May 25th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow).- Nico Rosberg has taken his third consecutive pole position with a dominant performance in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton completes an all-Mercedes front row, with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel third ahead of team-mate Mark Webber.
Qualifying started wet and raining, with all drivers on intermediate tyres. Jules Bianchi's Q1 was over almost before it began, as his Marussia came to a halt just before Massenet with smoke pouring out of the exhausts. Felipe Massa did not make it out during the session, after Ferrari had to rebuild his car following a heavy accident in FP3. Romain Grosjean's car was also repaired after an FP3 accident, and he made it out during the session and looked very quick. Pastor Maldonado was the surprise Q1 leader, setting the fastest time in his Williams.
Drivers eliminated in Q1 were: Paul Di Resta, Charles Pic, Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Felipe Massa.
Q2 saw the first use of slick tyres, as the track dried quickly when the rain abated. By the end of the 15 minute session, lap times were close to those seen in dry conditions this morning, but the track was still drying out. Giedo van der Garde, who had progressed to Q2 for the first time this season in his Caterham, spent some time in the top ten, but could not find the speed to make it to Q3 and will start the race 15th. The surprise eliminations at the end of Q2 were Grosjean, who had looked very quick in Q1, and Maldonado, who had topped the Q1 session.
Drivers eliminated in Q2: Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Bottas, Van der Garde, Maldonado.
Q3 started relatively dry and finished very dry. All drivers went out on scrubbed slicks and then switched to a new set of supersoft tyres mid-way through the session. Towards the end, it looked like the Red Bull pair of Vettel and Webber might take the top two spots, but they were beaten in the dying moments by Lewis Hamilton and then Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes drivers were separated by less than a tenth of a second at the front.
It's the fourth Mercedes pole position in as many races. But there have been no victories yet this season for the Silver Arrows. Rosberg and Hamilton will be aiming to change that tomorrow, but it will all depend on tyre management. If the Mercedes drivers can keep their tyres together, it will be very hard to beat them in the race.
Full results from qualifying:
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:24.243||1:15.988||1:13.980||29|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.352||1:17.322||1:14.181||30|
|8||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.108||1:17.261||1:15.383||29|
|15||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:26.095||1:19.408||21|
|17||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.322||14|
|21||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||No time||1|
|22||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||No time|
|Q1 107% Time||1:29.293|