Rosberg benefits from moment at Mirabeau for pole

2014 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Monte-Carlo, 2014Nico Rosberg claimed a contentious pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix after appearing to benefit from his own mistake during Q3.

Rosberg set the quickest time at the beginning of Q3 but then went off during his final run, which caused the yellow flags to come out, meaning Lewis Hamilton was unable to improve his time and had to settle for second place.

It drew immediate comparisons with Michael Schumacher’s actions in 2006, when he deliberately stopped his Ferrari at Rascasse in an attempt to prevent Fernando Alonso from taking pole position.


The build-up to qualifying had seen remarkably few incidents on the track, even when rain fell on Thursday’s second practice session. But the pressures of qualifying produced the first significant mistakes of the weekend.

The first befell Daniil Kvyat, who is competing at Monaco for the first time. The Toro Rosso driver spun on the drop down towards the harbour chicane and knocked his front wing off against the barrier on the right.

Kvyat managed to secure a place in Q2 after having the damaged wing replaced. But Marcus Ericsson wasn’t so lucky.

He was attempting to move up from last in the running order when he came across Felipe Massa at Mirabeau. The Williams driver moved to let him through but Ericsson lost his car under braking and the pair made contact, running gently into the barrier.

Massa’s misfortune meant that although he’d lapped quick enough to get into Q2 he was unable to take part in it. And several drivers who might have bettered their times and made it through – such as Adrian Sutil – missed the chance.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’18.741
18 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’18.745
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’19.332
20 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’19.928
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’20.133
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’21.732


Q2 began the same way Q1 had – with the two Mercedes drivers sat at the pit lane exit, waiting for the light to turn green.

The pair traded fastest sectors and fastest lap times throughout the session. Rosberg headed the times initially but on their final efforts Hamilton moved ahead by a tenth of a second with a 1’16.354.

The Red Bull drivers couldn’t match that pace. Vettel was third-fastest, seven-tenths of a second slower, despite his MGU-K malfunctioning early in the session.

With Massa left on the sidelines, the other Williams didn’t fare much better. Valtteri Bottas only outpaced the two Lotus drivers to move him ahead of his team mate.

Kvyat made amends for his mistake in Q1 by gaining a place in the final ten. Team mate Jean-Eric Vergne joined him.

But only one of the Force Indias made it through. Nico Hulkenberg missed the cut by less than a tenth of a second, knocked out by team mate Sergio Perez, having struggled with tyre locking at the chicane.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.846
12 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.988
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’18.082
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’18.196
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’18.356
16 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes


Pole position was decided in unusual circumstances, if not entirely unfamiliar ones for Monaco. Rosberg dipped under the 1’16 barrier with his first flying lap, and Hamilton fell short of his mark by less than six hundredths of a second.

That was the lap time that won pole position for Rosberg, but the moment he won it came on his next flying lap. Heading towards Mirabeau, having made a scruffy start to his lap and with Hamilton not far behind, Rosberg failed to get his car turned in at Mirabeau and dived into the escape road. The yellow flags came out immediately and Hamilton, arriving on the scene moments afterwards, had to back off and surrender his last chance of getting pole position.

Not everyone had to abort their final runs. Daniel Ricciardo claimed third ahead of Vettel, who was still working around his MGU-K problem.

The Ferrari pair were next, Fernando Alonso over seven tenths of a second quicker than Kimi Raikkonen.

But the focus after qualifying was inevitably on the escalating rivalry between the Mercedes drivers – and whether Rosberg’s mistake was really all it had seemed to be.

Top ten in Q3

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.989
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’16.048
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’16.384
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’16.547
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.686
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’17.389
7 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’17.540
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.555
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’18.090
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’18.327

2014 Monaco Grand Prix

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69 comments on Rosberg benefits from moment at Mirabeau for pole

  1. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 24th May 2014, 14:22

    If he wanted to guarantee a yellow flag or even a red flag, he would have stuffed it in the barriers instead of driving down the escape road after his lock-up.

    • that wouldnt be good for his repo which he knew already

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th May 2014, 14:25

      @kingshark – He didn’t deliberately crash however, he started reversing back towards the track during the session which extended the yellow flag. Why not wait until the session had finished? He admitted in the press conference “yeah I saw Lewis coming past whilst I was reversing”

    • sam said on 24th May 2014, 14:28

      Then he would start from the back wouldnt he?

    • Damonw said on 24th May 2014, 14:28

      So why the hell would you begin to reverse back up the hill?? He knew he was way down on the first sector and purposely binned it!!

    • Oasis said on 24th May 2014, 14:53

      1) In Monaco you do not have to stuff your care into the barriers to guarantee a yellow flag, any run off would pretty much guarantee you a yellow flag due to the nature of the track.

      2) He did not drove all the way to the escape road; he even tried to revers from the middle of the escape road, hence creating a situation where the yellow flag would continue to be waived because of the dangerous situation he created.

      3) It was a well calculated move NR; he had very little to lose by not finishing the last lap, as he will most probably get the P2 in worst case scenario, but he could also guarentry P1 by creating a yellow flag scenario.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th May 2014, 14:53

      Why? Going down an escape road guarantees at least a temporary yellow flag. Crashing makes for a bigger disruption but gives you and your crew a difficult job, when any disruption would have done.

      (I don’t think it was actually intentional, but I disagree with your logic)

  2. mateuss (@mateuss) said on 24th May 2014, 14:22

    I find all this situation hilarious. All the reactions and everything… Especially after the previous comments from Lewis.
    Rosberg set the fastest time, that’s that, good on him.

  3. bigwilk said on 24th May 2014, 14:25

    Hmmm. As a Hamilton fan my brain jumps to conspiracy theories, especially if the start to the lap was poor. The real question for me is “what the hell was Nice doing way off line and saying at the wheel in the breaking zone”?

    • soko (@soko) said on 24th May 2014, 14:35

      Totally agree with you @bigwillk – I gave Rosberg the benefit of the doubt initially until I saw the wheel movement left and right under braking with no evidence of oversteer. There was no rear end movement whatsoever, it was planted.

      If any of you can find another instance of a professional driver driving in this manner I shall applaud you. It’s the same as when Piquet crashed in Singapore, staying on the gas across the whole track and not countersteering until the car was 90 degrees sideways. Professional drivers do not do such things, let alone Formula 1 drivers…

      • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 24th May 2014, 15:55

        You don’t know why he was sawing the wheel; only Nico knows.

        Innocent until proven guilty.

        • soko (@soko) said on 24th May 2014, 17:46

          I’m with you on “innocent until proven guilty” – I don’t think he can be punished when there is no concrete proof he did it on purpose. And I don’t think there can be any concrete proof. I’m just saying that if you can find an instance of a professional driver missing a corner because he was weaving his car left and right under heavy braking without the rear end stepping out on him first, I would love to see it…

  4. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 24th May 2014, 14:26

    Having seen it, I really don’t think Rosberg did that on purpose. I don’t think he even did what Schumacher did in 2006, which was ‘Ooops! I’ve made a mistake, better block the track…’.

    I think he simply made a mistake and disappeared down the escape road like he should’ve done. He was out of the way, so there should not have been an issue if Lewis had carried on full speed and beaten him to pole even if it was under yellows.

    Ultimately, Monaco is notorious for this. If Rosberg hadn’t gone off, there was every chance someone else could’ve gone off instead. The difference is is that in 2006, Schumacher made a split second decision to turn a mistake into a blockade. Rosberg simply made a mistake and bailed out down the escape road, the way I see it.

    The one thing I will say about Rosberg is that I don’t feel that turning up at Parc Ferme and celebrating as if he’d won pole in a straight fight was not a very classy thing to do, given that he did benefit from his own mistake.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 24th May 2014, 14:27

      @magnificent-geoffrey Again – he reversed back towards the track whilst Hamilton was passing so the yellows had to stay out. He wasn’t out of the way – he admitted it during the press conference.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 24th May 2014, 14:28

      To clarify, I mean Rosberg celebrating was not a classy thing to do.

      • Younes (@moumny) said on 24th May 2014, 14:39

        Well hamilton playing mind games on him made it an obvious thing to do. Evryone before this weekend kept repeating that rosberg was too soft for lewis.
        An lewis obviously tried to push in the same direction with his “privileged” comments.

      • Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 24th May 2014, 15:00

        I don’t think it isn’t classy. It’s still pole position and he didn’t cheat or anything so I see no problem.

      • Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 24th May 2014, 15:00

        I don’t think it isn’t classy. It’s still pole position and he didn’t cheat or anything so I see no problem.

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 24th May 2014, 14:39

      I agree with Mag, it was a weird to see Rosbergs behaviour in Parc Ferme, but by then he would of been told he was on pole and that’s the goal isn’t it? He wouldn’t of known EXACTLY why, unless of course you believe he went off intentionally just to spoil Hamiltons lap. In regards to him backing up the lane, unless I hear Toto come out and say “we told Nico to stay put because Lewis was coming or it was unsafe and he ignored our instructions” I don’t believe he did anything wrong.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 24th May 2014, 14:57

      @magnificent-geoffrey I’m not one for conspiracy theory, but a) it conveniently happened on one the few places on the track where Nico could have caused a yellow without damaging his car, and b) the steering erraticism under braking appears to me to be an attempt to induce a lock-up. For me a likely scenario is that Nico thought that there was not much more lap time on offer from his car, and ensured it wasn’t beaten; I am quite sure whether it was deliberate. The language of the car speaks volumes, and I am sure the telemetry would testify that Nico braked unduly late on that lap relative to his provisional pole lap. That said, Nico is a clever guy, and would have known that the telemetry would uncover any deviance, but equally, the extent to which he braked later appears greater than merely brain fade.

  5. Alex McFarlane said on 24th May 2014, 14:28

    I don’t think Rosberg made a deliberate mistake, but if he did it was well disguised. Either way, Rosberg is definitely in Lewis’s head this weekend, I’ve had a sneaky feeling that Rosberg would win this weekend.

    Given that incident and the more or less Noah’s Ark positioning on the grid, could be a spicy race.

  6. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 24th May 2014, 14:29

    @keithcollantine Please set up a poll about Rosberg’s so-called mistake.

  7. gregwtravels (@gregwtravels) said on 24th May 2014, 14:29

    I’m a Hamilton fan, but I am willing to give Nico the benefit of the doubt here. Unless there is some definitive proof that his movements were deliberately leading to the run off, I’ll give him it was an accident.

    I thought celebrating the pole was a little shoddy though. I think given that you ruined the chances for everyone who was behind chances to improve (not just your team mates), I would have thought a more muted acceptance of the honour would have been in order.

  8. Lewis told Natalie that He was on pole and made it clear Nico did it deliberately.. so this might be the end of friendship but it’s certainly added alot of heat between them!

  9. Roald (@roald) said on 24th May 2014, 14:31

    I read on Twitter that Rosberg is now under investigation by the stewards regarding his mistake…

  10. Matt (@hamiltonfan1705) said on 24th May 2014, 14:31

    Rosberg and Hamilton may have been friends before but I’m telling you! They are not gonna be friends by the end of 2014, they are gonna be like Prost and Senna

  11. Victor. (@victor) said on 24th May 2014, 14:31

    In my amteurish and humble opinion, no way that was deliberate. I don’t necessarily think that there are easier ways to do it (a yellow flag is a yellow flag), but Rosberg doesn’t strike me like the sort of guy who’d do it. It might have been an afterthought in the form of, ‘well, it’s not too bad, it secures pole,’ but I don’t think he had a plan of doing it when he left the pits.

  12. IF it was deliberate, Nico will be busted while checking his telemetry, as it happened to Michael back in 2006

  13. marc512 (@) said on 24th May 2014, 14:35

    I think Hamilton is more angry at the fact Rosberg celebrated it, when he knows that his mistake is the reason why Hamilton isn’t on pole. If Hamilton completed the lap and didn’t get pole, then I’m sure everyone would still be happy.

    • Feuerdrache (@xenomorph91) said on 24th May 2014, 14:59

      @marc512: Hamilton already had one chance to beat Rosberg on his first Q3 run and he was slower there.

      • trublu (@trublu) said on 24th May 2014, 15:04

        This is an obtuse argument. Why should HAM be happy with one chance? And why should ROS get two chances (albeit he screwed the second up)

      • marc512 (@) said on 24th May 2014, 15:39

        Everyone wants to beat everyone. But if one person spoils someone’s chance to beat someone, then there will be unhappy faces. I don’t think Hamilton is thinking Rosberg did this on purpose. I think he is just upset that Rosbergs silly error cost him another pole. People are blowing this out of proportion. If it was Raikkonen vs Alonso and Riakkonen or Alonso made the small error, would either of them be happy at their team mate? Nope. Even Ricciardo would be upset if it was him and Vettel were in the situation. It’s hard to imagine Rocciardo with an upside down smile but I’m sure his smile wouldn’t be as large.

  14. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 24th May 2014, 14:46

    Everybody has been giving their opinions and some are jumping to conclusions as well so I’ll reserve mine for some other day. I’ve noticed some other thing though.

    Ever since Bahrain, we’ve seen Lewis coming out in the media to exert a psychological pressure on Nico which we called mind games. Since then, he hasn’t missed an opportunity to try and rattle Nico. However, I found that it’s Lewis who gets easily rattled by Nico. When he won 4 races on the trot, he was all smiley and playing “games” with Nico and as soon as Nico beats him (although controversially for now), the old Lewis is back. His interviews in the press conference as well as with the other media was was reminiscent to his 2011 style. He surely is angry but he gets shaken up quicker mentally than Nico does.

    • trublu (@trublu) said on 24th May 2014, 14:50

      Is Lewis supposed to be happy with how it played out? You quack armchair psychologists need to quit over-analyzing everything ROS and HAM do. You’re not mind readers.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th May 2014, 14:59

      You make it sound like Rosberg himself hasn’t looked very sour almost every time Hamilton has beaten him this season.

    • Kimoni Nakamoto (@) said on 24th May 2014, 15:16

      Maybe. An added factor perhaps is that with Lewis you can always tell when he’s rattled; other drivers are not so quick to show it. It’ll be fascinating to see how it plays out on track. Will Lewis stuff it into a barrier 2011-style trying too hard in an on-form Rosberg’s wake, or will he produce another perfectly judged display of barely controlled mentalism, find a way past and take the win? Delicious.

    • tvm (@) said on 24th May 2014, 15:23

      the old Lewis is back. His interviews in the press conference as well as with the other media was was reminiscent to his 2011 style. He surely is angry but he gets shaken up quicker mentally than Nico does.

      Talk about jumping to conclusions…. :/

    • chris (@9chris9) said on 24th May 2014, 15:55

      You realise Lewis had matched Nico’s pole lap time to that point and had to slow under the double waved yellows at the start of sector 2 where he had been making up time all weekend.
      Deliberate or not, anyone would be miffed at missing out on their hot lap, especially when its your team mate who had no chance of starting another lap by reversing back onto the track

  15. Ziyi said on 24th May 2014, 15:02

    Weather Nico intended to go off is debatable for sure, his actions though after going off makes him look like it was all done on purpose to get the most out of the situation of having gone off..
    He obviously knows his team mate was behind as were other cars, he knew he wouldn’t get back on and around for another lap so why on earth not drive to the very end left side of the slip road to reduce obvious yellow flag time?

    All the drivers know the rules of the track and everyone knows even brief offs cause several seconds of yellows instantly after something happens, to go and reverse back towards the track was stupid (or not if he gets away with it at stewards)

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