like in the race, as there have been some alarming collapses recently when the rear tyres overheat on longer runs.

Thursday’s Free Practice 2 long runs show a more encouraging picture, as expected. The Monaco circuit puts a lot less energy into the tyres than Bahrain or Barcelona.

And the signs are that it is going to be tough for anyone to make the race on one stop, as that requires almost 50 laps on a set of soft tyres. There isn’t enough time in practice to simulate that, the most anyone did was 33 laps.

And that plays into Mercedes’ hands; if they can get the pole and the front row, they should be able to control the start of the race and run in clear air, then phase their two stops to suit the fastest race plan.

Thursday’s long runs showed that Rosberg has better tyre life than Hamilton. His 22 lap run on the supersoft after the qualifying simulation was competitive and ended with a 1m 19.7s lap. But he did cool the tyres half way through, which he would not be able to do in the race without a safety car.

He looks the favourite at the moment, but he’s keeping expectations in check,

“For sure we have made progress in managing the tyres,” Rosberg said. “But I don’t know yet if it will be enough. There are still some question marks. The rear tyres we still use too much.”

There’s an added motivation for Rosberg this weekend; if he wins he will be the first son of a former Monaco winner to take the honours and it would be exactly 30 years since his father Keke won this race.

The rivalry with Hamilton is fascinating too. It is well known that the pair have been good friends for many years, but Hamilton always had the edge in the junior categories. His arrival at Mercedes has not phased Rosberg, quite the reverse. The German has seen his stock rise significantly in the last month after beating Hamilton in qualifying in both Bahrain and Spain. Hamilton knows he needs to rebalance things, starting right here.

Both have excellent qualifying records at Monaco and Hamilton sounded confident after practice, “If I start on pole no-one will pass me,” he said.” And I’m convinced I can get the pole here.”

The pair are likely to take each other to a very high level tomorrow in qualifying in the chase for pole and it will make for a thrilling spectacle, all the more so if any of their rivals can break in on their personal duel.

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108 Comments
  1. Joel says:

    As everyone knows, Thursday’s times are only indicative. More over, as I understand Hamilton ran with a lot of Gizmos on his car. I’m pretty sure both of them did not push their car to their extremes in the FP – you will see more of that in FP3 and definitely in Qualifying.
    Rosberg’s confidence is at a new high. If only Ross allows both to battle on-track.

    1. Satchel says:

      I feel like drivers are least likely to push hard in Q3 because a mistake often means you can’t qualify.

    2. Quade says:

      Lewis was testing a new suspension, thats why he had all the gizmo’s. Rosberg ran the old suspension.
      Good luck to both Lewis and Rosberg for a front row lockout. I tip Lewis for the pole.

    3. Kay says:

      New don’t necessarily mean good. When new parts don’t work well, might as well stick with old.

      There can also be situations where drivers prefer old parts as it works better for them than new ones. For example, Brawn 2009, Button had wheel caps whereas Barrichello didn’t, because it cooled down his brakes too much, so he preferred them off.

  2. Tim says:

    I reckon Mercedes look good for qualifying, not so sure about the race.
    Hopefully Lewis and Nico can deliver, can’t wait :-)

    1. Sebee says:

      Tell you what’s looking good, Vettel’s helmet!
      It has just shot up to the coolest helmet I’ve ever seen. I mean…temperature sensitive paint?! Classy!

      http://theinterrobang.com/2013/05/sebastian-vettel-is-one-cool-f1-driver/

      Can’t wait for those on-board shots once the helmet heats up.

      1. NJB says:

        @Sebee: I’m sure Marko can’t wait for Vettel’s helmet to heat up either..

      2. Tim says:

        Wouldn’t Marko prefer Seb to keep a cool head (under pressure)? :-)

    2. Sebee says:

      Tell you what’s looking good. Vettel’s helmet. It is by far the coolest paint job ever. Temperature paint? Classy!

      http://theinterrobang.com/2013/05/sebastian-vettel-is-one-cool-f1-driver/

      Can’t wait for those on board shots once the helmet heats up!

      1. Tim says:

        My friend has a cup that does the same thing as Vettels helmet!
        Who would have thought it – a mug and Seb in the same sentence! :-)

      2. Sebee says:

        Only one unresolved issue remains Tim. Did Seb name her? And if so, what is the name? I bet it is Magical Monica.

      3. Tim says:

        That’s right, I seem to remember Seb does name his cars. He said something about it on Top Gear. I’ll go for Luscious Lucy.

  3. madmax says:

    Does junior categories really mean that much. After all Di Resta beat Vettel and Martin Brundle was close to Senna.

    Last year Rosberg and Schumacher lifted each other around Monaco but so far this year Rosberg seems to be having an easier time with Hamilton than Schumacher – as at most weekends so far this year.

    1. Jazzda says:

      It’s during junior categories one can acquire the real value of a driver.
      I remember WSR 3.5 when Vettel letf the championship to move to F1. He was 1 single point ahead of Alvaro Parente and lost in Monaco for him, despite being supported by Red Bull, and Parent in the worst car at the time, a TECH1, without serious sponsors.
      I think drivers like Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Perez, thought not bad, are not that good either.

      1. Fernando Cruz says:

        They (Vettel, Hamilton…) are really good but outside F1 there are some others who could be as good as them if they had proper opportunities in F1. Parente is one of them. Bruno Senna also won here (in GP2) and he could also be a proven f1 winner had he started with Brawn in 2009. In F1 a lot depends on the opportunity a driver has and starting with the right car at the righ time helps a lot.

        Talking about Mercedes drivers, I think Rosberg is giving a hard time to Hamilton also because he is in his 4th year in the team while his team mate is a newcomer at Mercedes. It is the opposite to what happened when Button joined McLaren when Hamilton was alreay in his 4th year in that team…

    2. Equin0x says:

      Exactly my thoughts, Mark2 Schumi does seem to have the upper hand on Rosberg at Monaco and Rosberg’s basic speed is too much for Hamilton, imagine Schumi from 1995-2002 against this current grid, it would be those years all over again, as for pole yes I think Nico has this covered as long as he doesn’t choke under pressure.

    3. KRB says:

      It’s in junior categories where the car levels are not exaggerated, as they are in F1.

      Most weekends? Did I miss some, as it’s 3-2 HAM in quali, and 4-1 HAM in the races, so far this year (yeah, I know Malaysia).

      Last year, after 5 races, it was the same (3-2 in quali, 4-1 in the races) score for ROS over MSC.

      Don’t get me wrong, I really rate Rosberg, and his speed … Lewis does too, of course. I remember an interview Lewis did where he was asked to pick a potential star driver out of the grid, and he said Nico. Many at the time thought he was just “putting a good word in” for a friend, or that it was some sort of jibe against Vettel, but maybe they should rethink that, and just see it for the honest answer it was.

      The thing for me with Rosberg is can he win races that are marginal? We know Lewis can make the difference in such circumstances, but can Rosberg? We only have his dominant victory in China last year to go by. I’m not saying he can’t, just that we just don’t know.

      Also, looking over past quali sessions at Monaco, it seems to me that Rosberg can be up to speed quicker than most around the Principality, but that when it’s balls-to-the-wall time, he’s maybe not as prepared as others to find the limits.

      Who knows, maybe I’ve got it wrong and he’ll pull it off. Lewis can’t rely on the fact that Michael beat Nico in quali here last year. Then, the pressures were different … Rosberg had largely put Schumi v2.0 in his shadow. Now he has extra motivation to do his best against Hamilton, in their early-season tussle for intra-team supremacy. It’s fascinating stuff.

      I hope for a dry quali session, but dunno if we’ll get it. If it is, my pole prediction is 1:13.993.

      1. madmax says:

        Rosberg was easily faster in 2 of them qualifying sessions up to Q3 when weather conditions changed. The other Lewis beat him in he couldn’t set up his car properly for qualifying because of unreliability in P3.

        How can you count a car breaking down as meaning the other teammate is faster in the race comparisons?

        I’m not saying Hamilton isn’t very fast, I’m just saying Rosberg has been vastly unrated because of the car he has had and maybe now he is the fastest in F1.

        Rosberg put Schumi2 in the shadow the first year but the 2nd year Rosberg was faster in qualifying with Schumacher in the race.

        The third they were 10-10 in qualifying with Schumacher nearly always faster in the races so to say he put Schumi in the shade and was under no pressure is absurd.

  4. Sven says:

    “Hamilton always had the edge in the junior categories.”

    It shows once again that junior categories and F1 are completely different things and one shouldn’t judge drivers’ relative competitiveness by their results in junior categories. If a driver X beat the driver Y in junior series, it doesn’t necessarily mean he would beet the driver Y in F1.

    1. David C says:

      Spot on, Its silly when people do that, and is normally only brought up as a form of driver bashing. Apart from the difference in the catagory the time is also a huge factor, people develop and dicline in their abilities throughout their life and the only relevent time is the now. Rosberg of today might beat the Alonso of 2023 and maybe the JB of 2018 will beat the NR of 2006 but it dosent really matter.

      1. David C says:

        ….. JB was Jules Bianchi in that instance!!

      2. Equin0x says:

        Well there’s some truth to what you are saying but what matters is a driver to perform in the highest formula and drivers like Alonso has performed throughout his F1 career from his Minardi days to right now at Ferrari and there’s no denying Rosberg is no doubt fast right now, and the Hamilton fans are rattled by Nico’s pace.

      3. Kartik says:

        Thanks for the Clarification i thought some one else :D

    2. jpinx says:

      That’s because in junior categories they are allowed to race and don’t have to do a lot of tyres/systems management.

      Bring back pedal-to-the-metal racing please…

    3. SenPro says:

      Hang on, who says Hamilton won’t have the edge after their first season? IF Hamilton does not beat Rosberg in both Qualifying and point by the end of the season, you can post this, otherwise makes no sense at all and the opposite is really true.

      1. Sven says:

        I’m not saying that Lewis won’t have the edge after their first season. He might. And Rosberg might.
        I said “it doesn’t necessarily mean he would beat the driver Y.” Necessarily is the key word here. So far, Lewis doesn’t seem to have the edge–quite the opposite, actually. But he might.
        My point is, the cars in F1 are too different from the cars in junior categories, and a driver who might have the edge there wouldn’t necessarily have the edge in F1.

      2. KRB says:

        In junior categories the cars are far more similar than they are in F1. It’s harder to judge relative driver ability in F1 than it is in GP2/GP3/F3/WSR3.5.

        Of course in junior categories you have the problem of youth, in that a great youth prospect might not keep developing, while another driver might. It’s the same as in most top sports. There are plenty of 1st round draft picks in the NHL or NBA that have turned out to be flops, while others picked way down in the draft have emerged as bona-fide superstars. A classic example from the NHL would be Alexandre Daigle (picked 1st overall in the 1993 draft), who flopped; and Henrik Zetterberg (selected 210th overall in the 1999 draft) who is now a star, and was the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.

      3. Equin0x says:

        Points is irrelevant now because Ross favours Hamilton and the result in Malaysia shows points don’t tell the story plus Nico has got Schumi’s reliabilty with his DNF’s in OZ and China, also Hamilton is the 1 getting priority in new parts first so even quali is hard to measure but what is certain is on pure speed from winter testing and all the sessions so far Nico is just plain faster for Hamilton’s fans excuses are already plenty and for all your sakes hope the current form changes starting this weekend in quali tomorrow.

      4. Tim says:

        Let’s assume you are correct. That Nico is the quicker of the two and the only reason Lewis is ahead in race results and qualifying is because of preferential treatment from the team.
        Doesn’t that raise a question in your mind? Why?
        Why would Mercedes favour the slower driver from their current line up?
        I am not saying you are wrong, by the way. It’s just that I am struggling with the logic of your argument.
        Perhaps you would be kind enough to enlighten me.

      5. KRB says:

        …and yet all I saw in there were excuses (some legitimate of course) for Rosberg.

        Funny how Rosberg’s afforded the benefit of the doubt, while Hamilton’s afforded none.

        Speaks volumes.

      6. Equin0x says:

        Tim I’ll tell you why Ross favour Hamilton: its because they hired Hamilton as their lead driver falsely falling for the hype that he was the fastest driver on pure speed or whatever and paying him double or more of Nico so naturally to save face they don’t want to make the board thinking their great big hope is overrated and getting shown up.

        As for KRB’s comments: well the reply to that is Hamilton is well protected from making him look bad by his fans, the british media and Ross Brawn and I think there is no excuses needed for Nico by the way another POLE and Hamilton complaining now about setup, just man up show some class just admit Nico is FASTER, also nice show of basic speed by Vettel even with a few mistakes only 1 tenth off neither of the Mercedes drivers are on Seb’s level even as a brit myself its a hard pill to swallow knowing the Schumacher era has been transferred to Vettel but to doubt him or discredit him just makes the english speaking fans look stupid.

    4. ReviLO says:

      It maybe a little too early to form any conclusions regarding their relative competitiveness. Hamilton is still comparatively new to the Mercedes team and car. I would be inclined to leave it a little longer to dismiss their form in the junior categories. One thing is certain, it’s going to be very interesting to watch.

    5. Tim says:

      If you can’t judge a drivers abilities from the junior categories, then how would you suggest the teams should choose?
      McLaren, presumably, made their decision based on performance in the feeder series. They chose Lewis.
      I can’t imagine that Nico turned them down and they were ‘stuck’ with Lewis but you never know :-)

      1. Brian Horgan says:

        I think the op was saying that just because someone was better than someone else in the feeder series 6 or so years ago, it dosent mean that they are better today, as David C said people’s abilities change throughout the lives.

      2. KRB says:

        Of course. Lewis won 15 of 20 races in Euro F3, then won at first asking in GP2. One of the lines used against Lewis is that he went straight into a top car. But it’s not like he proved himself unworthy of that drive, did he? 9 podiums out of the gate, for a rookie … that will never be equalled.

        Take Kimi for example. He only spent one year with Sauber, then went to McLaren. Hamilton could’ve joined F1 in 2006 with a smaller team, then moved to McLaren, same as Kimi. I don’t get how some can say that Kimi “put his time in”, while Hamilton didn’t. Of course it’s the usual anti-Lewis fare … he certainly agitates quite a number of people, for whatever reason. It’s truly bizarre.

      3. Tim says:

        You are absolutely right about Lewis, he certainly seems to polarise opinions. I don’t really know why either. He is not some rich kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Far from it, he comes from a very ordinary background. Yet, for some reason he appears to be resented and the moment he slips up the anti’s are hugging themselves with delight and seizing on the opportunity to run him down.
        Hey ho, there is nowt as queer as folk, as they say.

  5. goferet says:

    Unfortunately for Mercedes, whenever a team is confident ahead of an event, something usually does happen that throws a spanner in the works and in this case it will be the forecast showers.

    I mean, who expected Mercedes to grab pole in Barcelona and Bahrain and now, with the chances of rain on Saturday, virtually anybody could be on pole especially the wet loving Ferraris.

    Anyway, lets say the Mercedes team lock out the front row, it seems Lewis will have the better race of the two because of his positive frame of mind heading into this whereas Rosberg is somewhat pessimistic.

    However, I can’t picture a victory for either one of them because history is against both and in Rosberg’s case, no father-son partnership have won this.

    So yes, my money is on the Lotus drivers or somebody completely unexpected.

    As for point of Rosberg having rattled Lewis’ foundations, this is the best thing that could have happened to Lewis for people like Lewis need stiff in-house competition to raise their game.

    Same thing happened to Lewis in 2007 when he went up against Alonso and 2012 when Jenson had beaten him the previous year.

    P.s.

    Hmm… it seems Monaco hasn’t been exactly kind to the local residents

    In the last 10 years (since 2002) only the Monte Carlo residents Couthard and Jenson have been able to win there.

  6. Peter says:

    If Rosberg continue to be very close to or even beat Hamilton, Lewis will be more and more annoyed and that will effect his performance. The other way around Rosberg has only something to gain as everyone expect Hamilton to be the top dog. So far Rosberg has surprised me with his attitude to take on the challenge and with his speed, too.

  7. Richard says:

    I fancy Hamilton will get pole providing he get’s the car set up to his liking. That said I think the Lewis and Nico are very evenly matched, but Hamilton has the ability to pull out something special when it counts. I also think that High degradation tyres do Hamilton no favours as he has had to reign in his style to reduce energy inputs into his tyres. With durable tyres Hamilton can make a car dance much in the same vein as Senna which has can longer be afforded in this tyre whispering Formula since Pirelli took over from Bridgestone. I really don’t care what average calculations the pundits come up with, the fact is that the cars are not being pushed to anything like the extent they were. Average lap times is not the way to measure it anyway. As they say lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  8. Hiten says:

    Drivers have some really cool one-off crash helmets for Monaco!! Should check out!!

  9. Nigel says:

    “long runs showed that Rosberg has better tyre life than Hamilton. His 22 lap run on the supersoft after the qualifying simulation was competitive and ended with a 1m 19.7s lap”

    Better speed on the long runs, possibly.
    But Hamilton did a 25 lap run on supersofts which were already a couple of laps older than Rosberg’s, so it’s a little difficult to make a direct comparison – quite apart from the likelihood that they were running slightly different kit (eg the suspension) for comparison purposes.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      It doesn’t really matter how many laps he did, but how many laps and the times of those laps.

      The time of the laps is important so we know he didn’t “nurse” those tyres.

    2. Richard says:

      The problem with Rosberg’s run was that he had a cooling off session midway through the run which drivers can’t do in the race.

  10. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Maybe with two or three Safety Cars a one-stop strategy can work. Maybe the teams just will be alert to react, for example for Grosjean, Kimi, Di Resta, Sutil.

    Mercedes has to be careful with the battle of their drivers if they want to keep P4 in the WCC, because they have to take advantage of the McLaren weakness in the first part of the season and take a bunch of points, taking also advantage of Sauber’s problems. But McLaren is indeed getting closer to the front, therefore to finish in the points with both cars is really important for Mercedes right now.

  11. Thegregmon says:

    Let’see how they’ll do this Sunday! A bit sick of the same excuse eh Ross, time to deliver! Wish them well1 After 3 years of calamity! Looking forward to Mercedes having a good race, as a SChumi & now Lewis fan, let’s watch them Silver Arrows relinquish the challenge!
    Who knows, maybe Michael 2.0 wasn’t that bad after all! Good luck :)

  12. Elie says:

    If Mercedes or Red Bull end up on the front row I really want Ferrari , Lotus or whomever else behind to push them to the limit all the way. This is the only way we may see an exciting race – as soon as they reach the limit of their tyres either team will have to pit first. This gives teams behind them the chance to leap frog them at the end of the race. It’s true they can control the pace but if they are watching their mirrors they may end up see the wall first or cooking their tyres.
    I still hope Kimi can find that extra bit he needs in that car – what he did in the Mclaren in 2005 was spectacular – do it again Kimi but on form you’d have to favour RBR and Webber – the car and driver are very suited to this circuit

  13. Thegregmon says:

    Also, only because Nico is having the edge in the team-mate wars at the moment doesn’t mean to me he’s a WDC material! Lewis is a benchmark, of course but Nico has been underrated so much, we didn’t see much of this ‘his stock has risen’ the last 3 years!
    Lewis himslef has acknowledged how great & competitive both are on track! I’m not getting carried away with their race pace but i hope we can enjoy this battle without looking for ‘who has had upper hand, who’s up or better…Only media papers are building the hype at the moment! we can’t tell until the end of the season!
    I wonder if Schumacher’s stock dropped because Rosberg could match after 3 years… tsk!
    Not in my book! Lewis and Nico are close in performance at the moment! lewis is new in the team still looking for improvement to get himself comfortable…Both are super fast, whcih is good for Mercedes and the sport! I really appreciate that even if Pirelli is hampering a certain style of driving.

  14. Rocky says:

    What some of you guys seem to be missing is the fact that, in any sporting discipline, one is judged by one’s previous form. Hence, if LH was that good in junior categories, It’s only logical that it is expected of him to translate that form into even better performances in senior categories! In all fairness, LH has completed merely five races with Merc and not in his 5th year with the outfit. Lest we forget, it took the great maestro, Schumi, 3. Barren seasons in a Ferrari before he could mount an assault on multiple championships. Besides, the race has not been won… The boys are still in a marathon. June the 3rd, enters Paddy Lowe!

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      3 barren seasons?
      1996, 3 wins 3rd in WDC behind dominant Williams
      1997, 5 wins 2nd behind Villeneuve before FIA disqualified him.
      1998, 5 wins 2nd behind dominant Mclaren with Hakkinen driving
      1999, broken leg, yet Ferrari won WCC and Urvine nd in WCC

      Hardly barren…

      1. Dutch johnny says:

        I think he means that those ferrari’s except ’99 weren’t that good. But ofcourse you need to make a point to bring schumacher down as always….

      2. KRB says:

        True, true. More wins than any driver save Vettel in the past 3 seasons, and more wins than WEB or MAS have in their careers.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        I know exactly what he meant, and I’m also aware that Ferrsri were carried by Schumacher through those seasons. Irvine had nothing to do with it.
        I’m trying to work out how I’m having a go at MSC again. My point was that other than the dominant car of each season, Schumacher won races because of who he was…

      4. Rocky says:

        Thanks Dutch Johnny ‘ol boy… Common sense is clearly not that copmmon to all of us! I think it’s pretty clear I made an emphasis on “championships” and not a few odd race wins!

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Pot, kettle black…
        “Common sense” would have pointed out that other than the championship winning team, Schumacher won races and was the next best placed driver in the championship because of his ability rather than the car.
        96, behind Hill and Villeneuve
        97, behind Villeneuve
        98, behind Hakkinen

        Barren? 15 wins over 4 seasons, against the odds, and taking the championships down to the last round in 1997 and 1998 is hardly unfruitful.

      6. David C says:

        I couldn’t agree more, in fact I think those years were probably schumachers best. He had no business competing with the Williams in particular, it kinda reminds me of Alonso’s second stint at Renault only better. I know 1997 will always be remembered for the incident but if you think about it how he got that Ferrari to compete with the vastly superior Williams was a miracle even more impressive than FA last year. The auld schumi v newey, Michael found a way, hopefully Fernando can too, only then will he be a true Ferrari legend.

  15. Wheels says:

    Monaco qualifying looks an terrifically interesting prospect tomorrow!

    No doubt, Mercedes looks the favorite, but I thought Rosberg’s rear tires looked worryingly worn after his late FP2 race simulation run…. I think Alonso’s Ferrari looks a good bet to, maybe, snatch pole from under Merc’s noses….

    Frankly, I think that Rosberg feels, just a tenth or two, more at home than Hamilton in the WO4 chassis.

    Three years of dealing with Mercedes GP’s approach in terms of operating systems (steering wheel/dashboard)and overall car feel and behavior gives an excellent driver like Nico an early season, slight, advantage. Absolutely, the same as if Nico had come to join Lewis at McLaren.

    Furthermore, in terms of his body language, I sense that Hamilton is not quite as satisfied as Rosberg with his overall chassis set-up. Getting that aspect of race-craft together in an in ultra quick but perplexing car like the WO4 ain’t gonna happen right off….

    Nor have I read where Lewis has expressed that necessary assured-ness in his ride, at this point, needed to constantly get the best of an extremely strong Teammate such as Nico.

    Nonetheless, things are close between the twosome, which I always expected it would be….

    Anyway, it’s early days yet! And the more Mercedes’ engineer/development team get that car more to Hamilton’s liking, the intra-squad battle between those ol’ Karting buddies is gonna be a real on-track scrape of mega proportions.

    Bring on Monaco qualifying!

  16. Marcelo Leal says:

    It’s 3×2 in qualifying for Hamilton.
    50×22 in the WDC for Hamilton.
    Hamilton is 4th in the driver standings.
    Hamilton was just focusing on the race pace.
    Hamilton has just drove 5 races in this car.
    Who watched his interview for sky knows that he explained how different is to approuch throttle, steering wheel, and etc in the new car…
    What are you talking about???

    1. Peter says:

      Yeah, I know he always can explain something when he is not at the front.

    2. Yago says:

      Agree, except I think Rosberg beat Hamilton fair and square in two qualifyings, not by Hamilton being “just focusing on race pace”. Untill now, Hamilton has been the better driver by quite a margin. Thing is, people usually do not look further back than one or two races. That way they can not get a clear picture!

    3. Mike says:

      +1

      Let’s not start to over rate and over hype Nico Rosberg to much. He did over one hundred F1 gp’s and had only one race win. This years Mercedes is more suited to Nico’s driving style. I think Lewis is doing a pretty good job so far if you are looking to the circumstances. I hope for Nico’s sake he will do well this season. You can’t remain a talented driver forever.(especially in a car that is build solely for him)

    4. Lewis says:

      Rosberg has had two mechanical retirements, which has skewed the points difference significantly.

    5. Wheels says:

      Hello Marcello!

      Now, I’m the biggest Hamilton fan you’ll find, anywhere…. But, I don’t think the WDC points situation between Hamilton/Rosberg can really be viewed in the way you describe in your post.

      Nico had some serious reliability problems the first few races weekends…. Remember? Otherwise that score would almost certainly appear a lot closer. Anyhow, qualifying for pole on Saturday is gonna be a real knock down, drag out between those two…!

    6. Lol says:

      You ignored Rosberg having mechanical failures in 2 races, in 1 race he was told to not overtake Hammy and also the first 2 qualifying session were under weird circumstances.

      Rosberg is the better Merc driver so far.

      1. Kay says:

        But then Hamilton is new to the team and car. Rosberg has been driving the Merc for quite a couple of seasons now so he knows how to react better.

        I’d say give Ham till half point of the season before comparing both.

    7. Ryan Eckford says:

      Remember a few rounds ago, everyone was talking about the possibility of Alonso being out-qualified by his teammate five times in a row. I think it is just a phase, and that Hamilton will get back on top of Rosberg again.

  17. Methusalem says:

    I think, it would be great if points are introduced for qualifyings. It would even make qualifying sessions very interesting, and more exciting. 10 for Pole, 9…

    1. James M says:

      You must be joking…

    2. brendan says:

      more like 5 ,3 and 2,but 10 is way to much.
      what about a point for every lap they do … ha ha.
      winner/pole at Monaco would get 113 points!

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      I have always thought pole position should get 3 points, second position 2 points and third on the grid 1 point. Also, 1 point for fastest lap of the race regardless of the percentage distance completed.

    4. Kay says:

      That’d essentially make it 2 races per a single weekend + track for drivers.

      Crazy….

  18. Methusalem says:

    “There isn’t enough time in practice to simulate that, the most anyone did was 33 laps”

    James, so, why don’t the teams exploit to use the full training sessions, instead of coming out of the boxes 30 minutes, sometimes an hour later?

    1. sruman says:

      running on green track wont provide good data

    2. Chris says:

      track changes so much dude and is always very green to start with, more so at street circuits. The big boys prefer to let the little guys clean the track

  19. Bayan says:

    I feel like ferrari will win this race if they qualify at least in the second row. Their cars in race trim are so much better.

    Also, looking at the times from practice, anyone see Bianchi’s time. He is far ahead of his teammate and the caterhame cars. I would love to see this guy in a more competitive car next year.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      Bianchi is fantastic, he should be at Sauber at least. Guttierez’s F1 ability is questionable so far. Pic, Chilton and Van de Garde however are not F1 caliber. Drivers like Robert Wickens and Alex Rossi should have been given a go.
      It seems teams would rather an OK driver with money than a great driver with just his talent to offer.

      Nicolas Prost I think is at least as good as Bruno Senna and yet was never given an opportunity.

  20. Sikhumbuzo says:

    James

    Can you confirm if Lewis ran a revised suspension please.

    ST

  21. cometeF1 says:

    It is still fairly early in the season and it is possible that LH is still adapting to the car. Still, I for one, am surprised to see NR being ahead in most of the sessions to date. Over one last at least he is if not that tiny fraction better than LH, at least on par.
    If NR keeps at it, LH might start being affected and ditto his performance. We will have a better picture after a few more races.
    As for the race. I like that I can’t seem to be able to imaging whom the winner will be. Today’s F1 gets a lot of finger pointing, it is not perfect, but it is the best it has been in a while. I liked last year season very much too. Marc

  22. Chris says:

    James, why have you changed your attitude on the possibility of teams like Lotus and Ferrari choosing to one stop the race? Your article prior to this one says:

    “That said they are still likely to need to make two stops on Sunday, where Lotus can definitely do one and probably Ferrari as well. This could prove decisive provided that the one stoppers are able to qualify at or near the front.”

    Data would not have changed since the end of FP2, so what indicators have shown that one stopping is no longer possible for Lotus or Ferrari? I still think they can manage it, and if there is one track on the calendar where it’s absolutely worth trying to one stop at, especially with signs of your car being benign on the tires, it is at Monaco surely.

    1. James Allen says:

      It always said that it depended on practice running

      At the moment it looks like 2 stops

      1. Kay says:

        With the way things are going with Grosjean, it looks like drivers are going to pit from Lap 2 onwards.

    2. KRB says:

      Last year it was marginal, and that was with a Safety Car after the first lap, for 2 laps. I can’t see anyone doing 50+ laps on the softs, or 30+ laps on the SS’s. but we’ll soon see.

  23. Alexander Supertramp says:

    You anticipated on this battle two weeks ago, hope you’re predictions come true!

  24. brendan says:

    lewis wont beat nico for pole.nico has the knack of going fast in sectors 1 and 2 while still saving the tyres. so in sector 3 nico will always be faster.
    Alonso was flooring it to the limit couldn’t get near nicos time.
    with no nicos time 1.13.800,if anyone is faster good luck to them.

    1. brendan says:

      no rain

    2. KRB says:

      I thought 1:14 flat would be hard to break, but Rosberg just did a 1:14.378 in FP3. He bettered his FP3 time by 7-tenths last year, in Q3. That would mean a 1:13.678 … I think Nico might’ve been pushing a little more than normal in FP3, so your 1:13.8 sounds about right.

      Of course this only holds if it’s dry.

      Lastly, what the hell were Grosjean and Sutil doing in FP3? Rule 1 is don’t crash in FP3. He’ll be lucky to take part in quali. As a driver, I would ask my engineer to ensure that I wouldn’t be out on track behind him for qualifying.

  25. Nomore says:

    Hamilton should help his best friend Fernando to win the race…Nando need this race to win the championship…:)

    1. Kay says:

      Who’s to say Hamilton won’t bag it?

      Plus it isn’t in the drivers’ nature to help, these are brutal selfish bastards that’d do everything they can for their own good, not another driver.

  26. Lawrence says:

    Hamilton for pole. If the Merc gives up its rear tyres LH can deal with that.

    1. glennb says:

      Like he did in Spain…

  27. Eric says:

    Hamilton beat a two times WDC in his rookie season.
    Rosberg got beaten by Webber in his rookie season.

    If Hamilton ends up being beaten by Rosberg, I’ll have to reevaluate my opinion on all of them, especially Alonso and Webber, and even Vettel. It seems Webber is a much faster driver than I thought, and Vettel must be amazingly fast to destroy Webber who destroyed Rosberg in qualification when they were teammates. Definitely something to think about.

  28. Hal says:

    Reading some of the posts on this forum would lead one to believe Rosberg has more points than Hamilton and has out qualified him almost every race.

    1. KRB says:

      Yes, indeed. The same phenomenon is seen whenever radio stations do “Best X Songs of All-Time” lists … invariably they’re overly weighted with more recent songs.

      Seems it’s a particularly human failing (at least for some of us), to not look too far back, and to reach for simplistic conclusions, even from complex datasets. Oh well.

    2. K says:

      Ok, following your “points mean everything” argument; Button beat Hamilton over their 3 seasons together. Button is clearly the better driver, the points say so.

      ;)

      1. Hal says:

        No, see my other reply. Drivers are ranked over the course of a single season not multiple. But that is not the reason why I think Jamilton is better than Button. I think he has driven better overall and in fact in 2012 Hamilton’s points do not quite do justice to his performance (on track – was not too impressed with his twitter antics).

        My simple statement that Hamilton is not doing as badly as people seem to be implying (using points this season so far as a measure to illustrate it).

        Rosberg has performed better than Hamilton in the past two races and past three quali but I think to make sweeping statements about Rosberg being better than Hamilton on the back of that is ridiculous.

        Lets wait and see shall we?

    3. Uh says:

      1. Rosberg had 2 DNFs because of mechanical problems.

      2. Rosberg would have 2 more qualifying wins if not for the bad timing by Merc for him, and perfectly suiting Hamilton.

      3. Rosberg was told to not pass Hamilton, costing him points.

      4. If we go by your theory: Button had more points than Hamilton over 3 seasons so he is clearly the better driver?

      1. Hal says:

        My theory is quite simple – at this point in the game they are tied in quali and Hamilton has more points.

        Your logic about Button being better driver because he got more points over three years is an incorrect extrapolation of my OP. The correct extrapolation is that o
        ver three seasons Hamilton beat Button twice.

        No if’s and butts – just facts that within the bounds of the sport (in F1 there is no aggregation of points over a number of seasons).

        Like today, the facts are Rosberg won and Hamilton got 4th (not if the safety car didn’t hinder Hamilton he would have been second – it meaningless).

  29. Clear View says:

    I wander if Lewis quatifies on 2nd spot will Ross Brawn make them stay in order rather than risk loosing the whole 43 points for the team. It’s gonna be interesting as Nico is not gonna forget Malaysia any time soon and he utter those memorable words, “don’t forget this guys” as he crossed the line in 4th place.
    It’s gonna be good no matter what!

  30. Lindsay says:

    “[Hamilton's] arrival at Mercedes has not phased Rosberg”

    Fazed, surely.

  31. Rich C says:

    I’m looking for a little tactical “blocking” during qualy!

  32. drama queen says:

    I think the biggest thing is who stops first.
    If there is a hint of two stops required then Webber will do two and if he’s not out in front at the start he should stop before Vettel to get the jump as early as possible. He’s very quick here having won it twice before.

  33. Anne says:

    Accident prone practice. Can Massa, Sutil, and Grosjean participate in qualy?

    P.S. I find it silly that Raikkonen was told to cover his James Hunt picture in his helmet.

  34. John Wilson says:

    Well we all know what was going on on the track. We know the mechanics were tinkering with the cars. The real question is what was going on in Bernie’s camper??

  35. Fernando Cruz says:

    What a lost opportunity for Williams! Maldonado had the potential to reach Q3 but something wrong happened. Maybe his team waited too long to put the correct tyres on him in the closing minutes of Q2!? He was a lot faster than Bottas and ended Q2 more than 2 seconds behind Van der Garde!

  36. Mohamad Rizal says:

    Mercedes 1-2 for Mercedes 1-2 for Monaco Gp Qualifying today. But they tends to overheat their tyres during the race. So, if by the first corner they are still 1st and 2nd (Rosberg 1st and Hamilton 2nd presumably); then the team should consider to put Hamilton to stack the other cars. Let Rosberg to become faster by 0.5 seconds per lap at least. Mercedes need to do this if they want to boost their chance in winning this race.r Monaco Gp Qualifying today. But they tends to overheat their tyres during the race. So, if by the first corner they are still 1st and 2nd (Rosberg 1st and Hamilton 2nd presumably); then the team should consider to put Hamilton to stack the other cars. Let Rosberg to become faster by 0.5 seconds per lap at least. Mercedes need to do this if they want to boost their chance in winning this race.

  37. anon says:

    Had to laugh at James’ pointed question at Vettel–implying that he failed and should be disappointed in qualifying third in a car that was third fastest in qualifying trim and will be third or fastest in race trim tomorrow.

    Vettel laughed it off and didn’t take the bait. Said all the right things, didn’t blame the car like others normally do (Alonso, Kimi, Lewis). Showed a lot of grace and class.

  38. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    C’mon Hamilton, can anybody explain why he’s behind Nico if they have the best car of the field in the last 4 qualifies…??!

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