F1 2013 Monaco Grand Prix: ‘Struggling’ Hamilton chasing Monte Carlo victory
PUBLISHED: 09:35 26 May 2013 | UPDATED: 09:39 26 May 2013
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton will start the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix from the front row today (Sunday) after struggling with his Mercedes car, while teammate Nico Rosberg will go from pole position.
2013 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying result
Top 10 qualifying result from Circuit de Monaco
1 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
4 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
6 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
7 Sergio Perez (McLaren)
8 Adrian Sutil (Force India)
9 Jenson Button (McLaren)
10 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
Rosberg and Hertfordshire-born Hamilton claimed the second consecutive front-row lockout for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team in Saturday’s qualifying session around the Circuit de Monaco.
Nico Rosberg was fastest in every practice session of the weekend prior to qualifying and took his third successive pole position with a lap of 1m 13.876s in Q3. Hamilton’s best lap was a 1m 13.967s.
The 0.091s gap between the two Mercedes drivers is equivalent to less than a car length around the 3.340km Monaco lap.
Hamilton, 28, said: “Congratulations to Nico and the team today, a great job all round.
“It’s a big improvement for me after struggling in the practice sessions here, so I’m really happy to be on the front row of the grid.
“I didn’t have a great first sector on my lap but after that it really came together.”
It promises to be a battle of the Silver Arrows against the Red Bulls off the start line, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber on the second row of the grid.
The Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari are on the third row.
With overtaking notoriously difficult around the tight, barrier-lined street circuit, tyre management and pitstop strategy are likely to decide the podium positions.
Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, said: “I’ve got some work to do as I haven’t felt completely comfortable in the car this weekend but I’m confident that we can have a good race tomorrow and we’ll be aiming to get the best possible result for the team.”
After out-qualifying Hamilton again, Rosberg said: “It’s a great feeling to be on pole in the city where I grew up and it means so much to me to drive through the streets here in a Silver Arrow.
“The conditions were really difficult out there today [Saturday] with the rain at the start but we handled it well.”
Despite securing his third grand prix pole in a row, Rosberg acknowledges Mercedes have struggled on race days – but hopes the team has finally turned the corner.
“I have to say thank you to everybody at the team for all of their hard work in improving our car and our performance so much since last year,” said Rosberg.
“Having said that, we know that race pace has been our weakness. We’ve learnt a lot since the last race, and this track should suit us, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow [Sunday] to find out if this will be enough.”
Rain at the start of qualifying made the tortuous streets of Monte Carlo slippery in places, and Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn praised his drivers for putting both cars on the front row again – just as they had done in Spain.
Speaking after Monaco qualifying, Brawn said: “That was a tricky session and the weather kept us on our toes for the whole hour.
“Nico, Lewis and the whole team did a great job throughout qualifying to put us in the perfect position at the front of the grid for tomorrow [Sunday].
“We are well aware of our fate in the last few races and we have to make sure that we are in better shape for tomorrow.
“I believe we have moved in the right direction and we’ll see tomorrow if those improvements are enough and we can have a good race.”
Monaco Grand Prix
* Race distance: 78 laps (260.520km/161.887 miles)
* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 3.340km/2.075 miles
* 2012 winne: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB8) 78 laps in 1hr46m06.557s 147.312km/h)
* 2012 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB8) 1m14.381s 161.654km/h)
* Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m14.439s (161.528km/h)
Mercedes director Toto Wolff felt the team got it spot on in qualifying.
“What a fantastic result and a brilliant performance from both drivers,” said Wolff.
“There was a lot to lose at the beginning of the session in the wet conditions and it was important to judge the right changeover point from intermediate to dry tyres.
“The team did a perfect job of keeping both drivers in the chase and they then delivered the rest out on track.
“Of course we are very pleased this afternoon but, at the risk of sounding like I am repeating myself, we know it’s tomorrow that really counts.”
The 2013 Monaco Grand Prix starts at 1pm BST on Sunday.
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