F1 2015 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying result: Hamilton claims pole position

PUBLISHED: 15:12 23 May 2015 | UPDATED: 19:19 23 May 2015

Lewis Hamilton driving around the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton driving around the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes-Benz

World champion Lewis Hamilton claimed the first Monaco Grand Prix pole position of his Formula One career in qualifying today (Saturday).

The 30-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas driver from Hertfordshire will line-up on the front row of the grid in the Principality tomorrow (Sunday) ahead of Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg.

A delighted Hamilton clocked a mighty lap of 1m 15.098s in Q3 to take pole, with German Rosberg second fastest in the provisional qualifying results with a time of 1m 15.440s.

It is the Mercedes team’s fourth front-row lockout of the season so far.

Hamilton said: “I can’t express how happy I am to be on pole at Monaco.

Monaco Grand Prix facts and stats: The race

* Start time: 1400 (local)/1300 (BST)

* Race distance: 78 laps (full World Championship points awarded after 75 per cent distance/58 laps)

* 2014 winner: Nico Rosberg

* 2014 pole position: Nico Rosberg 1m15.989s 158.233km/h

* 2014 fastest lap: Kimi Raikkonen 1m18.479s 153.213km/h

* Chances of a Safety Car: High. Statistically, there’s an 80 per cent chance of a Safety Car – largely due to the lack of run-off. There was one Safety Car period last year, following an accident involving Adrian Sutil.

* Don’t put the kettle on... – Between laps 25-27. With it being so difficult to overtake around Monaco, track position is king. Last year’s race was won using a one-stop strategy, the top four cars starting on the Supersoft tyre and then switching to the Soft.

* Weather forecast: It’s unpredictable in Monaco at this time of year. However, the guidebooks tell us that the Principality receives 300 days of sunshine per year, so there’s more chance of sun than rain.

“It’s incredibly special.”

Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel was third in qualifying with a lap of 1m 15.849s around the Circuit de Monaco.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull, with team-mate Daniil Kvyat fifth in the Monte Carlo standings.

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth for Ferrari, with Force India’s Sergio Perez seventh.

Monaco facts and stats: The track

* First race: 1950

* Circuit length: 3.340km/2.075 miles

* Run to Turn One: 210 metres

* Longest straight: 510km, on the approach to Turn One.

* Top speed: 295km/h on the approach to the chicane.

* DRS Zones: One – on the approach to Turn One.

* Key corner: Casino Square. The entry and the exit are both blind, requiring bravery and precision from the driver to get right.

* Pitlane length: 301 metres.

* Major changes for 2015: Re-surfacing work.

Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz, Lotus star Pastor Maldonado and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen completed the top 10 shootout placing, although Sainz was later penalised and will start from the pit lane.

Hamilton claimed his first ever pole position in Monaco, and the 43rd of his career, with a stunning time just 1.5 seconds slower than the all-time track record.

He said: “My first Monaco pole position; it’s felt a long time coming.”

The Option tyre required unusual preparation today, with all drivers in Q3 running a slow lap to build temperatures before setting their timed laps.

Did you know?

The 1950 Monaco Grand Prix remains the slowest World Championship race ever staged.

Juan Manuel Fangio won it at an average speed of 61.329mph.

By comparison, Nico Rosberg won last year’s race at an average of 88.74mph.

Both Mercedes drivers ran two sets of Prime tyres in Q1, then two sets of Option tyres in Q2 and Q3 respectively.

Hamilton said: “Today, bringing the tyres in was tricky. We had to do an out-lap, warm-up lap then fast lap. We had to do that for both tyres.”

The Stevenage-born racer added: “It’s an important day for me, looking back through every year at Monaco generally it’s been quite poor.

“Sometimes I’ve had the car, sometimes I haven’t.

Monaco facts and stats: The car

* Fuel consumption: 1.5kg per lap, the lowest fuel consumption of the year.

* Full throttle: 50 per cent.

* Brake wear: Medium. There are 12 braking events, of which six are quite severe.

* Gear changes: 48 per lap/3744 per race.

“I’ve lived here for the last few years so it makes this pole position even more special.

“There’s still a long way to go, it’s only half the job. It’s going to be mentally and physically challenging tomorrow but I’m looking forward to it.

“A big thank you to the team; the performance we have in the car is outstanding and they’ve been working very hard.

“I think the last pole position for me here was in GP2 in 2006, so I hope I can take advantage of it tomorrow in the race.”

Rosberg made it an all-Mercedes front row for the fourth time this season, and claimed his fourth consecutive front row grid slot in Monte Carlo into the bargain.

The German driver said: “I found a good way into qualifying today, had a good Q2, but then I lost the good rhythm at the end, which is a shame.

“I had to push a lot so I went a bit over the limit.”

Rosberg added: “Lewis did a good job today, unfortunately now it’s getting really difficult to win this race.

“But I will dream tonight of my Barcelona start and hope to have another one tomorrow.”

Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, praised both his drivers after completing yet another front-row lockout.

Wolff said: “Congratulations to both drivers because we have done the first half of the job now, with our cars on the front row in Monaco.

“It looked like Nico had the edge during Q1 and Q2, then Lewis found another gear in Q3 and nailed the lap when it mattered.

“To set a lap of 1:15.0 around this circuit is pretty incredible, especially when you consider that this is just 1.5 seconds away from the all-time best here in Monaco.

“With Nico, he locked up into Turn 1 on his final lap, which meant he couldn’t improve his time - but it was still good enough for the front row.

“Obviously, from pole position and the front row we can control the race if we make strong starts.

“But we will need to be on our toes and to extract everything from the car tomorrow, because our rivals are close – and will be pushing us hard tomorrow.”

Paddy Lowe, Silver Arrows’s executive director, said: “A front row at Monaco is never easy and this is always the most tense qualifying session of the year because so many things can go wrong.

“Coming out of third practice this morning, Sebastian looked very quick and we were expecting a very close contest between our drivers and him in qualifying.

“As it happened, perhaps because of the cooler conditions, we found we had a good margin of performance over Ferrari but it was, of course, very close between Nico and Lewis.

“They were separated by just over 0.1s on their first run in Q3, then Nico locked up into the first corner on his second lap, leaving Lewis with a safe pole.

“Nevertheless, we let him complete the lap and he improved with a stunning time of 1:15.0 to claim his first pole position in Monaco.

“Well done to the drivers for getting this far with the cars intact and to the team for a fantastic job so far this weekend and a great car.”

While Mercedes locked out the front row, it was another disappointing day for McLaren, despite getting both cars into Q2.

Jenson Button was denied a shot at getting into Q3 for the first time this year after encountering yellow flags on his final flying lap.

He lost 0.5s in the first sector, yet only missed a slot in the top 10 by 0.1s – a strong indicator that he possessed the pace to proceed. He qualified 12th.

Fernando Alonso was unable to post a representative quick lap in Q2 after suffering a car failure.

He rolled to a stop at the exit of Sainte Devote and played no further role in qualifying.

He qualified 15th, but, as with Jenson, will jump a place owing to Romain Grosjean’s penalty. He ended up 15th.

Both drivers gain a position on the grid owing to 11th-placed Romain Grosjean’s five-place gearbox penalty, and an additional spot following the relegation of Carlos Sainz to the pitlane due to a weighbridge penalty.

As a result, Button will start the race 10th and Alonso 13th.

Button said: “There’s always a bit of ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ in qualifying, but I would have easily been inside the top 10 today.

“On my final lap in Q2, I lost a lot of time lifting for the yellow flag at Turn One.

“I then gained a lot of it back – I was only a tenth off my best – but it wasn’t enough.

“And I think we could have had some fun in Q3, too. I think we’d have been fighting two or three cars for position.”

Button added: “The car felt really good – although we still don’t have enough outright pace – but I have a lot of confidence in it, especially under braking.

“Today’s performance shows the progress we’re making.

“The team has done a fantastic job this weekend, and they should be happy because the car is getting better all the time.

“This is a nice little stepping stone for the future.

“Our aim tomorrow will be to score points.”

McLaren-Honda colleague Alonso said: “We don’t exactly know what happened to my car in Q2: I guess it was something electrical because the car switched itself off in the middle of the straight.

“I had no power, no electrics, and no readout on the steering wheel.

“But, overall, the team’s performance has been better this weekend, and Jenson at least has the opportunity to score a few points tomorrow.

“I don’t wish to sound pessimistic, but, in the Monaco Grand Prix, the race finishes on Saturday afternoon.

“On Sunday, you just join a train of cars.”

Alonso added: “Hopefully we can gain some experience of the car, and improve its performance and reliability.

“We’re still too fragile at the moment.”

The 2015 Monaco Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Sunday


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