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Monaco 2013 - Qualifying highlights - Mercedes continue their domination, but it's a close fight at the top

Published by Christine

Mercedes showed their true pace on Saturday
Credit: LAT Photographic

Ominous looking clouds moved in over Monaco ahead of qualifying, and that allowed us to speculate wildly on what was going to happen and who would take pole position. The rain shower was enough to keep things interesting, but allowed for a sensible grid to be formed by the end of the session.

With a couple of top drivers dropping out early, an early gamble from the Caterham team, and more yellow flags than you can shake a stick at, this Monaco qualifying session was one to watch. If you want a reminder of what happened, or to catch up with anything you missed, the handy Factbyte Factbox replay provides minute by minute updates.

As it happened: Monaco 2013 - Qualifying

Event Highlights

  • Felipe Massa unable to participate in qualifying after practice crash leaves car damaged
  • Giedo van der Garde gets through to Q2 and qualifies 15th for Caterham
  • A rain shower mixes things up, but the track dries for the final session
  • Mercedes lock out the front row again, with Rosberg taking pole position
  • 12:08

    Hello! Welcome to the Factbyte Factbox for qualifying in Monaco. There's drama already in those rich streets!

  • 12:09

    Thursday practice was dominated by the Mercedes duo, and Nico Rosberg has, in fact, topped the times of all three practice sessions.

  • 12:09

    However, the final hour of practice this morning saw three separate, and quite big, crashes.

  • 12:09

    Felipe Massa ran straight on at the first corner, bashing into two different barriers, and messing up the Ferrari pretty badly.

  • 12:10

    The mechanics are still hurriedly working on the car, and rumour has it they've drafted in some of Alonso's crew so that they can be ready for qualifying in 50 minutes.

  • 12:11

    Adrian Sutil had a slightly less dramatic crash at the traditional Massenet bend. His car was less damaged, and should be fine for qualifying.

  • 12:12

    Romain Grosjean was the third driver to find his way into the barriers - and it was his third crash of the weekend so far.

  • 12:12

    He brought out a red flag right at the end of the hour, abruptly ending the practice session. The team have changed both wings and are working on his suspension. They are also scrabbling to be ready for qualifying.

  • 12:13

    Above all the driver incidents, eyes are on the skies as clouds have been moving in from the sea and there are drops of rain starting to fall.

  • 12:15

    Monaco tyre lineupThe tyre choices this weekend are soft (yellow) and supersoft (red). Perhaps with everything else going on in Monaco, the tyres might not be the headline act. Ha.

  • 12:16

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: Mechanics hard at work to repair Adrian's car and set Paul's up for qualifying. Weather still looking unsure about what to do. #FeelTheForce

  • 12:22

    Massa's car has reportedly no major chassis damage, but he's had a gearbox change which will mean a five place grid drop.

  • 12:24

    With the Mercedes duo showing some real dominance around here, the potential for rain could mix things up over the next ninety minutes.

  • 12:25

    We're quite keen to see what they could achieve if Rosberg did get yet another pole position, and had to put his defensive moves into practice around this unique circuit.

  • 12:28

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: There it is... properly raining in Monaco now! #f1 #Monaco #Q1

  • 12:35
    2013 Pole Positions
    1Sebastian Vettel2
    2Nico Rosberg2
    3Lewis Hamilton1
  • 12:40

    Pole position last year was Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes with a 1:14.301. He was given a penalty after that, but shows the Mercedes like this circuit... in the dry.

  • 12:41

    Clouds over the harbour, via @Lotus_F1Team.

  • 12:48

    TweetTweet from @ShellMotorsport: Nearly time for Qualifying. It's important to be on pole in #MonacoGP - from 2004 to 2012, the pole man has only failed to win once #F1

  • 12:49

    The rain shower has fizzled out now, but there's still moisture in the air over Monaco.

  • 12:51

    Just under ten minutes left until qualifying begins.

  • 12:54
    Historical Session Times
    Year: 2012
    Free Practice 1Alonso1:16.265
    Free Practice 2Button1:15.746
    Free Practice 3Rosberg1:15.159
    The RaceWebber1:46:06.557
  • 12:56

    TweetTweet from @Marussia_F1Team: The pit lane is buzzing with anticipation after an initial rain shower (which has now dissipated into light drizzle)

  • 12:57



    Wind speed1.8mps
  • 12:58

    Team radioTeam radio to Giedo van der Garde: "Giedo, it's uncertain. There's no guarantee the track will get better, it could also get worse."

  • 12:58

    Hurried work on Grosjean's car, via @Lotus_F1Team.

  • 12:59

    TweetTweet from @OfficialSF1Team: what to expect in Quali? well, when it is dry we can hope to just make it into the top ten. if it is wet everything is possible.

  • 12:59

    Pit lane reports suggest Grosjean may be almost there, frantic work still for Sutil, but Massa is the real question mark.

  • 13:00

    At least five cars are waiting at the end of the pit lane for the session to begin.

  • 13:00

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 13:01

    The Caterham duo lead the way out, a slow Toro Rosso creeps out behind them. It's a tentative start as they explore the track conditions.

  • 13:01

    One of the Mercedes drivers is impatiently getting past the slower cars in front.

  • 13:02

    Yellow flagYellow flags for Jules Bianchi, his Marussia stopped out on track, steaming.

  • 13:02

    It did look as though one of the cars was smoking a bit as it was waiting at the end of the pit lane. Could be related.

  • 13:02

    The excellent Monaco marshals are in action, pushing the car out the way, as other drivers slowly make their way past.

  • 13:03

    According to Sky, it's an airbox fire on the Marussia that has stopped Bianchi in his tracks.

  • 13:03

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 13:04

    All cars are out on track except for Massa and Grosjean.

  • 13:04

    Brief yellow flags for Gutiérrez runs off track but regains his bearings and continues onwards.

  • 13:05

    Times are starting to pour in, and Jenson Button sets the fastest so far, with a 1:38. Webber knocks two seconds off that to take P1.

  • 13:05

    Yellow flagYellow flags again.

  • 13:06

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 13:06

    We didn't see what that yellow flag was for, they're on and off all the time!

  • 13:06

    As the drivers start to find their way, Paul di Resta has gone up to P1 with a 1:35.7.

  • 13:07

    Hamilton gets on the radio asking if they are allowed to use DRS, and his team confirm there has been no disabled message yet.

  • 13:07

    Felipe Massa watches the screens, arms folded but helmet on, waiting for his car to be ready.

  • 13:09

    Sebastian Vettel drops the benchmark again, with a 1:31.431. Pastor Maldonado is keeping himself up near the top, he slips into second place for now.

  • 13:09

    Grosjean is sitting in his car, the mechanics still working furiously. Massa watches on, nervously. Almost halfway through the session.

  • 13:10

    Sutil shows no ill-effects from his earlier crash to move up to second, as Maldonado improves to P1.

  • 13:11

    Another brief yellow flag as Adrian Sutil heads down the escape road. Reverse gear getting a lot of action this session.

  • 13:11

    Di Resta is back on top, the times are dropping rapidly. Webber zips up to P1 with a 1:27.2.

  • 13:13

    The drop zone currently features Massa and Grosjean, and Bianchi of course. Along with those three, Gutiérrez, Bottas and Chilton are struggling.

  • 13:13

    Lewis Hamilton headed back to the pit lane briefly, but he's back out on track again.

  • 13:13

    Yellow flags again, Maldonado ran off track at turn one but continued.

  • 13:14

    All drivers are on the intermediate tyres at the moment, Hamilton's pit visit saw discussions about other tyre options, but they've continued on the green sidewalled tyres.

  • 13:14

    Nico Rosberg pops up to P1. The times have dropped again, it's a 1:24.826 at the moment.

  • 13:15

    Grosjean's tyres go on and it looks like that Lotus may be heading out on track very soon.

  • 13:16

    Button reports his rear tyres are going, so there may be a McLaren pit lane visit shortly.

  • 13:16

    Grosjean has exited the pit lane, the Lotus is out on track. Massa remains in the garage for now.

  • 13:17

    Bottas comes in for a racing stop, via @WilliamsF1Team.

  • 13:18

    Hamilton's at the top of the timesheets now, a 1:23.779 for the Brit.

  • 13:18

    Just two minutes left, no sign of Massa as yet.

  • 13:19

    Grosjean crosses the line for P1, which is mostly exciting because it means he DIDN'T CRASH!

  • 13:20

    His time is instantly beaten by Maldonado.

  • 13:20

    Meanwhile, at the rear, along with Massa and Bianchi, the drop zone features Sutil, Chilton, Gutiérrez and Pic.

  • 13:20

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 13:21

    Pic has pitted, so he's not going to be making it any further. Van der Garde is currently through to Q2.

  • 13:22

    Di Resta was the only one who could ruin Van der Garde's afternoon, but the Force India gets caught up in the final sector and can't improve! Caterham are through!

  • 13:23
    Qualifying Position
    17P Di RestaForce India
    18C PicCaterham
    19E GutiérrezSauber
    20M ChiltonMarussia
    21J BianchiMarussia
    22F MassaFerrari
  • 13:25

    Chilton finally gets to outqualify his teammate... albeit because of mechanical trouble.

    Qualifying Battle
    MarussiaQualified Ahead
    Max Chilton1
    Jules Bianchi5
  • 13:26

    Through to Q2, a shot of Giedo van der Garde, via @MyCaterhamF1.

  • 13:27

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 13:28

    The second session begins with Vettel leading a queue of drivers out - they weren't quite waiting at the end of the pit lane, but eager to get going.

  • 13:28

    It's still intermediate tyres all round, as 14 drivers hit the track.

  • 13:29

    Just Sutil and Van der Garde remain in the garage. Most are anticipating the arrival of more rain, so trying to get a banker lap in now.

  • 13:30

    Sutil exits the pit lane, 15 drivers out there, it's busy!

  • 13:31

    My live timing flashes a driver's name when they run off the track. At the moment, it's glittering on and off like a disco ball.

  • 13:31

    The brief yellow flag moments are back as well, as drivers push the limits to get a good time on the board.

  • 13:32

    Webber has set the early benchmark, a 1:32.132. That is immediately beaten by Jenson Button, who drops it to a 1:30.7.

  • 13:33

    Vergne returns to the pit lane. He and teammate Ricciardo are currently in the drop zone, but it's not quite meaningful yet. Vettel also down there.

  • 13:34

    Looks like the rain has eased a little now. Could we see slick tyres at some point?

  • 13:35

    TweetTweet from @OfficialSF1Team: for 2morrow no rain expected. so no need to safe the inter tyres. #Hulk on his flying lap.

  • 13:35

    Jenson Button improves to P1, with a 1:23.0.

  • 13:35

    The drop zone is changing constantly, but it has featured both Toro Rosso drivers and Pastor Maldonado for a while now.

  • 13:36

    Vergne is wildly off the pace, 13 seconds off P1 at the moment.

  • 13:37

    Dry tyres on Giedo van der Garde's car, a bit of a gamble for Caterham. Webber has also bolted on the super-soft compound.

  • 13:37

    Looks like more will follow suit, Button and Pérez both with the dry tyres going on.

  • 13:40

    Alonso had to make a judgement call there, finish the intermediate lap or head in for dry tyres. He came in for the tyres, meaning he's got to push now for a time to drag him up from 14th place.

  • 13:40

    The drop zone also features Hülkenberg, Räikkönen, Bottas, Sutil and Ricciardo.

  • 13:40

    All 16 drivers have the supersoft tyres on now.

  • 13:42

    Grosjean posts the fastest time of the session, a 1:18.603 for the Lotus. Behind him, Webber crosses the line to take more than a second off that time.

  • 13:42

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

  • 13:43

    Alonso's first lap put him sixth, but the times have improved so much he's now 11th. He crosses the line for the final time in fifth - he makes it through.

  • 13:44
    Qualifying Position
    11N HülkenbergSauber
    12D RicciardoToro Rosso
    13R GrosjeanLotus
    14V BottasWilliams
    15G van der GardeCaterham
    16P MaldonadoWilliams
  • 13:45

    Grosjean's efforts couldn't see him through to the top ten, whilst Kimi Räikkönen was second fastest in that session.

  • 13:47

    Both the McLaren drivers have made it through to the top ten, along with Adrian Sutil.

  • 13:48

    QuoteA very unhappy Paul di Resta: "There'll be a few people in the team kicking themselves. I'm not going to say too much because I'll say something I shouldn't. There was a clear thing we should have done... Probably the most painful experience I've had in qualifying.

    "Qualifying's a big part of it, today was a key to make sure we tried to do something and we failed to achieve it."

  • 13:49

    Big hugs for Giedo from the Caterham crew as he exits the car after a successful qualifying session.

  • 13:50

    Kimi Räikkönen exits the garage and leads the queue at the end of the pit lane.

  • 13:50

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 13:51

    The Mercedes team push for pole, via @MercedesAMGF1.

  • 13:52

    All ten drivers are out on track, super-soft red sidewalls on every single car.

  • 13:53

    Räikkönen looked like he was starting a flying lap, but he's gone a bit too slow in the first sector for a meaningful time.

  • 13:54

    Rosberg crosses the line for a meandering 1:25, but Hamilton storms ahead with a 1:15.790.

  • 13:54

    Webber matches the Mercedes pace, taking P1 with a 1:15.134.

  • 13:55

    Hamilton goes faster again, dropping the time into the 1:14s. Rosberg jumps him by five hundredths of a second.

  • 13:55

    Whatever the Mercedes drivers do, Webber matches them. P1 for Red Bull again, but Vettel is coming up behind set to beat them all.

  • 13:55

    1:14.333 for Vettel.

  • 13:56

    Button looks a second off the polesitter's pace, but it's a tidy lap for the McLaren.

  • 13:57

    After a brief return to the pitlane, the drivers are back out on track to push for the last stint. There's talk of more rain coming in though.

  • 13:58

    On board footage with Alonso shows some leftover tyre smoke ahead of him from someone else's lockup. Alonso himself is wrestling that car and getting very little result.

  • 13:59

    All ten drivers are out on circuit, still with the supersoft tyres on, but it looks like the pace has dropped off the track now.

  • 14:00

    Having said that, there are purple sectors pouring in. Webber jumps ahead of his teammate for P1... for now.

  • 14:00

    Hamilton drops the times to 1:13.967, but Rosberg beats him by a tenth again!

  • 14:00

    Chequered flagQualifying session 3 ends.

  • 14:01

    Vettel can't improve on third place, and Webber backs off, leaving the Mercedes duo to the front row for the second race in a row.

  • 14:01

    It's three consecutive pole positions for Rosberg, and four for Mercedes.

    Qualifying Position
    1N RosbergMercedes
    2L HamiltonMercedes
    3S VettelRed Bull
    4M WebberRed Bull
    5K RäikkönenLotus
    6F AlonsoFerrari
    7S PérezMcLaren
    8A SutilForce India
    9J ButtonMcLaren
    10JE VergneToro Rosso
  • 14:02

    StopwatchPole position for Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:13.876.

  • 14:02
    Qualifying Battle
    MercedesQualified Ahead
    N Rosberg3
    L Hamilton3
  • 14:03
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:06

    The top three drivers pose for the waiting media. Rosberg smiles happily, Hamilton looks slightly less impressed, as Vettel ponders what went wrong.

  • 14:06

    Button was outqualified by Pérez in the end, but it seems the Brit had a problem at the end. Sky commentators reported the McLaren limping past the commentary box with no power.

  • 14:11

    QuoteInterview with Ross Brawn: "I think we probably went for a slightly different approach to most teams, with two timed laps and leaving the fuel in the car. We were a little bit early in leaving... but I'm picking at details now.

    "The advantage of running early is if you get a yellow in that last part, you've cleared it. There's pros and cons. I was pleased with how the team worked, as there was a lot of pressure today because it was expected. When it's expected sometimes it's hard to deliver but everyone did a great job today.

    We've a pretty poor record in converting pole positions into race wins this year, so it would be nice to achieve it here. We've done some things with the car that should help tomorrow... moderately optimistic for Sunday."

  • 14:12

    That was an exhausting qualifying session but absolutely brilliant! We expected a lot, and Monaco delivered.

  • 14:13

    We got a wet session but also the Mercedes lockout, which means we will get to see how they cope with defending the position in the race tomorrow.

  • 14:14

    Thanks for following the Factbyte Factbox today, I'll see you back here tomorrow for the race. You'd be a fool to miss it!

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