Grand Prix of Monaco – Qualifying

Monaco is round 6/20 of the 2015 season. Hamilton is only 20 points ahead of his team-mate in the Drivers’ Championship standings, and Mercedes lead Ferrari by 70 points after the Grand Prix of Spain.

News updates:

  • HAM signed a new 3-year contract with Mercedes [TSN] [BBC]
  • The father of Jules Bianchi says he is still hoping for a miracle but admits the situation is “stagnant” and that the family is preparing for the worst. Bianchi, 25, has been unconscious since crashing into a recovery vehicle during last October’s Japanese Grand Prix. [BBC]
  • Not F1, but a disturbing string of accidents in Indy… Indy 500 safety changes made after third airborne crash [autosport]
    James Hinchcliffe had a nasty crash too – 4th IndyCar accident in a week! [BBC]
    “In the impact, which flattened the right side of the chassis, one of the suspension wishbones penetrated the Dallara safety cell, and subsequently caused the majority of the physical damage Hinchcliffe received. RACER has confirmed through multiple sources that Hinchcliffe had the steel wishbone enter and exit his right leg, then enter his upper left thigh, and continue into his pelvic region before it came to a stop.” [racer.com]

Monaco is one of my least favourite circuits – it’s usually a procession, which means Qualifying is even more important here. (It’s seven years since anyone other than the pole-sitter won.)

Free Practice 1 (FP1): HAM fastest, followed by VES, RIC, VET, SAI; ROS was P9
FP2: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, KVY; about 20mins into FP2 MEH hit the wall at the chicane, causing red flags; rain fell before restart
FP3: VET, ROS, HAM, RIC, SAI, RAI, KVY; HAM reported “something’s not right on the car” (that’s helpful!); RAI crashed at the Sainte Devote after setting his fastest lap time, causing red flags

Air temperature 19°C; track 29°C; cloudy; 20% chance of rain towards the end of the hour

Tyre choices: prime=soft (yellow); option=super-soft (red)

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Cars lined up at pit exit, waiting for the green light
VES 1:19.803
VET 1:18.323
HAM 1:16.884
(ROS P2)
10mins left of Q1; ALO the only one still in the pits; problem for the McLaren?
HAM 1:16.588
ROS 1:16.528
Red Bull sending their cars out on super-soft tyres
Radio from HUL – just tapped the wall
5mins left; bottom 5 are BOT, ERI, BUT, MER, STE
BUT jumps to P7, ahead of ALO; MAS down to P16
(PER P3) on options
Incident involving car 55 (SAI) under investigation – failing to stop at FIA weighbridge
MAS P11; relegates RIC
RIC P5; HUL to P16
HUL P14; NAS now P16
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are NAS, BOT, ERI, MER, STE
ALO improves but only to P14
Back of the grid: NAS, BOT, ERI, MER, STE

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
VET first out of the pits; RAI sent out of the garage but then stopped (by mechanic) as another car was in the pit lane
BBC report increasing humidity; rain soon?
Radio from RAI reminding team that he can’t see cars in pit lane as he exits the garage
Radio from ROS – HAM is slowing in the pit lane, so remember when creating a gap between us
VET 1:18.721
PER 1:17.592
HAM told to pit for extra front downforce; presumably they forgot to adjust it for the super-soft tyres
RIC 1:17.274
VET 1:16.224
Yellow flags – ALO out; replay shows McLaren engine cut out going in to Turn 1 (Ste Devote)
ROS 1:15.471 – faster than his pole time last year
(HAM P3)
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are GRO, PER, MAS, HUL, ALO
Radio from HAM calming team down, need to reset and get a better lap
GRO and PER improve; RIC and BUT now in the relegation zone
Yellow flag in Sector 1 – ROS locked up and ran wide
(HAM P2)
RIC P7; GRO back to P11
Yellow flag cleared
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are GRO*, BUT, HUL, MAS, ALO
*GRO has a 5 grid spot penalty awaiting him for gearbox changes

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Battling over the top 10 grid spots are HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, RIC, KVY, SAI, VES, PER, MAL
No rain yet
HAM sits at the end of the pit lane, with ROS behind him
Radio for ROS reminding him to leave a gap behind HAM before he starts his quick lap
HAM backs off before the end of his lap
HAM 1:20.611
ROS P2
PER 1:17.912
KVY P4
VET P4
SAI P4
RAI P2
VES P7
RIC P5
MAL 1:17.819
HAM 1:15.304
ROS P2
KVY P3
VET P3
SAI P5
RAI P6
VES P5
RIC P4
HAM & ROS into the pits
PER P6
6mins left; order is HAM, ROS, VET, RIC, KVY, PER, VES, SAI, RAI, MAL
Radio from RAI – almost touched wall in Turn 8 (entrance to tunnel)
Radio for PER – no new sets of tyres, so sit out the rest of Q1
HAM still trying to warm his tyres as he starts his penultimate quick lap
Radio for KVY – weave to raise tyre temps; track temp dropping
MAL P7
RAI P5
Radio from ROS – box this lap (after locking up into Ste Devote)
Chequered flag
HAM 1:15.098
SAI P8
KVY P5
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RIC, KVY, RAI, PER, SAI, MAL, VES
That’s HAM’s first Monaco pole

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RIC, KVY, RAI, PER, SAI*, MAL, VES; [GRO*] BUT, HUL, MAS, ALO; NAS, GRO, BOT, ERI, MER, STE
*GRO has a 5 grid spot penalty awaiting him for gearbox changes
*Also expect a penalty for SAI for failing to stop at FIA weighbridge

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