Saturday, 24 May 2014

Rosberg on pole despite mistake on his final run

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)

Mercedes Nico Rosberg took pole position for tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix ahead of team mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton despite locking up on his final run and bringing out the yellow flag. Following the session, Hamilton was clearly unhappy by the way in which qualifying turned out.

Daniel Ricciardo was best of the rest behind the two Mercedes out-qualifying reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel for the second race in a row in his Red Bull, making it 4-1 to Ricciardo in qualifying so far this season. Speaking after the session Ricciardo said:

'I think I could have been closer to the front today and I don’t like it when that’s the case. I made a mistake in the last run in Q3; we were up and I thought it was going well, but then I made a mistake and lost the time I had made. Anyways, there’s no room for excuses here so I’ll just have to learn for next time. I would be disappointed not to finish on the podium tomorrow. I think we have the pace to hang with Mercedes, so hopefully we can at least get one of them off the line and maybe do something with strategy and give ourselves a real chance of taking a win.” 

Vettel did a great job for the Milton Keynes based outfit despite encountering a KERS issue with his RB10 and will start the race from 4th on the grid. The four times champion commented:

'I had some problems in qualifying today. Somewhere in Q1 we lost ERS, so basically the electric power to discharge the car and we didn’t get it back. In the end we ran a different mode which was fine, but surely not as good as it should be. It was the first time it had failed this weekend, but these things happen. We tried lots of different modes, but at some point you have to just get your head down and get on with it. My time was okay but then we weren’t able to improve on the second flying lap in Q3 as there was a yellow flag. I thought we would give Mercedes a hard time today, but we struggled with some things and the gap was too big – it’s still good to be on the second row for tomorrow.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was very happy with how his cars performed in qualifying saying:

'Locking out the second row of the grid is a very positive result. Unfortunately we had an issue with Sebastian’s ERS today, which wasn’t functioning properly, so we had to run in a slightly down-graded mode for qualifying and that, combined with the yellow flags, meant he didn’t have a chance to improve on his second run. Daniel, who has been on it all weekend, did another super job to line up third on the grid and with both Red Bull cars on the second row, we have a good chance to make a race of it with Mercedes tomorrow.”

The Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start the race from fifth and sixth place respectively.

Jean Eric Vergne had one of his strongest qualifying session's as the Frenchman will start the race from 7th on the grid just ahead of McLaren's Kevin Magnussen who managed to out qualify team mate Jenson Button who failed to make it into Q3 and will start the race from 12th on the grid. Behind Magnussen's McLaren will be Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat in 9th place which is fantastic result for the Russian, who has never raced in Monaco before.

Sahara Force India's Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten, just ahead of his team mate Nico Hulkenberg.
Speaking after qualifying Perez, who has scored points in every race so far this season stated:

'Although it’s good to be in the top ten, I’m feeling a bit disappointed not to be higher up the grid. My hot lap in Q3 was quite difficult and I had a lock-up going into the Nouvelle Chicane – so there was definitely more speed in the car. One of the main challenges was getting the tyres in the perfect working condition and I don’t think we maximised that today. We need to look at ways to make up positions tomorrow and we should be aggressive with our strategy because I don’t think there will be too many overtaking opportunities. Hopefully it will be an interesting race.”

 Nico Hulkenberg felt he could have made it into the final part of qualifying saying: 

'A place in Q3 was very close today – less than a tenth away – but I’m not feeling too disappointed because I was pretty happy with my lap in Q2. There was just a tiny bit missing because it’s very hard to get a perfect lap in Monaco. The traffic management by the team was good and although I had some traffic in both Q1 and Q2, it was not at the crucial moments. Starting from P11 with an extra set of fresh tyres gives us a good chance of scoring points tomorrow. It’s a long race and we have to be ready to react quickly with the strategy to try and gain some positions. We also expect more cloud cover tomorrow and there is even a chance of rain.

Valtteri Bottas will start the race from 13th place for the Williams Martini Racing Team and will start the race just ahead of the Lotus duo of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Felipe Massa made it into Q2 for the Williams Martini Racing Team however he was was hit by the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson which result in the yellow flags coming out and resulted in him not taking part in the second part of qualifying and will start the race from 16th on the grid.

Esteban Gutierrez will start the race from 17th for Sauber just ahead of team mate Adrian Sutil. Jules Bianchi was once again the fastest of the Marussia/Caterham battle and will start the race from 19th place while Max Chilton will start the race from 20th place.

The Caterham duo of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will start the race from 21st and 22nd places on the grid respectively.

Marcus Ericsson will start the race from the pit-lane after the stewards found that he had recklessly collided with Felipe Massa's Williams. The stewards also reprimanded Daniil Kvyat for impeding the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.

©Ben Johnston 2014

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