Nico Rosberg claimed pole position in a damp F1 qualifying at the Monaco race circuit. His Mercedes team mate, Lewis Hamilton, was second fastest ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the top three separated by little more than one tenth of a second. Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber, crossed the line with a lap time good enough for fourth, ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen in fifth and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in sixth.
Sergio Perez out-qualified his McLaren team mate Jenson Button to finish seventh, three places ahead of the Brit. Force India’s Adrian Sutil will have been happy to claim eighth position – a significantly better result than his team mate, Paul Di Resta, managed – the Scotsman failing ot make it out of Q1.
The majority of drivers struggled with pace during Q1 and Q2, the slippery conditions dictating the need for intermediate tyres. Unsurprisingly, Q1 delivered a couple of surprise results, the most notable being Paul Di Resta’s failure to make it through to the second session while Giedo Van Der Garde scraped through to Q2 in his Lotus.
The rain abated towards the end of Q2, and Q3 delivered an exciting and predominantly dry top ten shootout. The Mercedes and Red Bull cars exchanged fastest times as the clock ran down, Vettel, Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton all battling ferociously for pole position. It was the Mercedes drivers that eventually finished on top, however, Rosberg claiming pole by a tiny margin over Hamilton.
Mercedes-Benz team principal, Ross Brawn, said: “It was really tricky. The first few sessions were really about making sure we got through with the least usage of tyres. We wanted to keep some of the intermediates together in case we needed them later. I think we went for a slightly different approach in Q3 with the three timed laps and leaving the fuel in the car. It seemed to work for us.”
“We have a pretty poor record in converting poles to race wins so it’d be nice to achieve it here. We’ve done some things to the car that I think are going to help. The long run looked respectable on Thursday. I hope the track doesn’t move away from us. We are moderately optimistic.”
2013 F1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying result
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||01:24.24||01:15.99||01:13.98||29|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||01:25.35||01:17.32||01:14.18||30|
|8||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||01:25.11||01:17.26||01:15.38||29|
|15||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||01:26.10||01:19.41||21|
|17||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||01:26.32||14|
|DNQ||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||No time||1|
|DNQ||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||No time||0|