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Ruthless Rosberg storms to third pole in a row

May 25, 2013, 9:07 AM EDT

Mercedes Formula One driver Rosberg of Germany celebrates his pole position after the qualifying session of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix Reuters

Nico Rosberg has secured his third pole position in a row during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday, edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton who completes an all-Mercedes front row.

Despite the weather threatening to rain on Rosberg’s parade, he set a fastest time of 1:13.876 late on in Q3 to finish on top, overcoming the threat of both Red Bull drivers who qualified 3rd and 4th, with Sebastian Vettel outqualifying Monaco-specialist Mark Webber. Former Monaco winners Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso finished P5 and P6, but their teammates failed to make it into the final session. McLaren enjoyed a good qualifying session to finish 7th and 9th, Perez ahead of Button, split by Adrian Sutil. Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top ten for Toro Rosso.

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Q1 got underway with most drivers going out on the intermediate compound due to the brief rain shower before qualifying. Jules Bianchi’s qualifying only lasted a few minutes, with an airbox fire forcing him to pull over at Casino Square. The early pace was set by Mark Webber, lapping well done on Rosberg’s quickest time in practice earlier in the day, but the times only became faster and faster as the track dried out. As a drying line emerged, it became a case of being on track at the right time, and Nico Rosberg returned to the top of the timesheets with around 5 minutes to go, only to be beaten by teammate Lewis Hamilton. Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean’s mechanics worked hard to try and get both cars back on track, but there wasn’t enough time for Ferrari. Grosjean enjoyed better fortune, getting out with a few minutes to spare, and the Frenchman even managed to end the session P4 behind Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne and Fernando Alonso. Joining Bianchi and Massa in the dropzone were Paul di Resta, Charles Pic, Esteban Gutierrez and Max Chilton, with Giedo van der Garde making it through to Q2 for Caterham.

The rain persisted at the beginning of Q2, causing many drivers to get out early in an attempt to post a banker lap on the intermediate tires. Q1 star van der Garde made the most of his foray into the second session by running as high as 5th at one point. After the track began to dry out though, the teams opted to switch their drivers to super-soft tires, causing a flurry of action in the pits. With space being notoriously difficult to find in Monaco, the final few minutes became particularly tense as the first times were set on the dry compound. Webber, Raikkonen and Rosberg all had a spell at the top, but it was Vettel who eventually finished quickest. Alonso and Adrian Sutil both required a last-ditch lap to make it through, bumping van der Garde out, although he did finish ahead of Maldonado. Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Grosjean and Bottas also failed to make it through to the final session, paying the price for mistiming their final runs.

All ten drivers went out early in Q3 on the super-soft tire, vying for pole at a track where qualifying is important to secure a good result in the race. Both Rosberg and Hamilton went quickest early on, but Red Bull soon topped their rivals to lead after the first set of runs. With spots of rain returning to the track, it became a question of getting out early towards the end of Q3. Despite the weather, the majority of drivers managed to improve towards the end of Q3, with Mercedes re-establishing their dominance. Hamilton crossed the line to beat both Red Bulls and appear to secure pole position, only for Rosberg to go less than one-tenth quicker and secure his third pole in a row.

  1. jrhawk - May 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Scrolling down the headlines, I see not one comment on F1 racing. Proves to me this’ll never catch on with the American public. They just don’t care about the greatest racing in the world. They continue to revel in roundy-round where my 95-year-old grandma could steer left all the time. Pitiful.

  2. icemanpjn - May 25, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    I never expected it to catch on here. If we had an American team and driver, that might help slightly, but Americans are ignorant and xenophobic, hating anything that they view as foreign, which includes not only the world’s top motorsport but also the top form of racing – road courses.

    At one point I hoped our youth would be our future, becoming interested in road racing thanks to video games wherewith road racing is king, and as the old farts die off, taking their love of NASCAR to the grave with them. Indeed, interest in NASCAR has diminished. However, it now appears that the youth are more interested in childish drifting and “Gymkhana” nonsense, doing donuts in parking lots with their butts hanging out their windows rather than serious racing.

  3. srw5000 - May 26, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Luke Smith (author of the above article) – Please ask Leigh Diffey not to yell the lead changes into the microphone. Also, Leigh Diffey needs to let David Hobbs and Steve Matchett speak equally as often or more often (as Bob Varsha did). What Leigh Diffey makes up in volume, yelling for the blind, (we see the lead changes on the board too, Leigh!) David Hobbs and Steve Matchett make up in analytic quality information worth hearing.

    If Leigh Diffey keeps this up – I’ll have to keep turning my sound system volume down -10 db….

    Oh, and to the previous two posts, did we see you at the Grand Prix in Austin last year? It was awesome. Show you’re a fan and go to the race in Austin in 2013 !

  4. srw5000 - May 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Luke Smith (another quick request) – Also, in addition to the above – Please ask the Producers not to begin race coverage with the Champagne Celebration of the Race Winner.

    ….someone’s got to go after this telecast blunder – Jeez!

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