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Nico Rosberg makes it a hat-trick of pole positions in wet-dry Monaco qualifying
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  25 May 2013   |  4:46 pm GMT  |  262 comments

As a boy Nico Rosberg was driven through the Monaco tunnel on his way to school. Today as he clinched his first Monaco pole position and Mercedes’ fourth straight pole of 2013, pipping team mate Lewis Hamilton in Monaco qualifying on a drying track. World champion Sebastian Vettel completed the top three ahead of Mark Webber, with Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Fernando Alonso a surprised and disappointed sixth.

It was a tough day for Ferrari, with team mate Felipe Massa crashing heavily in Free Practice three and taking no part in qualifying.

Tomorrow Rosberg will attempt to become the first son of a Monaco winner to repeat his father’s success.

It started raining thirty minutes before qualifying and in a session that saw the track move from wet to dry, with slick tyres in use from the latter stages of Q2 onwards, it came down to the latest lap possible and an exciting final shoot out between the Mercedes and Red Bull pairings. And after covering the front-row at the half way stage of final qualifying Red Bull could not match the pace of a very much in form Mercedes, Rosberg having topped every practice session throughout the weekend.

Therefore the result came as little surprise – however Vettel’s pace came unexpectedly. The Red Bull looked ordinary on Thursday in practice, and Vettel had been quiet in the build up to qualifying as it looked set to be Ferrari and Lotus as the main challengers to Mercedes. But the triple World Champion was able to put himself in the best possible position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix should Mercedes’ heavy tyre use issues continue here.

It’s the easiest track of the season on tyres and it’s also very hard to overtake, so Mercedes should be able to hold on for the win. But with an 80% chance of safety car here, anything is possible.

Mercedes sources indicated that the two drivers will be allowed to race each other for the win tomorrow, but not at the first corner. Discipline must be observed there.

Fernando Alonso had a difficult session and compounded a forgettable day for Ferrari. He was unable to make the step in pace as dry tyres became favourable over intermediates and he ended the session in sixth place. Massa, did not complete a lap in qualifying following his crash and he will therefore begin the race from the back of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen – Vettel’s closest title challenger – will be satisfied with his starting position of fifth. He has been off the ultimate pace this weekend so to put himself in the mix for some good points tomorrow will please the Finn. Lotus will be looking to make one stop tomorrow, whereas Mercedes may be forced in to an extra tyre change if it is deemed necessary to push the tyres hard race long.

That much depends on whether or not their is a safety car period and if Hamilton will act as a buffer for Rosberg to take his second career win. After a hat-trick of pole positions it is essential that tomorrow brings a good haul of points for the German, and he could become the first son of a racing driver to win the same race as his father – Keke taking the victory here thirty years ago.

Mark Webber made it an all Red Bull second row and also puts himself in contention on a circuit that he has seen much success.

Behind the top six, Sergio Perez got the better of team mate Jenson Button to take seventh position, whilst the Briton will start in ninth place. The McLaren pair sandwich Adrian Sutil in the Force India. The German crashed at Casino Square in final practice and made a good turn around to take eighth position.

Meanwhile Paul Di Resta dropped out of qualifying at the earliest stage having got his timings wrong as the circuit evolved and became more dry.

Closing out the top ten is Jean-Eric Vergne for Toro Rosso having looked very strong in wet conditions. He ended Q1 in second place and would have been hoping for the conditions to remain unchanged.

MONACO GRAND PRIX, Monte Carlo, Qualifying
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.876s
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m13.967s + 0.091s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m13.980s + 0.104s
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m14.181s + 0.305s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m14.822s + 0.946s
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.824s + 0.948s
7. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m15.138s + 1.262s
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m15.383s + 1.507s
9. Jenson Button McLaren 1m15.647s + 1.771s
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m15.703s + 1.827s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m18.331s + 2.343s
12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m18.344s + 2.356s
13. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m18.603s + 2.615s
14. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m19.077s + 3.089s
15. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m19.408s + 3.420s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m21.688s + 5.700s
17. Paul di Resta Force India 1m26.322s + 2.870s
18. Charles Pic Caterham 1m26.633s + 3.181s
19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m26.917s + 3.465s
20. Max Chilton Marussia 1m27.303s + 3.851s
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia
22. Felipe Massa Ferrari

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262 Comments
  1. Welp says:

    The excuses on F1 forums about Rosberg easily matching and indeed, beating Hamilton is getting a bit silly. Rosberg is doing it fair and square.

    If he did not have 2 DNFs through mechanical failures and wasn’t ordered to not overtake Hamilton, he would be leading in the points as well.

    Also shows Schumacher was doing really well too at 43.

    1. Dave C says:

      Completely agree with all that you said there, James can I ask do you think if a train do form behind 1 or both the Mercedes and their tyres fall off the cliff is it then possible to overtake them if they’re 3-4sec slower.

    2. Quade says:

      To Lewis credit, Nico only beat him in sector 1; he did a 19.5, while Nico did a 19.2 and so was already up 3/10ths. However, Nico lost the 3/10ths over the rest of the lap and finished only 9/100ths ahead.

      The first sector where Lewis lost time was damp, while the rest of the track where Nico lost time was dry.

      Nico really acquitted himself well though, his lap was electric to watch, he was practically rubbing the car along every wall at high speed. Thats the sort of thing I’ve come to expect from only Lewis and Kimi in the present crop. Sublime.

    3. Andrew M says:

      I agree Rosberg’s doing very well and better than I expected, but it’s worth remembering that Spain was the first time he beat Hamilton home. Also, he was behind him when he retired both times and he was faster than Lewis in Malaysia due to fuel saving; he wouldn’t be leading the points even if you switch all that around.

      If anything I thought Lewis would be faster and qualifying and Nico would close up in the races, if anything it seems to be the other way around.

    4. olivier says:

      Hats off to Rosberg! He outperformed one of the fastest drivers on the grid in all three free practices AND the actual qualifying. Simply amazing stuff. Especially as Monaco is regarded as a driver’s circuit.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Rosberg’s stock is rising by the race, isn’t it

    5. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      IMO for Hamilton is a case of damage limitation (considering Rosberg would take the win), if he can got P2 at the end of the race it would be wonderful.

      It has little sense for Rosberg to try to build a gap since safety cars are likely. Both Mercedes should better to take care of the tyres and additionally for Hamilton to keep Vettel at bay as much as possible.

    6. Fernando Cruz says:

      Schumacher did better in 2012 than Hamilton could do this year at the same track. It shows he was doing really well at 43 and it shows how more experience within a team can be important. Schumacher and Rosberg joined Mercedes in 2010 while Hamilton is a newcomer to the team and Rosberg is already in his 4th season there…

      1. Anon says:

        Better? remind me how many points he accumulated last year?

      2. Fernando Cruz says:

        He did better at the same track (Monaco), in qualifying. In the championship Rosberg was clearly better than Schumacher but the difference would be smaller if it wasn’t for some bad luck for Michael, mainly in the first half of last season, at a time he often managed to outqualify Rosberg.

      3. Quade says:

        Take note that Lewis forefeited all the free practice sessions to test tyres and a new suspension.

    7. Formula Zero says:

      Nicely said. At pre season I backed Nico over Lewis. Now to add to that admiration & confidence in Rosberg makes me believe that Nico is the closest driver to Alonso on the grid as far as “complete driver” tag goes. Here are the reason,

      1: Rosberg has done great job so far getting the best out of the car from some terrible chasis throughout his career.
      2. He is superb in tyre management, which is of course the biggest talking point now a days.
      3. So far he has beaten all of his team mates fair & square. Dare I say, Rosberg made mockery out of his World Champion team mates.
      4. He does not need number 1 tag to showcase his talent. Nico is always extremely calm & collected as well as very matured with his comments in all interviews about everything.
      5. Most of all, Nico is also as consistent as Fernando.

      I hope Mercedes will make a good enough car to fight for the championship next season. We will see Nico Rosberg win the WDC & dare I say, Lewis will hate that, just like any other driver honestly. No driver likes to be beaten by his team mate. I gotta point out though, Hamilton has been very matured & seem a lot grown up this season about everything. However, I recall reading a comment from Ross Brawn, “the harmony won’t last between the team mates.” I think he meant that sometimes they might have disagreements, but overall Nico & Lewis will make it a great pair.

      1. Dave C says:

        Actually Webber beat Rosberg quite clearly when they were at Williams.

    8. Random 79 says:

      +1

      People believe what they want to believe, but the results speak for themselves.

    9. WSH says:

      +1 Indeed. Considering that Hamilton is “considered” the fastest out there, MSC did a great job against ROS. The gap between MSC and ROS in 2012 Q3 was 0.147, slightly larger than the current gap between ROS and HAM; 0.091.

      Rosberg has shown enough potential, now it is a matter of bagging serious points. Hamilton might suffer the same fate as his former teammate Button, who has been beaten frequently by Perez now. Just 5 points between them.

      1. f1future says:

        I don’t consider Hamilton the fastest out there. For me the fastest in qualifying is Vettel and in the race it is Räikkönen.

    10. Paige says:

      I think what this shows, more than anything, is that F1 there really isn’t much difference among the really quick F1 drivers. Rosberg has gotten on his game and shown his stuff, and he is damned quick. Credit to him. But guys, teammates beat each other a lot. Webber has shown he is more than capable of beating Vettel on his day in qualifying. Massa, the same with Alonso. Vettel and Alonso both simply got to work and beat their teammates over a season. Hamilton seems to know the score and to know that he needs to get on it if he’s going to beat Rosberg, and let’s see what he’s got.

      I’ll also remind everyone that Hakkinen outqualified Senna a few times in the brief time that they were teammates at McLaren. Anyone think that means that Hakkinen was better than Senna? I think not.

      Hamilton has said he’s having setup problems. These things happen. It’s up to him to fix it and get the car to his liking. Let’s see how he reacts.

      1. Yago says:

        Good post!

  2. Andrew M says:

    “Mercedes sources indicated that the two drivers will be allowed to race each other for the win tomorrow, but not at the first corner.”

    So basically, they’re not allowed to race at all.

    1. brendan says:

      yes lewis will block vettel at the start to cover nico.

    2. David says:

      More interesting will be the race between webber and Vettel. Don t expect mark to lift of at the first corner , or anywhere else for that matter!
      David

  3. Quade says:

    What a surprise from Nico! Lewis must be feeling a bit jittery. New boy or not, Nico has really thrown the cards down; at some point, the excuses have to climb out the window.

    Bad day for the home side all round. Di Resta dropped out quite early in qualifying and Jenson sounded bedraggled at the thought of Perez out-qualifying him. I’m wondering if there is something in the air, because Jenson also wasn’t sure he would still be with McLaren when Honda comes in. Strange.

    All said, congrats to Merc on their second front row lock out. Lets hope they have a great day tomorrow.

    1. brendan says:

      surprise? nico has had last 2 poles.
      never rated button,mclaren miss lewis he gave some much to the team.
      all the hype was button will lead the team this season.
      perez is just getting used to the car and being in a big(was big) team. he is on a learning curve.
      grojean has had to many chances.
      Monaco is great cause it shows the best and worse drivers.
      their don’t seem to be any good drivers coming through.
      when webber/alsono/kimi/button get to old who will replace them?

      1. Jimbob says:

        Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, DiResta, Hulkenburg, Perez, Bianchi, Ricciardo? Those lot not any good? For what it’s worth I think Hulkenburg and Grosjean are the best of the younger crop and I know why you say Grosjean has had too many chances but that boy is quite possibly the outright fastest on the grid… He just needs to sort his consistency out.

      2. f1future says:

        Maybe Webber will be too old soon but Alonso is only 31 now and can go in F1 for many years to come. Consider that Schumacher still was the fastest Driver on a real driver’s circuit that is Monaco last year at the Age of 43.

        Anyway, who will replace them one day? I guess Kimi will replace Webber next year at RBR. Kimi himself then will be replaced by Ricciardo one day. Alonso will be replaced by Vettel at Ferrari somewhen, maybe in 2017, maybe already in 2015, depending upon the results Alonso will achieve ’till then. Button will be replaced by Di Resta I think. Bianchi will be the Driver to race beside Vettel at Ferrari. Hülkenberg will replace Ferrari bound Vettel at RBR. Nico and Lewis will be at Mercedes for the Long term and together with Vettel at Ferrari will be the Drivers to dominate F1 for many years to come. McLaren will sink unless they can sign some brilliant Drivers.

    2. Spinodontosaurus says:

      On the subject of Merecedes, does anyone know what the deal with them running the revs so low before downshifting is?
      It is easily audible on Rosberg’s Bahrain pole lap, and indeed several times during the Monaco TV coverage.

      1. Martin says:

        As a guess it probably relates to KERS harvesting strategies. Since the KERS unit is probably attached to the engine, the lower engine revs from staying in a higher gear reduce the braking effect from KERS. This reduces the total charge (integral of the current over a lap) and therefore total heat generated. Since next year the KERS harvesting will double, there is probably enough harvesting potential in the car to make up the 400 kilojoules even a short lap and relatively low speeds. So by delaying the down changes, what Mercedes is probably doing is reducing the cooling demands to improve the aerodynamics.

        I may not be smart enough, but I haven’t been able to think of a braking performance strategy that makes sense.

        Cheers,
        Martin

      2. User0815 says:

        Low revs means low fuel consumption.

      3. Quade says:

        It might be to do with the way the Merc engine delivers torque and how that affects tyre consumption.

    3. W Johnson says:

      I just hope that McLaren don’t replace Button with Takuma Sato when Honda come along!

  4. Val from montreal says:

    FOREVER MICHAEL

    # 1

    1. Sebee says:

      German domination of F1 is amazing. Putting my kids on weinershnitzel diet ASAP.

      1. User0815 says:

        Most of my fellow Germans prefer Italian and Asian food. Go get Noodles, Pizzas and Kebaps and grow yourself a champion, give them a Bratwurst once in a while to keep them grounded, that’s the secret.. no more. ;-)

      2. justafan says:

        If You give them Weißwurst they might win the Championsleague one day.

    2. F1racer says:

      Val must be schumi’s #1 fan here. Regardless, everyone can now see a reference of how well that 43 yr old 7 time world champ did.

      And kudos to Nico, driving with Michael has made him a really tough bloke. If Mercedes get competitive in the race, it would be a nice battle to watch, Nico vs Lewis.

      For the race, hoping Nico does what his dad Keke did 30 years back!

    3. Justin Case says:

      About time engineers got some love………..Sam Michael rocks!!

      Go Roughriders!!

    4. ian says:

      In your dreams , only.

  5. Rach says:

    Fair play to Nico. Great job!

    Interestingly does that mean that Schumacher is the fastest out there!! ;-)

    1. Dave C says:

      No Schumacher wasn’t the fastest out there last year but he was the fastest between 1995-2004, age slowed him down, but on some tracks like Monaco, Spa and Suzuka his memory of how to drive those places was still there and he bossed Nico even as a 43yr old, right now Vettel, Kimi, Webber and maybe Hulkenberg are faster on 1 lap than Rosberg.

      1. Manu says:

        Love how you say Hulkenberg when he can’t even get into Q3. Just saying.

      2. justafan says:

        You know he got pole in Brazil 2010 in one of the slower cars.

      1. David C says:

        Yes!

    2. Hal says:

      What makes you think he hasn’t? Nico seems to think he has.

  6. Mitchel says:

    The astrological top ten:

    1. Cancer
    2. Capricorn
    3. Cancer
    4. Virgo
    5. Libra
    6. Leo
    7. Aquarius
    8. Capricorn
    9. Capricorn
    10. Taurus

    1. Sebee says:

      Scorpios all busy on the boats.

      1. James Allen says:

        And in commentary box! I’m a Scorpio

    2. Doohan says:

      How often has a Taurus starting inside the top 10 won???

      1. Mitchel says:

        Twice:

        Jean Pierre Beltoise, 1972, 4th on the grid
        René Dreyfus, 1930, 10th on the grid

    3. Lindsay says:

      Uhh…?

    4. Tim says:

      Inspired by your astrological top ten, I have been doing a little research of my own.
      Behold, the top ten by team colour:
      1. Silver
      2. Silver
      3. Blue
      4. Blue
      5. Black
      6. Red
      7. Silver
      8. Orange *
      9. Silver
      10. Blue

      * For ease of reference I have used the colour I liked best from each teams livery.
      After tireless hours of analysis I have reached my conclusion. To stand the best chance of qualifying in the top ten at Monaco, the car should be silver. Who knows, had Vettels car not been blue, he may have sneaked second place on the grid. :-)

  7. Quade says:

    I wonder how accurately F1 clocks can measure. 0.091s can’t have been more than a matchsticks width between both Mercs.

    1. Antti says:

      How about the 0.002s between Kimi and Fernando? ;)

    2. Klemens says:

      Hi, as my daughter is training for her next math exam at the moment, I gave her this case as exercise. You’ll be suprised (I was at least) that a F1 car travells 6.25m in 0.09s at 250km/h.

      1. Pete_from_Nepal says:

        Thanks Klemens (or more rightly, thanks to your daughter!)

      2. Tom in adelaide says:

        Great info, thanks!

        I’ve always wanted someone to prepare a graphic representation of qualy times (e.g Nico’s car sown on the finish line and all the other cars in their relative places on the track).

      3. Quade says:

        @Klemens
        Nice! There’s a small error in the math, though. Its not 6.6 meters approx, but 6.6 millimeters (or a quarter of an inch approx).

      4. Quade says:

        Ha! My error! :)

    3. BlueRacer says:

      Their speed at the start/finish line was probably around 260km/h (see http://www.formula1.com/races/in_detail/monaco_898/circuit_diagram.html)

      260km/h is about 72 m/s, so 0.091s translates into 6.5 meters.. quite a lot of matchsticks :)

      However, indeed F1 clocks must be really accurate as sometimes even a single millisecond can make a difference between the pole time and the second best.

      1. Simmo says:

        Well, there were only two milliseconds (0.002) between Kimi and Alonso!!

    4. radohc says:

      if driving around 180km/h, the 0.091 s means around 5 meters thick matchstick

    5. Chops says:

      Not exactly. I can’t be bothered to look up the speeds they are doing over the start-finish line, but it is in the order of 180-240 km/h. At 180 km/h, 0.091 s = gap of 4.55 m, at 240 km/h it is 6.06 m.

    6. Mike says:

      Well, average speed is 160 km/h… 44 meters/second, so 4 meters. I dont know about your matchsticks but that is 4 meters and in a race of 78 laps about 315 meters. So significant… Turned around 315 meters is 7 seconds

    7. Multi 21 says:

      0.091 is a relative light year compared to the 0.002 that separates Raikkonen from Alonso.

    8. Weeraz says:

      Pretty tight margins! But at (conservatively) 200km/h, 0.091s is about…5 meters!

    9. Lindsay says:

      It’s quite easy to calculate you know. They’re doing about 260 km/h at the timing marker, and at that speed they travel ~6.6 m in 0.091 s.

    10. Geenimetsuri says:

      You can actually calculate these easily with Google’s normal search.

      Just type ’0.091 s * 260 km/h’ (without the ‘s) in the search and it’ll give you the result.

      If you want, you can even convert the unit ’0.091 s * 260 km/h in inches’.

  8. Danny Almonte says:

    Mercedes finally have two top tier drivers. If they have an answer for the tire issue they might get the win.

    1. Raj says:

      And what did they have last year – one driver who comprehensively out-qualified today’s pole sitter?

    2. Dave P says:

      Hamilton owes Nico and knows it, if he acts as a slow buffer it will be impossible for Nico not to win…

    3. Timmay says:

      What?

      Apart from some dumb accidents – Schumacher was better and faster than Rosberg in 2012…..

      1. User0815 says:

        ..and technical issues.

  9. Mohamad Rizal says:

    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.

    1. Sammy says:

      Remember Malaysia?
      Payback time I would say – Lewis to hold up the pack and Nico to the win.

      Interesting race with vet-web-rai-alo all very close.

    2. Curly Jefferson says:

      That may happen naturally if HAM is using his rubber up faster than ROS. If the two Mercedes can hold their positions at the start ROS could very well build a buffer without team instructions.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        That’s a good point. Key point of the race is the first corner. Rosberg could have 10/15 second gap by the first round of pit-stops.

  10. [MISTER] says:

    I don’t think RedBull’s pace was unexpected.
    Monaco is a high downforce circuit, therefore aero plays its part and RedBull have good aero.

    Also, so far this year, we had the following qualy results:

    Australia: RBR 1st & 2nd
    Malaysia: RBR 1st & 5th
    China: 9th as Vettel choose not to run in Q3
    Bahrain: RBR 2nd & 5th
    Spain: RBR 3rd & 8th

    Vettel always had the edge on Webber and you can see they were always there and ahead of Ferrari and Lotus most of the time.

    Due to the nature of Monaco, I guess the race pace and tyre wear will not play such a high role, but strategy will, as pitting and coming back into slow traffic will be suicide.

    Could be a Mercedes win tomorrow! Let’s hope for a incident free start tomorrow.

    1. Mark V says:

      Technically Monaco is a low downforce circuit. Low speed = Low downforce. I think you meant high wing setup to maximize downforce. Because of the lack of high speed corners that generate downforce, mechanical grip is more important at Monaco.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        Exactly Mark. Thank you! :)

    2. Formula Zero says:

      First of all, good comment.

      Red Bull’s pace is never unexpected at any point. Vettel gets the best out of his package for sure. However, this Monaco grid slot was surprising based on the performance in FP. So, i guess they saved the best for last.

      As far how many times the cars are going to stop is hard to say. One thing for sure, I bet none of the top cars will stop less than twice on a dry race.

      The first corner will be the best action of the race for sure. Watch out for Alonso, Vettel, Webber & Rakkineon scramble for the lead. I won’t be surprised at all if there was a safety car after the first corner.

      Finally, Mercedes will find it impossible to win because of the pace of the others in the out lap. Plus i don’t see Lewis not trying to overtake Nico.

      All in all, we are up for a thriller.

      PS: Perez over Button.

  11. Rui Queirós says:

    Can´t wait for tomorow.

    I think the race pace will be very similar between the first six guys.

    anyone who can make just one stop, will win the grand prix.

    I´m not seeing the undercut work these time.

    This will be a very open Grand Prix

  12. Candice says:

    Another bad qualy from Fernando.

    1. Michael S says:

      agreed… qualy has never been his best skill in F1…

      1. puffing says:

        Q1 position
        =
        car & car set up (to the pole/to the race?)
        +/-
        track characteristics (speed corners/downforce?)
        +/-
        tyres & weather conditions (widow temperature)
        +/-
        driver.

        Driver is but a part of the equation.

    2. brendan says:

      Alonso did his best,the car was all over the place,couldnt get the power down.like driving a wild bull.

    3. brendan says:

      Ferrari don’t do well at Monaco (not including Schumacher)maybe they still have a long wheel base.

      1. f1future says:

        Yes, but Schumacher had more qualifying pace than Fernando. Alonso is closer to Michael in racecraft, though.

    4. Richard says:

      Saturdays don’t divide the points, do they?

    5. Iwan says:

      Haven’t had the car to seriously challenge for poll since joining Ferrari (or race wins and yet have come close to WDC twice) so difficult to say where he slots in in terms of raw 1 lap pace.

      But with the cooler quali track temperatures it doesn’t surprise that Lotus and Ferrari battled to get the best out of the tyres.

  13. Chromatic says:

    A fair few rookies, AND Grosjean.

    Here’s hoping this will not be a race of SCs interrupted by racing periods

    1. [MISTER] says:

      LOL

      You Sir, are funny! :D

    2. Curly Jefferson says:

      Poor Grosjean, still seen as a hazard. But I agree. Add in the fact that Massa is starting from the back and will have to force some moves. Then there is Maldonado…

      I think SCs is a given

  14. Sven says:

    And Nico Rosberg does it again. Great job, though he still made a few mistakes on his lap. But everyone did, so it’s okay, I guess.

    Alonso – the most disappointing performance, though.

    1. Justin Case says:

      Why was Alonso’s performance ‘the most dissapointing’?

      1. f1future says:

        Alonso was Almost a second off the pole time, despite driving one of the fastest cars.

    2. KRB says:

      Nico’s lap didn’t have any mistakes. Vettel had two mistakes, which probably accounted for the tenth.

      The Merc’s both could’ve done another hot lap at the end, but maybe they didn’t have enough fuel, wanted to save the tires, who knows.

  15. Daniel vega says:

    I remeber a cleverky deployed safety-car in ’08 in Singapore. With Massa at P-Pluto Ferrari have nothing to lose.

    1. Sebee says:

      Really?!?!

  16. Warren says:

    Nice job, Nico. Good to see him in the spotlight again. Lewis was not bad, either.

    But it’s Vettel who surprised me. Didn’t expect him to be so aggressive on this track. Monaco is usually Webber’s turf.

    Kimi was okay.

    Alonso’s performance was meh, though.

    Looking forward to the race.

    1. Dave C says:

      How is it Webber’s track, last year Webber was holding the field up and in quali Vettel didn’t bother with Q3, in 2011 Vettel clearly had the advantage, in 2010 Vettel raced with a cracked chassis at Barcelona and Monaco so its void, and in 2009 Vettel qualified ahead of Webber.

    2. Yago says:

      Two thousands between Kimi and Fernando. Kimi and his Lotus outqualifying Alonso in two of the last three races. Grosjean beeing the overal faster driver of the Lotus pair, not Kimi, Fernando being the overal faster driver of the Ferrari pair (Massa actually did end behind Alonso every single time they went out on track during practice). Then you see in free practice 3 that the Ferrari was having serious troubles in low temperature conditions. Then comes quali and Q3 is done on a damp track.

      Having all this into account, for you and others Kimi’s performance was good and Alonso’s bad, having both done the same time. That tells a lot about the disproportionate expectations around everything surrounding Alonso, and about the difficulty of extrapolating driver’s performance from car’s performance.

      For me it is clear that in Monaco, under those conditions, Kimi should have been a few tenths faster than Alonso (actually Grosjean had the peace to be those tenths quicker), Vettel should have taken pole with the Red Bull, Button should have been at least on par with Perez and not half a second behind, etc.

      But no, it is Alonso who did a poor quali… as ever… Remember than a driver is nothing more than the car he drives!

      1. Candice says:

        who told you romain is the faster driver??? Kimi was 2nd overall fastest in Q2 while Romain was nowhere.

        BS as always.

      2. Cakes says:

        LOL

      3. Martin says:

        I agree with your general point re Kimi and Fernando. Just on Sebastian, though, what we know is that he feels he could have beaten Nico’s time. We only know that Nico did enough, not that he optimised his lap. Set ups vary, but as another commentator noted in trying to defend Lewis, Nico made 3 tenths on Lewis in the first sector but was less than one tenth ahead at the end of the lap.

        Also re Kimi and Romain, you could look at Vettel and Webber, with the cream only doing the time when it was necessary. It is plausible with Kimi based on this year’s form, but I suspect you are right.

      4. Yago says:

        Well, that is a good point. Comparing Nico’s and Lewis’s laps sector by sector, it could well be that the Mercedes drivers did not optimise their laps neither. However at the time I had the feeling that the Red Bull whas perfectly a match for the Mercedes under those conditions. But I gess we will never know!

  17. Chromatic says:

    HAM won’t like his team mate beating him. It’s why he left McLaren.

    1. brendan says:

      that’s is so funny,when did button beat lewis in the dry?

      1. f1future says:

        What he means is he beat him in Points.

      2. Dave C says:

        Quite a few times in the race e.g.Australia 2012
        In qualifying the stats are 4/1 in Hamiltons favour a sometimes Button do qualify ahead even though he is slow as hell.

    2. ian says:

      In what world do you live ?
      Really !!

    3. Simmo says:

      No it’s not why he left McLaren. He was comfortably beating Button for the entire of 2012 (bar the odd race of course).

      He left because they were not giving him a championship.

      1. Chromatic says:

        for what it’s worth, Simmo, my feeling is he made a provisional decision to leave toward the end of 2011, when he was indisputably the No 2 driver at McL. The way things went 2012 gave him no reason to change his mind. Old topic, maybe, but it keeps on rearing it’s head……

    4. Random 79 says:

      I think Button beating him on points overall was probably the least of the reasons why Hamilton left McLaren, but you’re right, being beaten repeatedly by Rosberg will be irking him a bit…

    5. Ross says:

      The fact button that Lewis outperformed Button comprehensively at McLaren, and if the car was more reliable he would have won the world championship last year.

      Button in Monaco is in 9th place, and Perez has outqualified him on multiple occasions should put your theory on why he left McLaren to rest.

    6. Lindsay says:

      Is it?

    7. Tim says:

      @Chromatic
      HAM won’t like his team mate beating him. It’s why he left McLaren….

      The first part of your comment is correct, albeit a little bit obvious. The second part of your comment is simply wrong and presumably is intended to goad LH fans.
      Try a bit of research next time. Here is a link to the analysis James did on the JB/LH pairing :
      http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/hamilton-and-buttons-head-to-head-record-at-mclaren/

  18. trullili says:

    Three pole positions in a row, something Hamilton in 6 years in a McLaren couldnt do. Just goes to show how good he had it with Kovalainen and Button as his teammates. It took Button over three years to get another pole after his last one with Brawn in Monaco 2009. Rosberg is a different caliber on saturdays, he puts the car consistently where it belongs. If this trend continues, alot of inconvenient questions will pop up at MercGP soon !
    As for the race tomorrow, we could still be looking at a Alonso vs Raikkonen showdown should Ferrari and Lotus be able to do one stop less. Vettel also is well positioned should the tire wear on the Red Bull be significantly less than on the Merc. If Hulk and Ricciardo start the race on the prime for a very long first stint they could also play a important part in the outcome. Last but not least, Grosjean is at it again, will be interesting who he is aiming for this time.

  19. Chris says:

    Congrats to Mercedes again, if there was a trophy and championship for qualifying they’d be over the hill and far away. It’d be nice to see them pick up some actual trophies tomorrow and solid points tomorrow.

    Well done to Perez, excellent driving, where JB’s performances need to improve (it’s bad enough defending him from people who love having a pop at him), but right now he is feeling a little bit to sorry for himself, and it has to be said there is more there than he is showing right now though :(

    Looks like Red Bull have found something (maybe they’ve changed a few things knowing the tyres are about to change, and at Monaco they can get away with it), interesting day tomorrow!!

    1. Quade says:

      During the week, he hinted he might not be at McLaren when Honda come in. I wonder what that was about. Sam Michael also added that they are now only hoping he will be with them then too.
      I don’t think Perez has shown that much talent to begin upseting things. Maybe there are tough clauses in his contract or other distractions.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        I think Jenson is probably keeping his salary expectations open. If he sticks with his original line of ‘I want to stay here til I retire’ he has no chance of negotiating a better contract – like Lewis who seemed set to be a mclaren driver for life. I think Button has seen Webber and Schumacher and realised he doesn’t have to retire at 36 – he’s probably thinking of a few extra years and possibly seats at other teams. Webber obviously got his Ferrari offer and Jenson is friends with him and Alonso so maybe he’s hoping to end his career in red a few years later than planned?

    2. Chris George says:

      I wouldn’t feel too badly about Jenson
      Faster in every session then his fuel pump broke
      I’d say he had the measure of Perez this weekend regardless of grid position
      I’m just glad that McLaren is looking a little bit better this week (I’m going to Canada so maybe that’s wishful thinking!)

  20. goferet says:

    My word!!!

    It appears like F1 has had a power shift with Mercedes becoming the new Red Bull >>> 4 back to back poles >>> WOW!!!

    Well done to the team and especially Rosberg, thankfully for the team, it dried up at just the right moment for I believe we were about to see a major upset with a midfield team on pole.

    Lewis too did well to plant it on the front row (despite being in the lion’s den) ahead of Vettel who seemed pretty disappointed in himself.

    Likewise effort by Kimi for his P5 for taking into account their race pace, he sure looks comfortable indeed.

    Other great performances were Perez, Sutil, Vergne, Hulkenberg, Van der Garde and lastly Chilton.

    Yes with Chilton having finally got one over his teammate Bianchi, this means Webber is the only pilot on the grid not to have finished ahead of his teammate in either qualifying or the race so far.

    Anyway looks like it will be a fantastic strategic race for unlike last year, not everybody can make it home on a one stop so bring it on.

    P.s.

    Shame 2013 wasn’t a leap year. If it was, the 25th of May would have fallen on a sunday just like 2008 = both would have been wet races.

    *Fun fact*

    Lewis hasn’t been able to convert his last 4 pole positions stretching back to Singapore 2012 whereas Rosberg hasn’t been able to convert his last 2 poles

    1. Dave C says:

      Chilton got 1 over Bianchi?? That was a joke right?

    2. Sebee says:

      Lewis is about to help Nico convert his 3rd.

    3. Andrew says:

      You can hardly give credit to Chilton for that.

    4. RodgerT says:

      Chiton didn’t really get one over on his teammate. Bianchi engine went poof in his out lap in Q1.

    5. Doohan says:

      You do realize Bianchi didn’t set a lap
      So it’s result by default.
      We as fans I think we’re robbed by his car issues and I definitely expect he would’ve placed above the caterham.

    6. Lindsay says:

      They’ll have to convert some of those poles in to wins before they can seriously be considered to be “the new Red Bull”.

    7. David C says:

      Merc have a long way to go to be the new redbull …… 3 wcc and 3 wdc!

    8. “It appears like F1 has had a power shift with Mercedes becoming the new Red Bull >>> 4 back to back poles >>> WOW!!!”

      Except Red Bull usually go on to win the race when they start on pole.

  21. KRB says:

    Congrats to Nico, it was a very exciting qualifying session, probably the best of the year so far.

    He’s now done something that Hamilton hasn’t managed, which is to win three consecutive poles.

    Great quali pace from Red Bull as well, that was a little surprising.

    Hopefully the grip from 2nd is not so bad for Hamilton, such that he can hold off Vettel, and slot into 2nd for the run up the hill. It’s also good for the start that Grosjean and Maldonado are a ways back. Hopefully everyone’s smart tomorrow, and nothing like what happened in the GP2 race happens. That was ridiculous (YouTube it)!

    I guess most would expect Alonso to jump Webber tomorrow at the start.

    If they can ensure the 1-2 (they have to keep Vettel behind at all costs), then Hamilton should take one for the team, and back up the field for Rosberg. It will be an investment for the future. If the tires are not so bad for Merc, then goal #1 has to be bringing in their best-ever haul of points (currently 27 from Malaysia).

    Doesn’t look good for Williams to avoid their worst-ever start to a season (though, on that, they must only be considering seasons where they’ve run two cars). Maybe Pastor can do something, and get into the points. Would be a monster job if he did.

    1. KRB says:

      Here’s that GP2 start video, and one of the closest-ever finishes I can recall.

      Insanity during the start of the GP2 race:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht-bfjcKJME&sns=em

      Crazy 4-wide finish in Indy Lights:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp1klmtsWQA&sns=em

      1. Andrew M says:

        I guess not many people will be making the step up from GP2 this year…

    2. Simmo says:

      Just watched the GP2 video, and all I can say is that it is nearly as bad as an F1 game start at Monaco!!

      On a serious note, Maldonado will either do well, or crash. In 2011 he was in 6th when Hamilton crashed into him, but in 2012 he made a complete mess of it!

      I hope he brings home some good points though!

  22. quattro says:

    Qualy probably went as expeced, especially considering the cold conditions. Mercedes & RB, who warm their tyres fast, are on the two front rows, while Renault & Ferrari who are “kinder” on the tyres, failed to get them up in temperature fast enough and are behind.

    Could also be that BOTH Renualt and Ferrari have set up their cars for one stoppers, while Merc & RB are set up for two stoppers.

    It will be close and probably impossible to point out a single favorite. Multi-12(21) will be a clear favorite though if he manages jumping the two Mercs at the start.

    1. Dylan says:

      Dude whose Renault? If you mean Lotus, then thats Enstone, which has been called various things over their lifetime, like Benetton etc.
      Renault these days IS Red Bull, as they are the works team. #getyourfactsstraight

      1. Elie says:

        lol no RBR are Infinity now arent they :)

      2. quattro says:

        I hope you feel more important now after laying out the facts so nicely..

    2. shankar says:

      its 2013
      its lotus not renault ;)

      1. quattro says:

        Thx for the correction. Time goes fast when you have fun, doesn’t it.

  23. Irish con says:

    Massa to do an alonso and pit on the end of the first lap for softs? Is it possible to do 77 laps on 2 sets of soft tyres? If there is a safety car I definitely expect massa in on the first lap.

    1. Robert Gunning says:

      Even if there is no safety car, I would still expect him in on the first lap. He may as well pit, run fast in clean air and jump the slower cars. There would be no point in him trying to fight his way through the field.

    2. yugin says:

      The teams are talking about doing 50 laps on 1 set of softs, so 77 on 2 is not only possible but the driver will be able to push pretty hard.

    3. yugin says:

      The teams were talking about doing 50 laps on 1 set of softs, so 77 laps on 2 is not only possible, it’ll allow the driver to push pretty hard.

  24. Aj says:

    I think its safe to say that the pecking order of fastest driver in F1 has changed. IMO Its Vettel > Rosberg > Hamilton then the rest !!

    1. [MISTER] says:

      What?
      Rosberg gets pole for the past 3 races and Vettel is the fastest in your opinion? How did you get to that result?!

      1. f1future says:

        Probably because Vettel owns 38 poles, the most of the Drivers on the current grid. Only Schumacher and Senna own more poles than Vettel.

      2. MISTER says:

        Maybe you should take into account what machinery each is driving, as arguably F1 today is 75% car and 25% driver.

    2. Dave C says:

      Erm I agree with your assessment there but maybe Hulkenberg, Webber and Bianchi might just also slot in there somewhere behind Vettel.

    3. ian says:

      Each to their own.

    4. Sven says:

      Agreed.

    5. madmax says:

      Vettel has only ever had Webber in the same car to test him.

      Hamilton in his rookie year looked good against Alonso and has out qualified Button 44-14 in there 3 years together so between him and Vettel, Hamilton’s speed is probably more proven.

      My point is who says Vettel is faster than Hamilton or Rosberg.

    6. Elie says:

      No it’s safe to say Merc-Red bull- Ferrari remember its car +driver

    7. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Over one lap I feel the order would be, if all in the exact same car:

      1: Vet, 2: Alo, 3: Gro, 4: Ros, 5: Web, 6: Rai, 7: Ham, 8: Mas

      Over a full race distance, the order would be in the exact same car:

      1: Vet, 2: Alo, 3: Rai, 4: Ham, 5: Web, 6: Per, 7: But, 8: Mas

      The only two consistently fastest everywhere, on every track, in every condition, in either quali or race, in any team, against all their team mates is Vettel and Alonso. Alonso’s 2007 will be cited, but we all know that was hardly a year that was clear cut. Alonso was handicapped.

      Disclaimer: I really do not like Alonso or Vettel, but this is how I see it. They are, by far, the best. The Schumacher and Hakkinen of this era.

  25. Nick says:

    Seeing how Rosberg Vs Hamilton is shaping out it makes you wonder what a great job Schumacher was doing last year in between crashing

    1. ian says:

      Great job “in between crashing”
      Says it all.
      A great does not crash like Schumacher does-or did.

    2. Matthew Pitt says:

      A little re-evaluation of the Schumacher was too old an slow narrative that the media wanted to tell those 3 seasons needs to happen.

      That said, Nico Rosberg is surprising me – great job!

  26. Steamie says:

    Well im very happy to see Nico once again takes poll for the third straight time. If anything this shows that Nico is fast enough to take it to his team mate and do well in a single lap with his car to take poll. Apparently hamilton has been having some problems with his car but i dont think that at any point Hamilton will have Nico “in his pocket” really. Only Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, and Alonso, more relevant than him at this point…If only he had a reliable car that could do well in races, This mercedes driver partnership could get many race wins.

  27. Antti says:

    I think we will see a nice battle between Kimi and Fernando tomorrow. Grosjean must be disappointed, but I have a feeling his speed this weekend has, at least partly, been due to him pushing way too hard, leading to the two crashes he has had so far. Fast laps count for nothing, if you won’t be able to finish the race driving like that.

  28. Rob01 says:

    Lewis Hamilton the Monaco specialist never took a pole position in Monaco. But the british press insists he is a Monaco specialist so it must be true i guess.

    Lewis Hamilton the qualifying specialist never took 3 consecutive pole positions in his entire F1 career driving for a top team year in year out. His underhyped teammate is given a top car for like 4 months and is doing things with it Lewis could only dream about. Who is the qualifying specialist now ?

    Rosberg is no Button, as Hamilton is lerning the hard way.
    Its time for the british press to stop the hype and come clean for once. In hindsight its good Hamilton spared himself the humilation of going to Red Bull only to get destroyed by Vettel.

    1. Val from montreal says:

      You are 100% right sir !

      People and the press went ga-ga over Hamilton just because he was faster than Alonso in 2007 ..

      So what … What does that prove ? Nothing !

      1. nick says:

        So what … What does that prove ? Nothing !

        Are you sure about this?? a rookie takes on and matches and beats a double world champion and that means nothing!!

      2. Aj says:

        It’s not just that. I actually think that his showing against Alonso is really impressive, Alonso is no slouch. But its against Kov and especially Button that lead to this fastest/one of the fastest perception

    2. Aj says:

      I really could not have put it better myself. I love Hamilton but the truth will always come out. The Mercedes is so much faster than the rest but Vettel still came within touching distance of Hamilton. If they were in the same team I feel he would do the same as he’s doing to Webber right now. We can’t base everything on Hamiltons effort on Top Gear as being better than Vettel, for all we know Seb might go again and eat him by a second. Would love to see Vet and Ros in the same team.

      1. Martin says:

        The Top Gear Liana times could easily be stuffed around by tyres. The series is 11 years old now, and it would not be wise to use new 11 year old tyres even if the BBC had the foresight to buy lots of spares. Road tyres improve a lot, so it is quite possible Lewis had different tyres to what many of the preceding drivers had. The driving characteristics required to drive a Liana are quite different to an F1 car. There are differences between say the up to 2008 cars and the current ones, ignoring tyres, that allow some drivers to be more effective than others.

        To me Hamilton idolises Senna and whats to be like him, but he actually drives more like Mansell does. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that as Senna was hardly perfect (but still and excellent F1 driver)

    3. brendan says:

      nico has been in the car for years,its like a 2nd home to him.
      lewis is doing a great job.
      lewis beat vettels time on top gear by over one second with the same car.(stig said he was amazing)
      Alonso even said lewis is better than vettel.
      lewis is the best f1 driver today,he would of won in the redbull easy.
      not calling vettel he is very good.
      don’t you remember lewis as a rookie beating Alonso in his 1st season?
      enjoy lewis while he is around, it will be along time before you see a British driver who is so good.

      1. f1future says:

        Alonso saying Hamilton is better than Vettel is part of his political manoeuvering. He’s a bit like Prost in that regard.

    4. ian says:

      That we will never know.
      Both are truly great qualifying drivers.
      Vettel has improved enormously and (with big lump in throat) is better than Hamilton.
      Would love to see them in the same team.
      Will never happen , though.

    5. Surya Kumar says:

      HI Rob,
      This is JA on F1 and not Planetf1. Give it a break.it is not that Nico qualified on pole and Hamilton way down in 15th. The guys are separated by 0.096 seconds which is really good for a driver 5races old with a new car and team. Of course Hammy has not had a Hat trick of poles in his entire career, however he has something called as WDC to his name and did not take 100 plus races to get his first win. Almost won the WDC in his Rookie year against the Best driver on the Grid. So the press is not exaggerating when talking about Hammy.

      1. f1future says:

        The Point is however that if he would be less error prone he actually would have taken the title in his rookie season.

    6. DamonX says:

      I partially agree. It seems Hamilton is no Qualifying king everyone made him to be, but I think he is still reasonably fast, at least a bit faster than Alonso is in Qualifying. But the question now is, how fast is Alonso in Qualifying? Remember, Rosberg was matched by a 43-year-old Schumi who was well past his prime and Rosberg was also beaten by Webber when they were teammates 6:12 in Qualifying. Granted, he was a rookie back then, but so was Hamilton and Alonso couldn’t beat him. I think Hamilton’s reputation in Qualifying is very flattered by Alonso’s rather average performance when it comes to Qualifying compared to his performance on the race day. So yes, Vettel would have likely beaten Hamilton if they were teammates.

    7. KRB says:

      Umm, you do realize we’re talking about 9-hundredths of a second? Kudo’s to Nico.

      Let’s see how it goes over the entire year. Right now, they’re 3-3 in qualifying.

      Did anyone get as frothy in the mouth after Webber beat Vettel 3x in qualifying from AUS-CHN last year? Or when Massa had bested Alonso 4x in a row earlier this year (stretching back to last year)? No, b/c we all knew that it was likely a good stretch of form of those drivers. Rosberg is in a purple patch at the moment, he’s really on it. But let’s see how it goes over the season.

      While Rosberg might’ve been underhyped by the media (I think he just didn’t elicit any emotion, either way, from outside observers), he obviously wasn’t by those in the know, in the paddock, seeing as he’s getting paid 1m euros more than Webber, and just 1m euros less than Vettel.

      1. Hal says:

        Agree. Hamilton has a very loyal fan base but also a very vocal anti-Hamilron brigade who just love any opportunity to put him down.
        Hamilton says he is not completely at ease with the car yet. Again the detractors will see that as an excuse while the fans will believe him.
        There is no doubt Nico is fast and Hamilton needs to be at his best to beat him and I think it will come.
        Agree some of the comments here are better suited to some lesser sites.

      2. Martin says:

        There were lots of people who don’t like Alonso, or don’t agree with the team manager and journalist votes that put him as number 1 last year chiming in with the 4 in a row to Massa comments. It is the same with Hamilton. Looking at the part of the story that suits them. It is entertainment. We entertain ourselves commenting on their comments however weak their logic is.

    8. Timmay says:

      +1 +1 +1

      These are facts.

    9. I will says:

      You seems to have personal problem with Lewis. Given that he is new to the team and still adapting, he is doing well. But your comment is very unfair.

    10. Ross says:

      Hamilton has been in the car for just on 5 races now. And qualifying specialist? Rosberg has 3 in a row, but Hamilton also has 3. And Hamilton has outperformed Rosberg in the races too.

      Hamilton and Alonso are the best drives on the grid, their one lap speed and race craft are phenomenal.

    11. Elie says:

      you people have serious issues. Hamilton only just joined the team and is almost at par with his team mate whos been at the team for how many years ??. Also he was a only a few tenths off in a car he has not been comfortable with all weekend..Lets not write him off just will we..I wonder what you clowns will be saying when he starts beating Nico consistently toward the end of the season..where will be your schumachers and where will be your rosbergs..

    12. Andrew M says:

      The F1 pecking order has really been clarified by these last 3 qualifying sessions. It’s now clearly:

      Alonso < Hamilton < Rosberg < Webber < Vettel < di Resta

      1. justafan says:

        Why Diresta?

    13. Chris says:

      I thought you were onto something, then I looked at the championship standings???? I’m not going to bother to compare their career statistics, maybe you can do that, Rssberg must be the winner there surely???

      OK, im being a little bit difficult, point is, there both great drivers, pushing each other hard!!

  29. Dave C says:

    Well even pushing over the edge Vettel was still over 2 tenths faster than Webber and a tenth slower than the faster Mercedes, that boy sure has some fundamental speed, and its worrying how Nico seems to be just plain faster than Hamilton on pace, what happened to the ‘fastest’ driver in F1? James can I ask did the top 3 press conference you conducted show on Hamilton’s face the seriousness of the situation or is he just happy to keep blaming other things apart from his lack of pace?

    1. Rach says:

      He is adjusting to a new car. What I have read today is that it is to do with confidence under braking. Now if you know anything about Hamilton you will know that his braking ability is known to be probably the best. Therefore a change of car, combined with new brakes is obviously taking him time to adjust.

      It reminds me slightly of Alonso in 07 who took time to adjust to the Bridgestones having originally been on Michelins. Hamilton will sort it out as he beds in with a new team. Form is temporary class is permanent.

      1. Ryan Eckford says:

        Exactly! Hamilton can still win the Monaco Grand Prix. Who knows?

    2. Andrew says:

      It’s only 0.09 of a second. Wait till the end of the season will you. It’s always been obvious that Rosberg is very fast.

    3. brendan says:

      lack of pace? no lack of pace, nico is fast,lewis is doing well in a new car.
      what is it with everyone on here calling lewis.
      he has only raced the car 5 times,and a few test days.nico has been round Monaco loads of times in his car.
      lewis did well considering he lost so much time to nico in sector 1.lewis was faster in 2 and 3. look at the split times.
      lewis should of got pole.
      sector one is the easiest sector just 3 bends,so he must of made a mistake.nico did in sector 2 and 3.
      its hard to get the perfect lap at Monaco.
      I bet nico is glad lewis is next to him,if vettel was he would be knacked for the win.

    4. Justin Case says:

      Theres always the tyre excuse…….new team……..Norbert Haug continues to advise Lewis on suspension settings……..For Monaco, P Diddy designed a special high downforce front wing for Lewis……..and hes using it!!!!!!

    5. KRB says:

      Fundamental speed involves not making mistakes, which toss away the speed of the car. Vettel knows that, that’s why he put his hand up and said he was solely to blame for not taking pole today.

      1. brendan says:

        reason why vettel didn’t take pole was because nico was faster ha

    6. Scuderia McLaren says:

      +1

  30. Peter says:

    This is a serious question.

    Why doesn’t Lewis Hamilton wear a baseball cap any more?

    1. Quade says:

      Cos he’s no longer a McLaren driver. Its for advertising their sponsors, not fashion. The base ball caps are now on Perez’s head.

    2. Justin Case says:

      Probably his missus had something to do with that…….

    3. Dave C says:

      Oh yeah I just noticed that haha.

    4. Stone the crows says:

      Probably because he doesn’t have to (the team doesn’t require it).

    5. anon says:

      That’s why he moved from McLaren. So he could have a poodle in his motor home, get his arms inked and not wear his cap if he doesn’t feel like it.

    6. Simple says:

      So we can all see how ridiculous his hair cut is?

    7. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Because he’s not allowed to wear it backwards. lol.

    8. Aj says:

      He’s trying to save weight to give him the advantage to beat Rosberg

  31. Geoff Norman says:

    Can’t believe that Damon Hill didn’t follow Graham in winning the same Grand Prix.

    1. Dave P says:

      Hw would have bar that he had a mechinical failure…

    2. Dave C says:

      He would have done in 1996 if his Renault engine didn’t blow up, he was leading comfortably as well, I was his huge fan as a kid and I cried for a day coz of it.

    3. Remco says:

      He had his chance in 1996, but the only blown Renault for Williams that year happened to be at Monaco while Hill was leading comfortably.

    4. Multi 21 says:

      To be fair to Damon, he was leading the 1996 race comfortably when the Renault dropped its load.

    5. Lindsay says:

      He did; they both won at Monza.

    6. Timmay says:

      He had the equipment 4-5 times as well, 1993-1996 and 1999 if he was good enough.

    7. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Damon was no where near as good as his father. If Schu didn’t move to Ferrari and drive that 1996 dog, Damon would not be a champion period. I am confident Schu would have taken 1996 title in the Benetton.

      Damon barely beat his rookie team mate Villeneuve and it’s not like Villeneuve is considered to have been a mega driver after watching his career.

      Graham was all class and skill. Graham had J.Clark to contend with. Graham is the only triple crown winner ever (Indy 500, Monaco F1 GP, Le Mans 24hr Sports Car enduro). One gets the sense that Graham was deserving of even more. Damon had the RBR of 1994 & 1996 and barely scrapped through against an average rookie team mate. One gets the sense Damon was lucky to get even what he got.

      Despite the genetic connection, mentioning Graham and Damon in the same sentence as drivers is like comparing Senna to Pedro Diniz.

      1. Geoff Norman says:

        I certainly didn’t mean to imply that Damon was as good a driver as Graham Hill, though I’d also argue that Graham wasn’t a great natural talent – very strong and driven (excuse pun) character despite that carefree image, and good technically at understanding the car – there were several drivers at the time who were much more skilled. I only wanted to point out that Nico wouldn’t be the only son to win the same Grand Prix, rather than the Monaco GP – which, incidentally, must be in the running for most tedious event of the decade.

  32. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Less than half a second off the qualifying record today (Raikkonen in 2006 Q2 and Vettel in 2011 Q3 both set 1:13.5′s) despite the conditions and the barrier & kerb that I noticed had covered up the rain gulley on the inside of Mirabeau. Very fast pace.

  33. Andrew Carter says:

    Button had a fuel pump failure in Q3 so abandoned his last lap, he reckons he would have been top 5 without that. McLaren definitely looking better here.

  34. brendan says:

    hi james can nicos tyres really last to do one stop?
    will lewis hold field up while nico floors it. lewis needs to work for the team for a nico win.
    in practice nicos tyres were shot after 15 laps,then he did a slow lap and they recovered.
    if they race each other they cant win.
    lewis has won here before so he has to help nico ,(if they get to 1st corner 1/2).
    be nice to for his dad too.
    nico is driving well and deserves a win.

  35. Michael S says:

    I hope it is a clean start. I fear panic as always going into corner one. The Ferrari is clearly the fastest off the line, but that could cause chaos as others scramble.

    Lotus and Ferrari most likely to do a one stopper which will make the other up front really scramble.

  36. Anne says:

    Great performance by Mercedes. We´ll see how can they translate that into a win.

    However I´m curious about RB. Vettel P3 and Webber P4. If Webber doesn´t have his usual bad star that bettle would be very intereting to watch.

    Kimi is another one who should avoid losing position despite his possible on stop.

    Alonso has rule out winning. He could try for a podium finish but that´s also difficult starting from P6

    Also an honorable mention to Van Der Garde and Caterham. It was a symbolic victory for them to pass Q1

  37. brendan says:

    I wanted nico to get pole (I backed him on Wednesday).
    he was lucky lewis had him in sector 2 and 3,its just I don’t understand why lewis lost so much time on the 1st sector.(maybe he made a mistake or hit a damp patch.
    lewis is getting to grips with the car,he is doing really well and helping the team too.
    I think Mercedes have the best driver line up.
    they are pushing each other to go faster,thats what you need in a good team.
    they are good friends outside racing, that helps too.

  38. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Why is everyone on Hamilton’s case? Is it really that hard to aknowledge that Nico just deserves what is coming to him? Nico is not taking 3 consecutive poles because Lewis is bad, Nico is taking them because he is a top act. But so is Lewis, who is qualifying on the front row yet again. The fact that people complain when Lewis qualifies second shows how much they expect from him when watching qualifying.

    As for the race, Mercedes are in the driver’s seat with the 1-2. I expect to see Lewis leaving a gap for Nico to break out. Seb, Kimi & even Nando will hunt Lewis down. if it’s a normal race, then Lewis might just hold the key for Nico’s victory. Go Merc!

  39. Aleks Slovenia says:

    They have a good chance of winning here if Hamilton plays ball, but they wont because they favor him.

    In reverse, Nico would be asked to stall others so Hamilton can get the win…

  40. Phil Glass says:

    Vettel made a few errors or he would have got pole. Nico did not crack under the expectation, so he deserves it.
    However, is VET not on pole, for all extents and purposes? I expect Mercs to peel in very early for new shoes.

    1. Phil Glass says:

      nearly forgot. If Seb’s tyre can’t take it, Kimi looks to be on course for his second win tomorrow!

    2. Martin says:

      We only know Vettel thinks he could have beaten the time Nico set. We don’t know what the perfect time in a Mercedes was. Combine Lewis’ and Nico’s best sectors (which could well be unrealistic) and you get a time 0.245 ahead of Vettel’s time, and that becomes a more significant margin to make up, and that may not have been the perfect lap.

  41. dean cassady says:

    On the point of Nico being the first driver to win at the same circuit as his father, though have a particular race in mind, it seems almost inconceivable statistically, the Jacques did NOT win a race that Gilles won before him, non?

    The race:
    Based on recent trend, and taking into account the peculiarities of Monte Carlo, Vettel passes back Mercedes within first lap,; (unfortunately) Alonso roars past Kimi, possibly passing the trailing Mercedes within the first lap.
    Alonso hounding Vettel to the slowing lead Mercedes, then blowing past when he has to pit around lap 12-15. Kimi follows at tire preserving distance, outlasts all in front of him by ten laps or more, Lotus pace improves, compared to others, during the race, but comes under severe attack by two-stopping Alonso and Vettel; can the Lotus really last a one-stopper?
    If they can, then Kimi can win.
    If not (slightly more likely) I’m going with Vettel, who successfully scored redemption points (from the fall associated with the Webber pass), saying that he reason he didn’t make pole position was because of himself!
    Eh? Not bad, eh?
    That garners a bit of respect, even grudgingly, where I come from.
    I’d bet on a safety car.
    There really is more tension on the grid, than the average year.
    I’ve been surprised by the low number of ‘incidents’ so far this season.
    But that will end tomorrow; (I just can’t really see an alternative path in the crystal ball free from splinters of carbon fibre!)
    I have high expectations of a classic Monanco in the making.
    Go team with the lowest budget and the coolest driver, go!

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Dean,
      Since you asked Damon Hill won a few races his dad won, the first of them being the 1993 Italian GP, both at Monza. Both won the German and Spanish races, but at different circuits.

      Jack and Gill both won the Spanish race too. Gilles won at Jarama (as did Graham), while Jacques won at Barcelona (as did Damon).

      If you count Grands Prix prior to the world championship then the 1952 Belgian GP would be an earlier contender as Antonio won in 1925 and Alberto Ascari in 1952, both at Spa. There may be others.

      Enjoy the race. I’m doing my best to remove my prejudices and biases when watching. I’m not always succeeding ;-)

      1. dean cassady says:

        thanx for the great reply

  42. zombie says:

    Nico Rosberg is fast, genuinely fast. His pace against Schumacher was no fluke. And a 43 year Schumacher matching and at times out driving Rosberg goes to prove that Schumacher did really well given his age, and a 3 years sabbatical.

    If Mercedes can give Rosberg an equal footing as Hamilton, i expect Nico to give Hamilton a run for his money.

  43. ant says:

    Everyone keeps saying hamy should back up the pack ? what if his in front of rosberg ? i think he will be off up the road…..
    get the feeling a nervous monaco start on rosbergs side will leave vettel following hamy past, alonso and kimi will pick up the pieces and get solid points. unfortunatly for merc they will always hit traffic after a stop at monaco. its guna be a gooden !

  44. jay dee says:

    Once again DiResta blamed his team for his poor performance. What class act.

    1. Peter C says:

      His Team came on the radio & apologised for messing up his qualifying -wrong tyres at wet Q1.
      Class team.

    2. KRB says:

      They did screw it up for him, but it’s not like they consistently do it, so why air the dirty laundry? Di.Resta has to keep that internal. His engineer apologized to him over the radio, said the whole session was a “mess”. It sucks for him, but maybe he can show some good passing out of the tunnel, or with DRS up to St Devote.

      Does he really think any big team would like the thought of their driver criticizing the team if things don’t go absolutely perfect? That was a very hard Q1 session.

  45. Dharmesh says:

    Button had a fuel pump problem. He was looking good for a possible 5th or 6th until the problem reared its head in Q3. He does look dejected, but I guess that’s because the car is not good enough to fight for wins yet. I do wonder if he plans to leave the team for a swansong at another top team.

    1. F12012 says:

      He didn’t want to commit to Mclaren when they said that they wanted him to be driving for them for as long as possible, saying something about wanting to be flexible, definitely a change from a couple of years ago

      He must now look over at hamilton and be thinking I wonder can I get a move to a better team and a big pay rise too

  46. Stone the crows says:

    If it were anyone else but Rosberg I’d say he has a very good chance of winning tomorrow. But I haven’t seen such bad luck with a driver since Kimi Raikkonen was at McLaren. Something always seems to go wrong at Mercedes. But perhaps the stars will align for them in Monaco. Good luck Nico.

  47. anon says:

    I know the Ferrari isn’t as quick as the Mercedes in qualifying, but to be a second off the pace and languishing in 6th in the second fastest car in qualifying trim and no doubt the fastest car in race trim is awful. He’s put in some bad qualifying performance going back to Abu Dhabi last year but this might take the cake.

    On a real drivers circuit too where a driver is able to make up more of a difference on pure talent–unlike Barcelona for instance which is pure aero.

    And of course Alonso talking down his chances, so everyone can froth at the mouth about race craft and being a wily veteran when he puts the fastest car on the podium…

    1. Moe says:

      +1
      Good old Alonso and his mind games. Best in the business.
      After a poor qualifying session, its usually “we have a slow car” etc “give me a car within 2-3 tenths and i will do the rest” etc, now with what is widely accepted as the fastest race pace with good tyre management, he still plays the “we are not the quickest” so he can play the “im a magician” card.

  48. Charalampos says:

    If Merc have heavier tyre degradation, then vettel should be able to undercut them. As he has less tyre deg he should be able to stop earlier than them. With 2 stops he can pass 1 merc at a time. Especially feasible because of Redbull’s quick pit stops. Only problem might be that red bull guys will not find a clear window for vettel to run or safety car, but chances are they will. It looks very clear to me.

    1. User0815 says:

      The Mercs are great at qualifying and Monaco is the track that is the easiest on the tyres. If the Mercs can win at any track this year, then it’s Monaco, especially if we’re gonna get comparatively low track temperatures.

  49. MacDaddy says:

    Guys – I’m huge Lewis fan, but lets keep this all in perspective about Nico’s performance. At the moment, he’s doing great by out-qualifying Hamilton and outracing him at times. Still I would not place an advantage one over the other yet. Also, I would not go declaring him WDC just yet. He has one career win to his name. Not slagging the guy – I like him, hope he does well. Lets just cool off on the accomplishments until he can wrap up some more wins!

    1. Elie says:

      Agree completely..hes had only 5 races with Mercedes and at times bettered Nico and already people have started nailing the coffin..Lets see what happens over the latter part of the season..I already know what will happen.I too like Nico hope he goes great both for himself and the resurgence of the Silver Arrows.

  50. Richard says:

    Guess what will happen at the post-race pressconfrence when Vettel wins, nobody will even think about saying the words “Pirreli” or “tyres”
    Guess what will happen when we return to Canada and RBR aren’t going to win…

  51. Random 79 says:

    Well done to Rosberg, but I’m thinking it will be a race between the Bulls and Alonso…and possibly the safety car ;)

    1. Anne says:

      And Kimi. How can you underestimate Kimi? Shame on you!

      :)

  52. John M says:

    I got the sense from Nico’s comments after qualy that he does expect to win. It sure sounded like he expects to struggle in the race the same as the last two. I wonder if we’ll see a Nico train until the first stops.

    1. John M says:

      Oops, should have been “does NOT”… stupid iPad.

    2. James Allen says:

      He has a real swagger about him this weekend

      1. Peter C says:

        That sounds seriously detrimental, like arrogant.

        I would disagree – there’s a difference between swagger & confidence.

  53. Rishi says:

    Did the Mercedes boys actually do a formal debrief after today’s qualifying session or did Ross Brawn simply play them footage of the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix? “That’s the plan, loud and clear guys!” Try and hold off everyone behind you yet go slowly enough (in this case) to keep the tyres in the operating temperature (and even then they may be doomed if it’s hot tomorrow!). Still, this is one of their best chances to convert their Saturday form on Sunday and I would like to see them do it so good luck to them!

  54. DK says:

    If the Merc’s are ordered not to race at first corner, it will be interesting to see the how the RBR pair squeezing through. I think somebody will tend to take the short cut to steal a position or two.

  55. Zinobia says:

    It is somewhat amusing how people are still so surprised to see Mercedes and Red Bull qualifying in front. They clearly have the fastest cars in qualifying, and because of that they dont need to show their qualifying pace in free practice sessions. Red Bull has 3 poles so far and Mercedes also has 3 poles so far, it is really unsurprising to the point of being predictable to see them qualify ahead of Ferrari and Lotus. I bet they will still qualify ahead of them in the next race as well.

    For once Mercedes will actually have a really good chance of winning the race. But it may come down to strategy, if Mercedes and Red Bull’s tyres degrade to fast and they have to do a two stop, then they could lose some places. If Kimi and Alonso are able to do a one stop while the others are doing a two stop strategy, then we could very see them on top of the podium.

    1. f1future says:

      Actually it’s 4 poles for Mercedes vs 2 poles RBR.

    2. User0815 says:

      The biggest problem for Mercedes should be to build a gap that’s big enough to not come back right in the middle of the pack while the Red Bulls, Lotus’ and Ferrari can stay out longer, build an even bigger gap on the mid field and come back in front of it, while the Mercs are still stuck in there.

  56. Elie says:

    Congrats to Nico very good job. I still don’t think Hamilton should be written off yet P2 is not bad for someone not comfortable in the car all weekend & the season is long too!

    I don’t think anyone will 1 stop most will 2 or 3 stop If temps are over 33deg. I think Merc and Red Bull will be marginal at 2 but the Lotus will be stronger than all on 2. Only question is safety cars now.

  57. Tim says:

    Polite correction, Mercedes have 4 poles so far this season. This was the Merc’s 4th pole on the bounce.

  58. David C says:

    Fair play to SB for his honesty after quali, it would have been so easy to say the Mercs were the fastest cars today and 3rd was the max because we were all expecting that but he took the responsibility himself and said he had the car for pole but made a mistake. The next person I saw interviewed was Paul Diresta who I thought was classless, blaming the team as if he had nothing to do with the situation, he didn’t insist on stopping and the team got AS into Q2, you wouldn’t see that from FA or SB. I quit like PD so I was disappointed. P.S. by saying “I shouldn’t say something cause I’ll say something I shouldn’t” you are already crossing the line.

  59. Spartacus says:

    Good luck today Lewis! You are on your own, just go for it! You have a WDC to your name and people act like you didn’t make it to the front row, like you never won in your life…! Do your talking on track, this is a good day to prove them wrong!

  60. Bring Back Murray says:

    It’s got to be one of the most important race starts of the whole season. If Merc can get away in 1st and 2nd after the first corner then things are going to be really interesting.

    Well it seems to be a little mini-competition between Hamilton and Rosberg at the moment. Hamilton’s going to have to get on top of his new machinery fast as Rosberg’s been running away with things a bit over the last two races.

  61. David C says:

    It appears merc have brought back in season testing.

  62. quattro says:

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/107671

    I though at first it was a late April fool joke or a “mistake” like the one that took the life out of George Soros.

    A case of Mercedes making a deal with Pirelli (obviously with the blessing of the money that run F1)? – If (and only if) you help us figuring out what is wrong with our car, we will sign the contract extension with you. The rules do not permit? Fix the rules then!

    I think you do not need to be a genius to figure this gives Merc an unfair advantage. The way Ross Brown manages to mention absolutely NOTHING about such an important event, when asked about tyres in the report, tells you everything you need to know about how unfair this advantage is..

    James – not a single mention of this until now. Were all journalists covering F1 on vacation for two weeks after Barcellona or have I missed here?

  63. For Sure says:

    Base on Nico’s performance, I am pretty sure a 43 years old Schumacher could match one of the fastest guy in Lewis..

    If you think about it,It’s scary what a 27 years old Schumacher was able to do. I watched Barcelona 96 again, it was insane..

  64. Sikhumbuzo says:

    Dear JA

    Do you have information the alleged 1000 km Pirelli test?

    ST

  65. rome says:

    After all… some qualifying stats. Assuming that ROS is – as it seems recently – just a little bit faster than HAM.

    WEB vs ROS – 12 : 6
    ALO vs HAM – 7 : 10
    WEB vs VET – 21 : 60

    Looking at these stats only we’d have the following “raw-speed-qualifying-order”:

    5. ALO
    4. HAM
    3. ROS
    2. WEB
    1. VET

    1. KRB says:

      Rosberg was a rookie versus Webber, who was likely at his fastest around then (age 29), so would discount the gap then. Unless of course we want to say Liuzzi is the fastest of all, as he beat Vettel in qualifying in 2007?

      Likewise Hamilton’s efforts in 2007 as a rookie should be bumped up.

      Hell, Grosjean beat Vettel and Schumacher in the RoC. Is it right to take that result as definitive? Of course not, it’s silly. Grosjean is fast, but not as fast as HAM, VET, or ROS. Plus what good is it to be fast, but in the wall?

      1. rome says:

        In 2007 VET jumped in mid-season. The first time he was driving the Toro Rosso was in Hungary – at the race. He still managed to win 3 out of 7 qualifiyings against Liuzzi.

        You are perfectly right though: Liuzzi beat Vettel this season in terms of raw-qualifying-speed among team mates! No discounts for Vettel.

        By the way and in contrast: through intensive testing HAM was well prepared to compete against ALO.

        However, my focus here was to provide one of the few… maybe the only really comparable criterion: raw-qualifying-speed among team-mates.

        Am I saying this is the best and most conclusive criterion? No. But in my opinion still worthwhile to have a look at… especially if you exclude the crash-kids like Grosjean and narrow down the focus on the drivers considered being among the best.

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