Nico Rosberg beat his teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.091s to take his third consecutive pole of the season in Monaco. The two Red Bulls who looked rather slow in practice locked the second row of the grid ahead of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Both the McLarens made into Q3 for the first time this season with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button qualifying in 7th and 9th place respectively.
Rain hit the track just before the qualifying which meant that the circuit was too wet for dry tyres. Teams completed Q1 and much of Q2 on intermediate tyres before the track was dry enough for slick tyres. An error by Force India in such conditions prevented Paul Di Resta from making past Q1 and he starts the race from 17th place. Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean too weren't happy after qualifying but for different reasons which we analyse in our Monaco GP qualifying Qualifying analysis.
Mercedes - No surprises
Mercedes again proved that they have the fastest car on a single lap after they locked out the front row of the grid in Monaco. Nico Rosberg who topped all three practice sessions took pole position despite not getting a perfect lap in Q3. However, that lap was enough to outqualify his star teammate Lewis Hamilton who would be beginning to get the heat after this session.
Low tyre wear in Monaco presents Mercedes with the best chance of their first win of the season. Whether they can hold on from their original grid position and manage to pit only once if all others try that strategy, that remains a question. A two stop strategy is theoretically slower than a one stop strategy as the two-stoppers will come behind one-stoppers after their second stop and will have to overtake the latter, something which is not easy on the streets of Monte Carlo.
Red Bull find the pace at the right time
After looking rather slow on Thursday with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finishing in the second half of top 10, Red Bull found the pace during qualifying and locked the second row of the grid. In fact, Vettel and Webber were leading in Q3 after their first runs but couldn't keep up with the pace of Mercs during the second run to qualify in 3rd and 4th place. Vettel felt sorry for the team after he lost ''a tenth (of a second)" during the first sector on his final flying lap. But with only tyre hungry Mercedes in front and chief rivals starting behind, Red Bull will be hoping for a fourth consecutive win in the principality.
Lotus - Mixed to disappointing result
Kimi Raikkonen qualified in 5th place for the Monaco Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso but behind the Mercedes and the Red Bulls. But it was Romain Grosjean who dominated the talks on Saturday. Earlier today, he crashed his car at Sainte Devote, forcing his mechanics to work hard to fix his car before qualifying session. His car was ready minutes before Q1 got over and Grosjean was back on pace straight away by topping the charts. But that lead lasted briefly as the Frenchman was eliminated in Q2 because of heavy traffic.
Ferrari - Disappointment at one side of the garage, the other half not happy either
Ferrari would be disappointed today after Fernando Alonso qualified in 6th place and Felipe Massa stayed out from qualifying after a massive crash at Sainte Devote during FP3. He also got a five place grid penalty after Ferrari decided to change his gearbox. That won't affect his grid slot as he is already starting from last place. The team however may make some major changes to the car and make it overtaking friendly and start from the pitlane but one can't really get a good result from back of the grid in Monaco. As far as Alonso is concerned, he said it's unlikely that he'll end Ferrari's 12 year win drought in the principality.
McLaren's best qualifying of the season could have been better
McLaren had their best qualifying session of the season with both the cars making into the final leg of qualifying. However, they could have had an even better show in Monte Carlo had it not been for a mechanical problem for Jenson Button. The British driver was disappointed after he lost power during his final run in Q3 and could thus only qualify in 9th place. Sergio Perez meanwhile qualified in 7th place and ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil showing that team had made some progress over the last two weeks. Rain just before the session also helped Woking team ensure a good result.
Force India - Sutil makes into top 10 as Di Resta in unhappy with the team
Adrian Sutil made into Q3 for the first time since Bahrain after a late flying lap in Q2. However, his teammate Paul di Resta didn't even had the privilege to compete it in Q2 after a major error by Force India meant that he was relegated in Q1. His team didn't put a new set of intermediate tyres at the end of the session and Di Resta could only manage 17th on his worn set of inters. An important thing to note here is that degradation on intermediate tyres was high because half of the track was dry and these tyres aren't meant for such conditions. Paul Di Resta looked furious after qualifying but prevented himself from saying anything wrong against the team: "I think it was a clear thing and 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 probably shouldn't."
Delight at Caterham
After a poor start to the season, they were happy faces at Caterham after Giedo van der Garde made most of the wet conditions to make it into Q2 for the first time this season. Such a result is great for the Dutch whose seat has been questioned by the media on account of poor results. Meanwhile his teammate Charles Pic qualified in 18th place. Monaco is a place where a lot of accidents happen. If van der Garde can continue till the end of the race without any damage, he might well be able to score his and Caterham's first ever championship point!
Race - A tale of two scenarios
There are two possible scenraios for tomorrow's race. Either most drivers will do two stops with Lotus, Force India and maybe Ferrari trying a single stop strategy. Or most drivers will do a single stop with Mercedes and maybe Red Bull doing a two stop strategy. The first one is highly likely but a Safety Car can lead to the second scenario.
01. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 1:13.876s
02. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:13.967s +0.091
03. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull - 1:13.980s +0.104
04. Mark Webber - Red Bull - 1:14.181s +0.305
05. Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus - 1:14.822s +0.946
06. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 1:14.824s +0.948
07. Sergio Perez - McLaren - 1:15.138s +1.262
08. Adrian Sutil - Force India - 1:15.383s +1.507
09. Jenson Button - McLaren - 1:15.647s +1.771
10. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso - 1:15.703s +1.827
11. Nico Hulkenberg - Sauber - 1:18.331s +2.343
12. Daniel Ricciardo - Toro Rosso 1:18.344s +2.356
13. Romain Grosjean - Lotus 1:18.603s +2.615
14. Valtteri Bottas - Williams 1:19.077s +3.089
15. Giedo van der Garde - Caterham 1:19.408s +3.420
16. Pastor Maldonado - Williams 1:21.688s +5.700
17. Paul di Resta - Force India - 1:26.322s +2.870
18. Charles Pic - Caterham - 1:26.633s +3.181
19. Esteban - Gutierrez Sauber - 1:26.917s +3.465
20. Max Chilton - Marussia - 1:27.303s +3.851
21. Jules Bianchi - Marussia
22. Felipe Massa - Ferrari