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Qualifying - Rosberg claims pole in showery Monaco 25 May 2013

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, pole sitter Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Ferrari's Fernando Alonso changes from intermediate tyres to slicks Jules Bianchi's Marussia suffers an airbox fire early in Q1 bringing a premature end to the session for the Frenchman

Monaco is always about qualifying, and on Saturday afternoon fans enjoyed a real humdinger of a session all the way through as Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton beat the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to sew up the front of the grid. But it was close…

In the end Rosberg just shaded his team mate for the second race in succession, to take Mercedes’ fourth consecutive pole position, with 1m 13.876s to 1m 13.967s. Vettel’s effort to make the front row just failed, with 1m 13.980s, as Webber’s best was 1m 14.181s.

Behind them, Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen just pipped Fernando Alonso by two-thousandths of a second, with 1m 14.822s for the Lotus and 1m 14.824s for the Ferrari. Sergio Perez was McLaren’s leader in seventh, with 1m 15.138s, as Force India’s sole survivor Adrian Sutil took eighth on 1m 15.383s. Jenson Button was ninth in the other McLaren on 1m 15.647s, and Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top 10 after a great run for Toro Rosso on 1m 15.703s.

Drizzle over lunchtime set the scene for two of the best Q1 and Q2 sessions ever as the times rattled on to the screen with the rapidity of machine-gun fire. First one then another driver would go quickest as the conditions improved throughout.

Q2 had started with intermediate tyres, before a wholesale switch to supersofts with five minutes left. Webber set the pace, then Button, Perez, Rosberg, Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, Raikkonen, Perez, Button, Rosberg, Webber, Grosjean and Webber again took turns, but right at the end Vettel banged in 1m 15.988s to beat Raikkonen’s 1m 16.040s as the Finn slipped ahead of the Mercedes duo.

Hulkenberg’s 11th place on 1m 18.331s left him as the first runner not to make Q3, followed by Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 18.344s, Grosjean on 1m 18.603s, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas on 1m 19.077s, the heroic Giedo van der Garde on 1m 19.408s for Caterham, after their best showing in a long while, and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado on 1m 21.688s.

Everyone had run on intermediates throughout Q1, as first Van der Garde, then Charles Pic set the pace for Caterham, in turn to be supplanted by Hamilton, Button, Webber, Force India's Paul di Resta, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Sutil, Maldonado, Vergne, Hamilton, Di Resta, Webber, Maldonado, Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Button, Grosjean (courageously, as he had literally just joined in after Lotus had repaired his car) and then, finally, Maldonado with 1m 23.452s.

Poor Di Resta was a victim of circumstance and an apparent team error as the Scot found himself on the wrong tyres at the wrong time, and was the first to fail to make it through to Q2, and thus will start only 17th on 1m 26.322s. Behind him came Pic on 1m 26.633s, Esteban Gutierrez in the second Sauber on 1m 26.917s, and Max Chilton on 1m 27.303s. The latter’s Marussia team mate Jules Bianchi got as far as Massenet before his MR02 expired with mechanical failure, so like Felipe Massa whose Ferrari could not be fixed in time following his FP3 shunt, he failed to set a time within the 107 percent requirement. Both, however, are expected to race at the stewards' discretion.

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