Grand Prix of Monaco – Qualifying

Top of everyone’s mind will be the Hamilton/Rosberg incident from the first lap in the race in Spain – they say they’ve moved on and Mercedes are keen for the drivers to continue racing against each other, which should be good for everyone but how will they actually behave in the race this weekend?

Rosberg is now on 100 points from his 4 wins so far this season; not only is Hamilton 43 points behind, he’s also got Raikkonen between him and ROS in the Drivers’ Championship standings after Spain. Mercedes are 48 points clear of Ferrari, with Red Bull just 15 points further back.

The Free Practice sessions included the usual array of people tagging the barriers. In FP1, ROS drove over a drain cover which flew up and hit BUT’s car – fortunately it only broke the car’s front wing because that could have been very, very nasty.

Just ahead of the start of Quali the Red Bull mechanics are still checking out VES’s car after he banged the front right in Massenet.
Looks like RAI has a new gearbox going into his Ferrari; if so, that’ll mean he’ll get a penalty.

Hopefully Mercedes are more careful with the front jack after one sprang back and dented the nose of HAM’s car in FP2.

ROS has won the previous 3 Monaco GP, and he’s on quite a roll this year, but HAM is going to fight for every inch and Red Bull & Ferrari are looking very competitive. RIC, in particular, is very positive about his car.

Air temperature 21°C; track 40°C; wind 12km/h; 51% humidity; sunny with a little hazy cloud

Qualifying Session 1 (Q1)
A queue forms at the end of the pit lane, waiting for the lights to change
Red flag already – engine has blown in NAS’ Sauber as he came through the tunnel
No-one completed a lap; they’re all back in the pits as NAS’ car is lifted off the track
Green flags to restart Q1
GRO 1:16.621
HAM 1:14.831
ROS is 0.042sec slower than HAM
Only PER and HUL on super-soft tyres; everyone else on ultra-softs
VET 1:14.610
VES takes too much kerb at the swimming pool chicane – hard into the barriers
Red flags stopping Q1 with 6:34 on the clock
VES hadn’t set a good time yet so he’ll be at the back of the grid
Lots of marshals sweeping up carbon fibre shards
Replay shows VES broke his front right suspension by clipping the barrier just before the corner, which is why he hit the kerb so hard as he took a straight line into the tyre wall
Another queue at pit exit
Bottom 6 are PAL, WEH, HAR, VES; no time from ALO or NAS
Green flags
Incident involving car 20 (MAG) will be investigated after the session – pit exit light
2mins left; bottom 6 are ERI, PAL, HAR, WEH, VES & NAS
Chequered flag
Back of the grid (before penalties): ERI, PAL, HAR, WEH, VES, NAS

Qualifying Session 2
KVY 1:14.819
SAI 1:14.805
VET 1:14.555
HAM 1:14.056
5mins left of Q2; bottom 6 are BUT, BOT, GRO, GUT, MAG, MAS
MAS up to P11
Replay of ROS’ quick lap shows he grazed the same barrier that VES hit in Q1
3mins left; everyone on track
BOT P11
RIC P2 on supersoft tyres – interesting strategy as he’ll start on them for the race while everyone around him will be on ultrasoft
BOT pits but he’s only P11; resigned to not getting in to Q3
VET P2
MAS aborts his laps; into the pits and only P12
Chequered flag
GUT P12
ROS 1:14.043
BUT P13
Middle of the grid: BOT, GUT, BUT, MAS, GRO, MAG

Qualifying Session 3
Top 10 shootout is between ROS, HAM, VET, RAI, RIC, HUL, SAI, KVY, ALO, PER
Radio from HAM as they line up at pit exit – Something wrong with engine; no power
Mercedes crew running down the pit lane to push him back to the garage
HUL 1:15.120
RIC P2
ALO P2
VET P3
RAI P5
PER P2
KVY P7
SAI P8
RIC 1:13.622 – wow!
ROS P5
VET P2
VET P2
RAI P3
KVY P5
SAI P5
HAM finally exits the pit lane
ROS P2
5mins left; order is RIC, ROS, VET, RAI, HUL, SAI, KVY, ALO, PER; no time from HAM
Only HUL and HAM on track; HUL will pit before HAM starts his quick lap
HAM P10 for his warm up lap
Rest of the top 10 starting their out laps
HAM’s abandoned his quick lap; he’s still P10
Everyone on tack
2mins left; order is RIC, ROS, VET, RAI, HUL, SAI, KVY, ALO, PER, HAM
HAM starts another lap and immediately backed off – still has engine problems?
HUL P4
KVY P7
SAI P6
Chequered flag
HAM P3
ROS P2
PER P8
ALO P10
Front of the grid: RIC, ROS, HAM, VET, HUL, RAI, SAI, PER, KVY, ALO

Provisional grid: RIC, ROS, HAM, VET, HUL, RAI*, SAI, PER, KVY, ALO, BOT, GUT, BUT, MAS, GRO, MAG*, ERI, PAL, HAR, WEH, VES, NAS
Penalties: RAI (5 spots for a gearbox change); MAG is under investigation

That’s RIC’s first F1 pole, and Red Bull’s first since 2013
Photo op for top 3 qualifiers – HAM looks unhappy with P3
Niki Lauda said both Mercedes cars had high fuel temperatures in Q3

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