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Qualifying analysis - glitch costs Ricciardo as Williams struggle

23 May 2015

Red Bull were back on form in Monte Carlo, but it could have been even better as Daniel Ricciardo felt third was within his grasp. He wasn't the only man lamenting bad luck, however, as qualifying threw up several surprises. We take a team-by-team look at how Saturday played out in the Principality...

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 15.098s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 15.440s, P2

Mercedes were beaten to the fastest time by Ferrari in FP3, though there were perhaps extenuating circumstances given that they opted for a different strategy to the rest and hit traffic in what was a generally messy finish. It wasn't exactly a shock therefore to see them top Q1 and Q2, although it was Rosberg this time who starred, in contrast to Hamilton's grandeur on Thursday.

The Briton in fact had a messy time trying to generate temperature in his tyres and time his runs neatly, and also didn't get a front wing adjustment he should have received prior to the start of Q2, requiring him to pit. But just as it appeared Rosberg had the upper hand, their fortunes turned again. Hamilton found his rhythm in Q3 and socked it to his team mate. Rosberg said his own newly-found rhythm disappeared at that point, but he's hopeful for the race. From his long-awaited first-ever F1 pole in Monte Carlo, however, Hamilton is going to be hard to beat. It's his race to lose.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 15.849s, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 16.427s, P6

Vettel suggested that he didn't quite get everything out of the Ferrari, which had been faster than the Mercedes in FP3, but said that he was pretty happy to start third - and that he hopes to split the silver cars from the start. Raikkonen, having walloped the wall at Sainte Devote and punctured a tyre in FP3, complained of oversteer, especially at Portier, in qualifying and actually skimmed the wall there on his first run in Q3. On his second he lost time behind one of the Toro Rossos.

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 16.041s, P4
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 16.182s, P5

Red Bull had a very solid qualifying session at last, and looked much more like their old selves. Ricciardo and Kvyat were very evenly matched, and look good for some decent points tomorrow. But the Australian was disappointed by what was described as a communication glitch which he felt cost him a shot at third place.

Toro Rosso
Carlos Sainz 1m 16.931s, P8, will start from pit lane
Max Verstappen, 1m 16.957s, P10, will start P9

Toro Rosso lost a little bit of pace come Q3 as both drivers struggled to get temperature into their tyres. This was a big shame after their startlingly impressive performances earlier in the weekend. But they seemed to have eighth and 10th places sewn up until the stewards dropped the Spaniard off the grid and into a pit lane start after he'd inadvertently missed a mandatory weight check in Q1. As he said, that was massively disappointing.

Force India
Sergio Perez, 1m 16.808s, P7
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 17.193s, P13, will start P11

Force India came here hoping to spring a surprise, and they certainly did that. Perez, in excellent form, was sixth after the first runs in Q3, but dropped to seventh when he had to sit out the second runs because he'd run out of tyres. Hulkenberg was unlucky to miss Q3 by fractions of a second.

Lotus
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 16.946s, P9, will start P8
Romain Grosjean, 1m 17.007s, P11, will start P15

Maldonado did a good job to put his E23 Hybrid ninth on the grid, while Grosjean was unlucky to miss out on Q3 by just eight-thousandths of a second. He blamed himself for locking a front wheel and losing four-tenths of a second. He was unluckier still to get a five-place grid penalty after the team had to replace his gearbox following loss of fourth gear at the last round in Barcelona.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 17.093s, P12, will start P10
Fernando Alonso, 1m 26.632s, P15, will start P13

Button was so much happier with his car here than in the race in Barcelona, and said it gave him huge confidence. On his best Q2 lap he lost half a second with yellow flags in the first sector, yet ended the lap only a tenth off a Q3 slot. He felt that had he made the final session he could have challenged for seventh or eighth on the grid. Alonso was completely out of luck in Q2, gliding to a halt on the exit to Sainte Devote when his MP4-30 switched itself off as he went past the pits.

Williams
Felipe Massa, 1m 17.278s, P14, will start P12
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 18.434s, P17, will start P16

Williams continue to be hurt by the inherent understeer in the FW37, which exacerbated the tyre warm-up problems that were affecting everyone. Bottas in particular struggled with that, and was dumped out in Q1. Massa managed to make it into Q2, but for the first time this year Williams weren't represented in the pole shootout.

Sauber
Felipe Nasr, 1m 18.101s, P16, will start P14
Marcus Ericsson, 1m 18.513s, P18, will start P17

Sauber continued to struggle for grip and traction, and despite a superb early effort from Nasr when he really got the times out of the C34 early on in Q1 on the supersofts, the Brazilian could only manage 16th. Ericsson was slightly happier as he closed the gap to his team mate, but was only 18th after running into traffic.

Marussia
Will Stevens, 1m 20.655s, P19, will start P18
Roberto Merhi, 1m 20.904s, P20, will start P19

Yet again, Marussia had a trouble-free time as both cars ran reliably. Merhi was much happier with his car here, where his weight is less of an issue, and challenged Stevens strongly. The latter, as usual, hardly put a wheel wrong.