Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
The Formula One circus rolls into Monaco for the most storied race on the calendar this weekend where Nico Rosberg will attempt to retake the championship lead from teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The Englishman claimed a fourth consecutive victory when he won in Spain last time out to reach 100 points, overtaking his colleague in the standings as the German came through in second place.
But after five races, there are only three points separating the two Mercedes drivers with Fernando Alonso trailing in third on 49 points.
The story of the season so far has been the superiority of the Mercedes car, which has picked up all five wins and four one-two finishes.
Monaco's lack of straights may finally offer Red Bull and Ferrari the chance to seriously challenge for the top of the podium for the first time this season.
However, Rosberg claimed the win in 2013 in the Mercedes and he will be desperately looking to repeat the trick come Sunday.
With all the glitz and glamour of Monaco, it is often easy to get sidetracked, but this weekend throws up one of the best races of the season on a devilishly tricky road track.
Read on to see how all the drivers fare throughout the practice and qualifying as they look to get as far up the grid as possible, overtaking being such a challenge in Monaco.
Qualifying: Nico Rosberg Takes Pole Position
Nico Rosberg was finally able to get past his Mercedes teammate in Monaco, taking the pole postition for Sunday's race over Lewis Hamilton with a time of 1:15.989.
The German put together the fastest lap late in the final qualifying session before spinning out, not giving any of the other riders the chance to pass him.
Daniel Ricciardo backed up his strong practice session earlier in the day with a third-placed finish, and the Red Bull driver seemed to feel most comfortable on the narrow streets of Monaco. A good start to his race on Sunday could see the Brazilian finally stealing a win from the mighty Mercedes duo.
Hamilton had dominated the middle sector of the track in practice sessions, and that was exactly where Rosberg spun, making it impossible for the standings' leader to better his time. The Englishman looked very upset when he returned to the pit, as he failed once again to grasp the pole position at Monaco.
Felipe Massa looked strong in his Williams during the first qualifying session, but a clumsy manoeuvre from Marcus Ericsson sent the Brazilian flying into the wall. Unable to continue, he will now be forced to start from the 16th spot.
Speaking to the BBC, Massa sounded very disappointed with the outcome of his session:
I gave him the space and he went over my car. I don't know what more there is to say. The race tomorrow will be very tough. I feel disappointed.
Jenson Button's 8th placed finish was in line with his performances throughout the practice sessions, but the Englishman still could have done better. Button acknowledged he had no one to blame but himself:
I just didn't get a lap together. Q1 was good, Q2 I had traffic with Vergne, But everybody had traffic - I just didn't get a lap together.
Hamilton and Rosberg have dominated the 2014 F1 season so far, in large part because of the superiority of the Mercedes cars. Monaco's storied course is unique in that it places more of an emphasis on the drivers, something we witnessed when Ricciardo was able to put real pressure on the duo in the pratice session and Jean-Eric Vergne won the first session.
Much will depend on the start, something that seemed to bother Hamilton during the practice sessions, as take-overs are notoriously difficult in Monaco.
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.989
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.048 +0.059
03 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:16.384 +0.395
04 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:16.547 +0.558
05 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:16.686 +0.697
06 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:17.389 +1.400
07 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:17.540 +1.551
08 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:17.555 +1.566
09 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:18.090 +2.101
10 Sergio Perez Force India 1:18.327 +2.338
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:17.846
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:17.988
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:18.082
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:18.196
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:18.356
16 Felipe Massa Williams No time
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:18.741
18 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:18.745
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:19.332
20 Max Chilton Marussia 1:19.928
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:20.133
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:21.732
P3: Hamilton Tops Again in Final Practice Session
The third and final practice session took place under clear blue skies, giving all the drivers a chance to test out the super-soft tires ahead of the qualifying session in the afternoon. Lewis Hamilton looks like a safe bet to record yet another pole position, beating out Australia's Daniel Ricciardo for the top spot with a time of 1:16.758.
Ricciardo was only 0.05 seconds slower in the Red Bull car, as Monaco's technical circuit seems to have brought the superiority of the Mercedes cars down to minimum.
Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg finished third with a time of 1:16.874 and will be disappointed with his runs today, as both he and Hamilton made plenty of small mstakes that kept the two Mercedes cars from widening the gap with the rest of the pack.
The English F1 standings leader once again flew through the middle portions of the track but has struggled with his starts for much of the practice session, and the final sector of the track seems to give him some problems.
Speaking to the BBC, he confirmed Monaco's unique lay-out places more of an emphasis on the drivers than other tracks, while taking a not-so-subtle shot at teammate Rosberg:
Generally you'll see the best drivers if they have the car, they make the difference [in Monaco]. So Fernando, whoever he's against generally he'll be ahead, and the same with Sebastian. But the last few years you have seen certain people you never thought would win it, even though you think they are nowhere near as good as you.
Ricciardo appears to be the man of the day, finishing several laps in flawless fashion on his way to a second-place finish. Beating out one of the Mercedes cars has become quite the feat in 2014, and on a track where overtaking is always difficult, a good qualifying time could see the Australian challenge Hamilton and Rosberg for his first win of the season.
Jenson Button has struggled so far in practice sessions, with the McLaren car struggling for down force. He could do no better than a 12th-place finish during the final practice session, his fastest run clocking in at 1:18.262, and he told the BBC the high-speed corners are really troubling the McLaren:
The biggest problem is high-speed.
The World Series cars are quicker than us in high-speed, and that's no joke.
That is a weakness but in the low-speed corners the car feels really good.
Qualifiers will start at 1 p.m. BST, with the sun expected to keep on shining throughout the day. The Red Bulls and Torro Rossos seem to be giving the Mercedes-tandem of Hamilton and Rosberg some trouble, and we could see a new team taking the pole position for the first time this season in the afternoon.
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||3||Red Bull||1:16.808|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||1||Red Bull||1:17.184|
|7||Sergio Perez||11||Force India||1:17.725|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||27||Force India||1:18.074|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||25||Toro Rosso||1:18.136|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||26||Toro Rosso||1:18.166|
Source: BBC Sport
P2: Alonso Fastest as the Rain Comes Down in Monaco
Fernando Alonso produced a terrific display to top the time charts in a rain-affected second practice in Monaco on Thursday.
The Spaniard, a two-time winner on this circuit, set the fastest lap time of 1:18.482 during his last lap of the session.
The rain had kept most of the drivers in for much of the session thus leading to a busy final few minutes.
Hamilton, who had been fastest in first practice, finished 0.419 seconds behind Alonso, his attempt to go quickest slightly scuppered by traffic on the track.
Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel finished third, over half a second behind Alonso's Ferrari.
Valtteri Bottas in the Williams car had a cracking session as he finished fifth fastest with the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil coming in just behind the Finnish driver.
Britain's Jenson Button should be satisfied with an improvement on his first session, he was eighth fastest in the McLaren, but still over a second off Alonso.
Kimi Raikkonen's session came to an early end when he had a gearbox issue which saw him crawling around the track. He will incur no grid penalty as the gearbox is specifically for practice.
The second practice session of the day in Monaco was a late starter after the rain came down, meaning that most of the cars stayed in their garage.
The 90-minute session only really saw action in the last three quarters of an hour as the rain stopped and the track dried out, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean explaining the rationale, per BBC Sport:
No one wants to run on a wet track, because we don't think it'll rain on Saturday. We don't have many spares of the Monaco-spec front wing.
So we will wait and see if it dries up and then do some more work. We had a difficult first session. The toughest thing is getting the tyres working. They are far too hard for the track.
The fastest laps were not set until the final 10 minutes of the session as all drivers had avoided going on the softer tyres until the very last moments when the track had had the most time to dry out.
Third practice will take place on Saturday morning before the serious business of qualifying gets underway in the afternoon.
Here are the full results for the second practice session in Monaco:
Source: BBC Sport
P1: Hamilton Leads Rosberg as Mercedes Dominate Again
Somewhat inevitably, it was a Mercedes one-two in first practice on Thursday in Monaco with Lewis Hamilton recording the fastest time of the morning and his teammate just behind.
The 2008 world champion clocked a fastest lap of 1:18.271 around the streets of Monaco despite being late to arrive at the track, once again pushing Nico Rosberg into second after the German had been leading early in free practice.
Last year's Monaco winner finished 0.032 seconds behind the Englishman as rain threatened to fall, and Rosberg may be getting frustrated as he continues to narrowly lose out to the other Mercedes.
Both Hamilton and Rosberg looked impressive around the track as the other teams continue to lose out in the pace stakes.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo once again pipped teammate Sebastian Vettel, finishing third in the first session, two 10ths of a second back from Hamilton and Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso, a two-time winner on the French Riviera, ended the session in fourth while reigning world champion Vettel finished fifth.
McLaren's Kevin Magnussen squeezed into the top 10 as he finished ninth but British teammate Jenson Button eventually finished in 11th.
The trend of the season does not seem to be changing in Monaco as Mercedes continues to dominate. Hamilton had said pre-practice that he wanted some more competition, per BBC Sport:
I'm racing my team-mate [Nico Rosberg], so I do have competition and I'm grateful for that.
I'm hoping we have a closer race. It would be cool if there were Ferraris and Red Bulls in the mix.
After just one practice session, that competition does not necessarily seem to be forthcoming, but there is plenty of the weekend left before a winner is crowned.
The only dark spot on an ideal practice for Mercedes will have been Hamilton's struggles as he attempted some practice starts after the session was over.
However, that is a very small blot on Thursday morning's action as Mercedes took control once again.
Here are the full results from first practice in Monaco: