Monaco GP 2016
MAY 28, 2016
Qualifying Report - Heroes and Zeroes
By Dan Knutson in Monaco
Max Verstappen, the hero winner of the Spanish Grand Prix, fell to zero when he crashed his Red Bull in the opening round of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo was the hero in the Monaco streets as he won the pole.
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Centigrade.)
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen . Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
A string of drivers left the pits, anxious to get in an early fast lap in Q1 that lasted 16 minutes.
Nasr saw his chances go up in smoke as his engine expired with plumes of white smoke as he came out of the tunnel. The session was immediately red flagged because there was oil on the track. It was restarted five minutes later.
Hamilton blasted around to set a time of 1:14.831; Rosberg was a touch slower at 1:14.873. Then, halfway through the session, Vettel took the lead with a 1:14.610 as Hamilton improved his own time to a 1:14.826.
Verstappen was on a flier when he hit the barriers exiting the swimming pool after bending the steering on a previous barrier. Out came the red flags again. And the red flag period lasted six minutes.
There were six minutes and 34 seconds remaining in Q1. Ericsson was 16th and on the bubble, with Palmer 17th and Magnussen 15th.
The top eight - Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Sainz, Raikkonen and Button - stayed in the pits. The rest batted around the track, and the drivers in the bubble area changed several times.
The six drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Ericsson, Palmer, Haryanto, Wehrlein, Verstappen and Nasr.
The fastest 16 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Perez, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Grosjean, Sainz, Raikkonen, Alonso, Bottas, Button, Gutierrez, Massa and Magnussen.
First out for the 15-minute Q2 was Kvyat. Everybody was on Pirelli's ultra soft compound slicks.
Hamilton pounded in a 1:14.056. Rosberg, Ricciardo and Vettel were all half a second slower.
The top 10 would move on to Q3. After the first set of runs, Perez was 10th, Alonso ninth and Button 11th.
Williams was really struggling and the best the team could do was Massa in 11th and Bottas in 13th with five minutes to go.
All 16 drivers were on track in the final three minutes and Perez was still 10th. Vettel moved up to third with a 1:14.318. Then Rosberg took the lead with a 1:14.043.
The six drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Bottas, Gutierrez, Button, Massa, Grosjean and Magnussen.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Kvyat, Sainz, Perez, Hulkenberg and Alonso.
The lap record - 1:14.439 set by Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari in 2004 - had already been broken in Q2. However, the swimming pool turns had been opened up slightly and so the 2016 edition of the track was naturally faster.
Ricciardo was the first out for the 12-minute Q3. Hamilton tried to go out, but his car stopped at the end of pit lane. The Mercedes mechanics ran down there and pushed the car back to the garage. So all but Hamilton were now on the track.
Ricciardo slammed in a 1:13.622. Vettel could only do a 1:154.552. All eyes were now on Rosberg who completed his lap with a 1:13.913 as Hamilton headed out on to the circuit.
The order was: Ricciardo, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Kvyat, Alonso and Perez.
With four minutes remaining, most of those drivers went out for a second run just as Hamilton started his fast lap. But it was not very fast as Hamilton clocked a series of slow laps before doing a 1:1.942, which put him third.
So Ricciardo held to win the first pole of his F1 career.
The top 10 qualifiers were: Ricciardo, Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Sainz, Perez, Kvyat and Alonso.