Nico Rosberg today claimed Pole position ahead of tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix. The German put in a fast lap before nearly binning his W05 Hybrid in the wall on his final lap. His mistake brought out a yellow flag which prevented Lewis Hamilton from setting a fast lap time
Glorious sunshine enveloped the resplendent Riviera on Saturday, with the turquoise waters forming still the most stunning backdrop for any Formula One event – maybe even any sporting event. Take that, Abu Dhabi…
Jenson Button went on track early, but a brake problem saw him return to the pits for nearly half an hour. In the mean time, Ricciardo and Rosberg debated the top of the time sheets. Due to the rain on Thursday afternoon, any rubber left on the surface was washed away, and so the track was very ‘green’. The session’s fastest times began in the 1 minute 18 second range, but those quickly plummeted as more and more drivers laid down rubber. One driver laying down a little too much rubber was Jean-Eric Vergne, who managed two lock ups in the same lap. First, he went straight on at Sante Devote, and then again at Mirabeau Haute. Luckily, the Frenchman avoided any damage.
Mercedes and Red Bull made sure that everyone else knew their place, Hamilton and Rosberg sandwiching second-placed Ricciardo, with Vettel 4th. Alonso and Raikkonen followed, then both Force Indias, both Toro Rossos, and both McLarens. Jules Bianchi put in a great lap to finish 17th, ahead of all the other young teams as well as Maldonado and Sutil. Chilton was the only driver not to set a time on the Super-soft tyres.
Quali 1 was fairly routine, with Rosberg setting the early pace. The Mercedes cars were the only ones safe enough to use the soft tyres rather than the super-softs, and for that reason it was Jean-Eric Vergne who managed to take the fastest time of the session. Towards the end of the session Marcus Ericsson dragged himself and Felipe Massa into the wall at Mirabeau Haute, the site of several incidents in practice sessions. Massa had finished his hot lap and got into Q2, so when the Swedish rookie approached, he moved off the racing line. However, he got a snap of oversteer in his Caterham, and the pair ended up in the barrier. Massa couldn’t continue in Q2, and Ericsson was sent to the pit lane for the start of the race, and earned 2 penalty points on his license.
Out: Sutil, Gutierrez, Bianchi, Chilton, Kobayashi, Ericsson.
The Lotus cars had showed decent pace in Thursday and Saturday’s practice sessions, and despite overcoming Sutil and Gutierrez’ Saubers in Q1, neither progressed from this session. McLaren’s woes continued with Button unable to progress either. Massa, as mentioned, could not take part in Q2.
Rosberg was the only man to go sub-1:16, with an effort of 1:15:989. He managed to hold on to his time and indeed the top spot until the end of the session. Lewis Hamilton felt he could go faster, but on his final run, Rosberg went off. He came down towards – you guessed it – Mirabeau, but locked up and went straight down the escape road. The ensuing yellow flags meant that anyone on a lap going through the first sector had to back off. One such person of course, was Hamilton, who showed a pretty depressed expression after.
OUT IN Q2
16) Massa (No time)
OUT IN Q1
The race will begin at 1pm UK time on Sunday, May 25.