Saturday, 25 May 2013

Monaco Qualifying...

Monaco is, by far, my favourite grand prix. Understandably it is the favourite of many, because of it's atmosphere, track layout and individualism. It doesn't matter how much any of the modern street circuits try (the likes of Singapore or Valencia), they never seem to match up to the legendary Monte Carlo. It is interesting to consider the influence that the Pirelli tyres will play in the race, as cars begin to slide around on used up rubber and get too intimate with the imposing barriers.

Qualifying started as an exciting prospect with rain in the air and more predicted. The opening session, as it turned out, was more exciting than the other two, as driver after driver banged in faster and faster laps. Q1 presented the drivers with a wet track that forced them to opt for Intermediate tyres. The excitement and drama was rife, as the track began drying almost immediately and pole position was traded time and again. It appeared that Q1 was going to be more a case of perseverance and timing over raw pace and precision, because almost every car was clocking up a faster time as they crossed the line. The main story of Q1 was Grosjean's great lap, in a car that had been rebuilt overnight after his shunt in Friday practice. He flew threw to Q2 in fourth position.

Unfortunately Grosjean was unable to qualify for the top ten shoot out and there was similar disappointment for Van Der Garde. He put in a stirling lap, in the second half of Q2, only to be bumped down the order and out of the session. However, Caterham can be pleased with a very strong performance and will look to build on that. Paul Di Resta was one driver who fell foul of poor timing, when Force India kept him out on rapidly deteriorating Intermediate tyres, making him a sitting duck in the final moments of Q2.

It looked to be the Red Bull show in the final stages of Q3, until the Mercedes drivers came to ruin their day again. Rosberg popped his silver arrow on pole whilst Lewis banged in a time that secured the front row for himself as well. The important thing to consider is that passing is extremely difficult on the tight streets of Monaco and the sluggish race pace of the Mercedes may still be able to hold everyone behind it.

The Grid:

1N Rosberg (GER)Mercedes1'13.876
2LC Hamilton (GBR)Mercedes1'13.967
3S Vettel (GER)Red Bull1'13.980
4M Webber (AUS)Red Bull1'14.181
5KM Räikkönen (FIN)Lotus1'14.822
6F Alonso (ESP)Ferrari1'14.824
7S Perez (MEX)McLaren1'15.138
8A Sutil (GER)Force India1'15.383
9J Button (GBR)McLaren1'15.647
10JE Vergne (FRA)Toro Rosso1'15.703
11N Hülkenberg (GER)Sauber1'18.331
12D Ricciardo (AUS)Toro Rosso1'18.344
13R Grosjean (FRA)Lotus1'18.603
14V Bottas (FIN)Williams1'19.077
15G van der Garde (NED)Caterham1'19.408
16P Maldonado (VEN)Williams1'21.688
17P di Resta (GBR)Force India1'26.322
18C Pic (FRA)Caterham1'26.633
19E Gutiérrez (MEX)Sauber1'26.917
20M Chilton (GBR)Marussia1'27.303
21J Bianchi (FRA)Marussia-
22F Massa (BRA)Ferrari-