Nico Rosberg proved once again to have the measure of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by beating him to win pole position by a margin of 0.091s for Sunday's Monaco GP. Rosberg was fastest in all three practice sessions and then took pole to keep his perfect record intact.
It is the 4th straight pole for the Mercedes team.
Sebastian Vettel was third for Red Bull, just 0.013s behind Hamilton, and ahead of his teammate Mark Webber.
|Blue skies all week turned overcast on Saturday|
Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will start on the third row.
Alonso says it is "very unlikely" that Ferrari can challenge for victory in the Monaco Grand Prix after he could only qualify in sixth place.
"I think we are not totally happy with our performance," Alonso said. "We were not competitive enough today in qualifying or the free practice as well. The chance for the win; obviously in Formula One nothing is impossible but it's very unlikely I think that we'll be fighting for the victory starting from sixth in Monaco.
"We'll see. We saw the GP2 start, we know the safety car possibilities here on any lap, so there are many factors that can be wrong. The same as today; it was a difficult qualifying, very difficult to interpret which tires to put on. We know Mercedes, Lotus, Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, we were competitive. Also Force India, and we saw di Resta out of Q1 after a very competitive weekend, we saw Grosjean out of Q2 after a very competitive weekend, so there were many possibilities to get it wrong today.
"I think there will not be many possibilities to get it right tomorrow because there is nothing to do with the strategy or the pace, but there are many things that can go wrong so we need to avoid all of this."
Felipe Massa did not take part at all as the heavy damage from his practice three crash in the morning could not be repaired in time.
Q1 and Q2 sessions were a total crapshoot as on and off light rain showers kept drivers and teams guessing as to what was the right tires to have on the car. For the most part Q1 and Q2 were run on green intermediate Pirellis until the last 4 minutes of Q2 when the super soft reds were the tire to have. Q3 was run completely in the dry – at least the racing line was dry, but not off the line, which remained damp.
Sebastian Vettel (3rd, 1:13.980): "I was a bit annoyed with my flying lap in Q3; I think I maybe pushed a bit too hard here and there. The start of the lap wasn't bad, but also it wasn't great; with hindsight I should have gone for two flying laps at the start of Q3 and not one, but I decided for that. I thought the tires would be good enough for the first lap. I have been struggling all weekend, but in the end it was tight. Pole was probably possible today, but we are third. I think with the Mercedes in front, it was expected that they would be strong. We have a good race car and should be able to do well from there tomorrow."
Mark Webber (4th, 1:14.181): "Yeah I'm pretty happy with that. It's very easy to be towards the back when you have a disruptive session with those conditions, but we managed to survive all the tricky sections and put together a reasonably tidy effort. You can always look at timings later and think you could have done things differently, but in the heat of the moment you make the decision as to what you think is right and overall it wasn't too bad. The conditions are changing and the tires are tricky, so starting on the second row here is not bad. It's a long race and a lot of strategy can unfold, so we'll see what we can do from there."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A very strong team performance with both cars lining up on the second row of the grid in what was a very tight qualifying session. Sebastian put in a very quick lap at the beginning of Q3 and unfortunately didn't quite have enough to hold on to the pole, but nonetheless a great performance from him and from Mark who once again has done a great job in Monte Carlo."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "At Monaco, getting the engine response completely correct is absolutely crucial to lap time gain. The slow corners and short bursts of power between them require a very precise power delivery in the low rev range, but one of the main advantages of the RS27 is its ability to be mapped to deliver torque exactly when the driver needs it. This helped today and we ended up pretty much where we thought. Tomorrow's race will be difficult to predict, as overtaking is hard here, so no doubt the tire wear will play yet another role in the results."
Fernando Alonso (6th, 1:14.824): "Unfortunately, today did not go as we had hoped, even if we tried our very best. We weren't as competitive as in the first two free practice sessions on Thursday, but I don't think we can lay the blame for this step backwards on the cooler temperatures, because the conditions are the same for everyone. There was less grip today and on the Softs, maybe we struggled a bit more this morning. I think it's much simpler than that and we struggled to adapt our car to this very special track, so different to all the others. We usually go better in the race, but it's a different story here because it's almost impossible to overtake. This is a race where anything can happen, and we need to be very careful at the start to avoid ending up stuck in a pack. Fortunately, the Mercedes are on the front so that my closest rivals in the classification are not too far, with Kimi starting next to me and Vettel just one row ahead. Let's hope I can pass both of them so that they can't pull further away in the championship. I feel sorry for Felipe, as the team did its very best but could not get him out in time for qualifying. I am well aware how starting from the back of the grid here in Monaco can make a difficult race even harder. However, I hope he can do well and that together we can bring home as many points as possible."
Felipe Massa (22nd, No Time): "I am disappointed not to have been able to take part in qualifying and it was really frustrating. This morning in the final practice session, I braked on a bump, the car bottomed and unexpectedly both front wheels locked up and from then on, there was nothing I could do. After hitting the guardrail I was waiting for the next impact with the barriers. Fortunately I'm okay, I've just got a bit of muscle strain, but the car was very damaged and the mechanics efforts to try and repair it in time came to nothing. It was a lot of work for the team, they all made a huge effort and for this I really want to thank them. It's a real shame starting from the back, especially on a track where it's so difficult to overtake, but now we need to be optimistic and concentrate on tomorrow's race. There will be a lot of work to do to assess if we need to change something in terms of set-up and strategy, to try and come up with something different which might give us an advantage. We know we are starting from a very difficult position, but the race is long and anything can happen. We will try and make the most of any opportunity, pushing to the maximum as usual."
Pat Fry: "Not an easy day, as we faced an uphill struggle right from the morning, when Felipe had his accident in the third free practice session. The team raced against time to repair the car so that he could take part in qualifying, but unfortunately there were too many damaged parts at the front and rear, so that required a lot of work and there was just too little time to get it done. Qualifying in the wet in Monaco is always interesting, as one has to pay particular attention to the traffic, the yellow flags and the changing track conditions, especially on days like this when the rain comes and goes. The drop in temperature partly compromised our performance and with Fernando we also had a few balance problems: both these factors prevented us getting the result we were hoping for, even if it can be said that the final classification did not throw up too many surprises compared to previous races. In Q2, the decision to switch from the intermediates to the Super Soft was taken at the right moment: in the final stages, the track was dry in parts but the pace of the Mercedes and Red Bulls was very good. Tomorrow we will be fighting against the statistics as the winners here have nearly always started from the front rows, but we will try and make the most of any opportunity that comes our way to move up the order."
Sergio Perez (7th, 1:15.138): "It's not great to cross the finish line, feel like you've just done a mega lap, and find that you're only seventh. Still, I put in a really strong performance here today, and I felt like I'd really maximized the full potential of the car. We know we're not quite there yet performance-wise, so we need to keep pushing. But the team has done a fantastic job so far this weekend, and I hope we can keep the momentum going tomorrow and score some good points. Anything can happen at Monaco on Sunday."
Jenson Button (9th, 1:15.647): "I'm not sure what happened on my final lap in Q3. We had an issue with the car right at the end – I didn't have any power, so I couldn't post a quick lap. It's a pity because, apart from that problem, which we also saw a sign of at the end of Q2, it had been a great qualifying session for me. The team did a great job in terms of putting me out on the right tires at the right time, while I felt I was driving well, making the most of the conditions. Tomorrow's race will be difficult, starting from P9, but on this occasion there's absolutely nothing I could have done about it."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Today's qualifying session was tricky for everyone, as it always is here at Monaco, but Jenson and Checo both drove faultlessly. Meanwhile, for our part, we generally managed to get them both out on track at the right times, with the right tires fitted. Checo did an excellent job to qualify seventh-fastest, but Jenson was disappointed to end up only ninth, disadvantaged as he was by a power loss that prevented him from essaying a final quick lap in Q3. We don't yet know for certain what caused that power loss, but we'd already seen signs of it at the end of Q2. We'll investigate. It was a pity because, as he always does at Monaco, Jenson had been driving really well. That being the case, I'm sure he could have qualified quite a bit closer to the front had he had another lap in which to do so. Looking forward, then, tomorrow's race will be long and hard – and, although overtaking will be as difficult as ever, mistakes will inevitably play a part in the race's unfolding drama, and both Jenson and Checo will be trying their hardest to drive faultlessly again in an effort to score as many world championship points as they possibly can."
Kimi Raikkonen (5th, 1:14.822): "It was a difficult day today because of the weather, but it was the same for all of the drivers. Obviously, qualifying here is never the easiest with the traffic and the barriers and you'd always prefer it to be dry as it's so slippery when it's wet. I'm happy we made it through to the top ten and P5 was more or less the best we could do with seven tenths to the next fastest car. I'm not sure what we'll do in the race; we don't have a clear picture yet as you never know exactly what the strategies from everyone else will be, but for sure we'll find out tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean (13th, 1:18.603): "The team did an unbelievable job to get the car ready for me after what happened in P3 this morning; I'm extremely grateful to all of them. I really owe them today and I think that's more drinks I will have to buy at the end of the weekend. We had the car to do something very good in qualifying, but I caught Daniel [Ricciardo] in Q2 when the track was getting drier and faster. I had just two laps on the slicks and we weren't able to get through to the top ten which is really frustrating. What can you say? This is Monaco. We have seen different weather conditions and it is a unique circuit. We will see what happens in the race tomorrow."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a disappointing session for us. Firstly we need to say a big thank you to Romain's crew for getting his car ready for qualifying in lightening quick time, and they were rewarded by a lightening quick first lap from their man. Unfortunately, traffic at the end of Q2 prevented him from getting into the top ten which was a great shame. Kimi has a reasonable position with P5 on the grid, but moving forwards up the order at Monaco is exceptionally difficult so any gains tomorrow will be hard won. Our car worked well in all conditions today so the weather wasn't so much of a problem, we just had to ensure we had the correct tires on at the right time. Finding clear track here is always difficult, no matter what the weather, and that's what we saw with Romain today. It was an incredibly impressive lap. To go out in variable conditions with the pressure of only having a few minutes of the session remaining, and still manage to go P1 on your first lap is really quite an achievement. Monaco is a very different circuit from any other, with the short lap length and traffic considerations meaning that there are not many viable options for different strategies. Add that to a dry weather forecast for tomorrow – plus the fact that it's almost impossible to pass here – and we have a very difficult race in prospect. We will of course look at all possibilities and do what we can to get our cars to the front. It's a very long race and we have seen fortunes change on a Sunday quite often thus far in 2013, so anything's possible."
Nico Rosberg (1st, 1:13.876): "It's a great feeling to be on pole in the city where I grew up and it means so much to me to drive through the streets here in a Silver Arrow. The conditions were really difficult out there today with the rain at the start but we handled it well. I have to say thank you to everybody at the team for all of their hard work in improving our car and our performance so much since last year. Having said that, we know that race pace has been our weakness. We've learnt a lot since the last race, and this track should suit us, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if this will be enough."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:13.967): "Congratulations to Nico and the team today, a great job all round. It's a big improvement for me after struggling in the practice sessions here so I'm really happy to be on the front row of the grid. I didn't have a great first sector on my lap today but after that it really came together. I've got some work to do as I haven't felt completely comfortable in the car this weekend but I'm confident that we can have a good race tomorrow and we'll be aiming to get the best possible result for the team."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "That was a tricky session and the weather kept us on our toes for the whole hour. Nico, Lewis and the whole team did a great job throughout qualifying to put us in the perfect position at the front of the grid for tomorrow. We are well aware of our fate in the last few races and we have to make sure that we are in better shape for tomorrow. I believe we have moved in the right direction and we'll see tomorrow if those improvements are enough and we can have a good race."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "What a fantastic result and a brilliant performance from both drivers. There was a lot to lose at the beginning of the session in the wet conditions and it was important to judge the right changeover point from intermediate to dry tires. The team did a perfect job of keeping both drivers in the chase and they then delivered the rest out on track. Of course we are very pleased this afternoon but, at the risk of sounding like I am repeating myself, we know it's tomorrow that really counts."
Nico Hulkenberg (11th, 1:18.331): "It was a challenging qualifying. Q3 would have been possible as I was six tenths away. But we changed too late onto the super softs and only had one timed lap, which was a missed opportunity. However in changing conditions like those here in Monaco we can be happy we managed to stay out of trouble. P11 is just outside the top ten, so we can choose our strategy for tomorrow accordingly, which is quite good. I simply have to get the most out of the start, gain one or two spots, and stay out of trouble in the first corner. Then one of the most challenging races lies ahead, but I am looking forward to it, because Monaco has it's own rules and, in the end, this is why we love it so much here."
Esteban Gutierrez (19th, 1:26.917): "It was a disappointing qualifying because we didn't look in bad shape and just our pace on the intermediate tires wasn't good enough. I wasn't able to find more time, I put the lap together and just couldn't find the grip. It's going to be a tough race tomorrow, considering that it is really hard to overtake here in Monaco. But we will try our best and hopefully a good strategy will help us to get through the traffic."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We had tricky conditions during qualifying. Esteban left the racing line a few times, which certainly left him with less confidence and hence a result like this. Nico drove a good qualifying, but the timing of the change to super softs was unlucky. Nevertheless, it was difficult to estimate when to change tires. We will fully focus on the race now, which might hold some opportunities."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "The conditions were difficult throughout the session. Esteban struggled with a lack of grip in Q1 and front locking. We need to investigate the cause for that. For Nico, Q3 was possible. If we had switched to the dry tires one lap earlier, we would have made it a lot easier for him. But starting from P11 there is still a good chance for points, and we will do the best with our strategy to achieve that tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (8th, 1:15.383): "Very tricky conditions today with the track half wet and half dry. We never knew if it was really drying out or if more rain was coming, so it was important to be on the right tires at the right time. The team did an excellent job of choosing the tires and making the correct decisions. I also need to thank my crew who worked so hard to fix the car in time for the session after the incident this morning. Tomorrow I will be pushing hard to move forward. A podium is my target and there are seven cars ahead of me, so with a good strategy anything is possible. I just have to concentrate and make the most of this opportunity."
Paul di Resta (17th, 1:26.322): "We failed to deliver today, which is a real shame because we were very strong in the wet and this is the most crucial qualifying session of the year. The intermediate tires were working fine for me, but we didn't read the conditions well enough from the pit wall. I needed a set of fresh intermediates towards the end of the session, but by the time we realized it was too late and there was no time to pit. The only option was to stay out, but my tires were finished and I didn't have a chance to progress any further. It's a painful position to be starting from tomorrow given the speed we had in the car today."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "A very frantic qualifying session in Monaco. After Adrian's crash this morning the mechanics did a magnificent job to repair the car for the start of Q1 – and Adrian made the most of it. In the tricky damp conditions he delivered when it mattered to qualify eighth. As for Paul, I would like to apologize to him because we did not get the tire strategy right during Q1. He was incredibly quick on the intermediate tires, but we missed the chance to pit him for a fresh set towards the end of the session. As a result he lines up in P17. For the race we know that anything can happen in Monaco so we will think hard about the strategy to try and secure a good result for both cars."
Valtteri Bottas (14th, 1:19.077): "The conditions were not good today as they were changing all the time. We made the most of what we had and although the car is not where we want it to be, we feel we're in a good position in terms of knowing the development direction to go. The race will be difficult with some quick cars starting behind us, but I'm confident we can still push forward and gain some positions in tomorrow's race."
Pastor Maldonado (16th, 1:21.688): "We were quick in Q1 as I know this track very well and in damp conditions I know where to take risks. As it was getting dry the car wasn't working as well though, as the front was locking quite a lot. I think the top ten was possible as there is some improvement, especially if it had stayed wet. It is looking good for the future though with the data we have gathered this weekend so far."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "It was a difficult qualifying managing the changeable conditions but the team did a good job to make the right calls as to when to switch onto new tires. In the wet Pastor showed how good he can be around this circuit, posting the quickest time in Q1. Valtteri also did a great job to be ninth in Q1 in his first ever qualifying session here in Monaco. Unfortunately as the track dried we didn't have the pace in the FW35 and with both cars running together at the end of the session on supersoft tires they didn't get the most out of their final laps. We have gathered lots of useful data here though and feel we have a good development direction to take forward."
Jean-Eric Vergne (10th, 1:15.703): "My first Q3 of the season feels pretty good, even if I would have preferred it to keep raining right until the end. But even in the dry I got a good lap in, but I aborted my very last lap as I wasn't able to improve. I think this is about where we should be having improved the car still further, which means we are making progress race by race. I believe that our performance in race conditions tomorrow should be better than it was now in qualifying so we will be hoping for a good result, whatever the weather. Anything can happen on this track so we can definitely aim for points tomorrow. Getting into Q3 is good but there are no points given out in qualifying, so we still have to concentrate and produce a strong performance tomorrow."
Daniel Ricciardo (12th, 1:18.344): "I am disappointed with that qualifying, as I think this afternoon was a missed opportunity. I really wanted Q3 today and with the mixed conditions, the opportunity was there. But we weren't quick on the Inters and after that I felt we could have done better with the Super Softs, maybe if I'd got in one more lap to get the tires up to temperature better, so we still have some work to do now. I feel the car has got a good pace on a long run, certainly better than in qualifying, but with the difficulty in overtaking here, starting twelfth is not ideal. So now we need to come up with a good strategy to try and make up for this afternoon."
James Key, Technical Director: "The fact that it rained only slightly made the conditions very difficult to judge and, of all places, at Monaco all the complexities of this track made it even more complicated. The team in the garage and on the pit wall did a fantastic job to manage the situation, to make the right calls and predictions with the right tires. Both drivers coped with it extremely well. It was a fantastic effort from Jean-Eric, who was on good form this morning, after we made a lot of changes since Thursday. Even if the times in FP3 were nothing special, we could see we were in reasonable shape. He thoroughly deserved to get into Q3, controlling his driving in these difficult conditions really well. It could have been even better if the rain had come at the end instead of the beginning. Daniel sadly just missed out on Q3, as he did not feel the grip level in the car quite as much as his team-mate, but he made progress since Thursday. We are now in a position where both cars can fight for points tomorrow."
Giedo van der Garde (15th, 1:19.408): "I'm obviously very pleased to put my name into the Q2 timesheets for the first time this year and I want to thank Tony, Cyril and the whole team for the jobs everyone did today. Honestly, it's a great feeling, but it's still part of the learning process for me. I've said since the start of the season that I'd make progress, and today showed how far we've all come in just six races, and there's more to come. Saturday started pretty well and in FP3 we went out for a long-ish run on the softs straight away but, like Charles, for me the car was understeering a lot. I was having to use throttle to help turn the car so we made a couple of mechanical changes and from then it was a bit better, but the tires weren't really coming in as much as we'd have liked, so we tried another mechanical change for quali and the results are pretty obvious! In Q1 we went out very early as there were reports of more showers coming. As it turned out that wasn't the case, but we timed the stop well and had about four more quick laps on the inters at the end of Q1, enough time to put myself into Q2. Q2 started with a bit more rain, so we again went for the inters, but after one lap I thought it was dry enough for slicks so we boxed, went onto the supersofts and was the first car to make the switch. For a while we were looking at Q3, but that's not where we are performance-wise yet, so we're all really happy with Q2. Sunday could be very interesting. I start between the two Williams cars of Bottas and Maldonado and I've had good starts all year, so hopefully I can have another good launch, avoid anything like the GP2 mess on Friday, and from there anything's possible. I finished on the podium here last year in GP2 and, while that's not going to happen this year, we will definitely be racing quite a few cars all afternoon."
Charles Pic (18th, 1:26.633): "First I want to say well done to Giedo and the whole team for the job everyone did today. It's obviously a bit disappointing I wasn't with my teammate in Q2 but it was very close and the team did a good job to give us both a chance today. This morning, FP3 was all about understeer for me. We started the session with quite a long run on the softs and the car was understeering everywhere, so we spent most of the session trying to dial that out and get a better balance. By the end of the session it was improving but even on the supersofts I still wasn't really getting everything out of it. In quali we went out early, first cars on track, and put in a good run on the inters with the times coming down throughout the session. We made the call to come in for a new set of inters with about five minutes left of Q1 but I couldn't quite get enough out in the last sector due to traffic, but 18th is still OK around Monaco. We've had good pace on the long runs here, and very good degradation levels on the tires, so let's see what happens tomorrow."
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal: "This is one of the good days, the best so far this year for our team. Personally, I'm proud of the work everyone is doing to give us moments like seeing Giedo's name in Q2. He drove very well, showing how he much he keeps developing and how he's brave enough to be the first driver out there to make the call to go for it on slicks in what were still very tricky conditions on track. Both he and Charles have been driving very well all weekend, minimizing the mistakes and pushing when they need to and Charles was unlucky not to join Giedo in Q2. However, he also showed his talent by being right in the mix in Q1 until the flag fell and with the pace and race craft he's shown all year, particularly in Bahrain and Spain, he'll be right in the action tomorrow. This is another small step in our ongoing development, another reason why we are all here working so hard to be part of the show, and I want everyone in our team to use this as another source of motivation for Sunday and the rest of the season. We obviously have the main task ahead of us tomorrow, but days like this are why we're in this sport, and to have our first Q2 of the year when Tony's on track with us makes this a very special day."
Max Chilton (20th, 1:27.303): "After a good start on Thursday, today has been quite a big challenge with the tricky conditions we had in qualifying. Naturally I was hoping for a better grid slot because it's all about grid position in Monaco. I think I got the best out of the tire too early and it just wasn't there at the end when the track was a bit drier. It's disappointing because it will be a long race tomorrow. The weather looks fine, so with a clean first lap I'll be hoping to make the best of any opportunities which come our way."
Jules Bianchi (21st, No Time): "Of course I was hoping for a good shot at qualifying for my home race, so it is very disappointing to have to pull over so soon and not take part in the session. The Team aren't entirely sure of the full cause of the problem just yet but it was clear that I would not have been able to complete any laps, which is why they asked me to pull over. We have to wait to see what happens. I think it could be a very exciting race for everyone tomorrow; things have not been straightforward through the field so we have to remain focused and see what happens and then do the best job possible in what are tough circumstances."
John Booth, Team Principal: "In FP3 this morning we opted to do a little more work on our long run pace, having been less happy with this on Thursday. We got very little from the option tire so we knew qualifying was going to be a challenge even before the weather turned against us. We needed a dry session for our two drivers, who have never driven around Monaco in a Formula One car in the wet before. We are very sorry for the problem which prevented Jules from taking part in the session and we will look to ensure this is rectified going forward. With Max we were perhaps not quite there in terms of the optimum time to fit the last set of Intermediate tires. It will be a tough race tomorrow but we will give it our best shot and see what we can make of it."
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Germany||Mercedes GP||1:13.876|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Britain||Mercedes GP||1:13.967|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Red Bull-Renault||1:13.980|
|4.||Mark Webber||Australia||Red Bull-Renault||1:14.181|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Germany||Force India-Mercedes||1:15.383|
|10.||Jean-Eric Vergne||France||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:15.703|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:18.344|
|15.||Giedo van der Garde||Netherlands||Caterham-Renault||1:19.408|
|17.||Paul di Resta||Britain||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.322|
|20.||Max Chilton||Britain||Marussia-Cosworth||No Time|
|21.||Jules Bianchi||France||Marussia-Cosworth||No Time|
|22.||Felipe Massa||Brazil||Ferrari||No Time|