Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes, Monaco, 2013

Rain can’t keep Rosberg from another pole position

2013 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes, Monaco, 2013Mercedes’ domination of qualifying extended to four races in a row in Monaco.

Nico Rosberg took his third consecutive pole position and Lewis Hamilton will join him on the front row after a rain-hit session.

The Red Bull drivers took the second row of the grid ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.


After three days of sunshine and ideal conditions the clouds swept in before the start of qualifying to give the most difficult track on the calendar a treacherous layer of moisture.

It was intermediate tyres all round as all the drivers took the track with the exception of the three drivers whose cars required repairs after final practice: Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa.

But one of the drivers barely made it out of the pits before hitting trouble. Jules Bianchi pulled over at the entrance to Massenet with an airbox fire.

In the slippery conditions several drivers visited the escape roads, particularly the one at Mirabeau. But impressively all of them kept their cars out of the barriers.

Grosjean made it out onto the track in the final minutes of the session. He redeemed himself after a scrappy practice by setting the fastest lap with his first effort and comfortably reaching Q2.

But Paul di Resta was left fuming at his team after he went out in Q1, struggling for grip at the end of the session. Ironically he was eliminated by team mate Adrian Sutil.

Giedo van der Garde surprised by getting his Caterham into Q2 thanks in part to Ferrari’s inability to complete repairs on Massa’s car in time.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’26.322
18Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’26.633
19Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’26.917
20Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’27.303
22Jules BianchiMarussia-CosworthNo time
22Felipe MassaFerrariNo time


The track continued to dry in the second part of qualifying which presented drivers with some difficult decisions about whether to switch to slicks.

In the end they all did, but Alonso had to make a last-minute call to abandon a better effort on intermediate tyres and put on a set of the super-softs. Van der Garde was the first to do so and he managed to out-qualify Pastor Maldonado.

Alonso fell into the drop zone towards the end of Q2 but claimed his place in the final ten with his last lap, completed with seconds to spare. Behind him Sutil cut it even finer, but his last effort was enough to secure his place in Q3 at the expense of Nico Hulkenberg.

Jean-Eric Vergne began the session struggling on his intermediate tyres but a late change secured his passage to Q3 for the first time this year while Daniel Ricciardo failed to progress.

But an unhappy Grosjean blamed one of the Toro Rossos for holding him up and keeping him from Q3. “No way, this is unbelievable,” he exclaimed when told he hadn’t made it through to the final round of qualifying.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’18.331
12Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’18.344
13Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’18.603
14Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’19.077
15Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’19.408
16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’21.688


By the final part of qualifying the track was dry enough for everyone to take to the track on the super-soft tyres. The lap times tumbled as the track improved with every passing car, but once the drivers had completed their first round of laps it was Vettel on top, as he had been at the end of Q2.

Alonso was one of the first drivers to change tyres for his final run, giving him two chances to set a time. But his last effort was only good enough for sixth place, Raikkonen pipping him by a mere two-thousandths of a second.

Ferrari and Lotus weren’t involved in the battle for pole position – that was all about Red Bull and Mercedes. Webber struck first, beating Vettel’s time. But the Mercedes were up next.

Hamilton beat Webber’s effort by two-tenths of a second and behind him his team mate was going even quicker. There was less than a tenth of a second in it but it was enough for Rosberg to claim the top time.

That left Vettel, who had emerged from the pits for his final run with only two minutes remaining. He was close to both the Mercedes’ times through the first two sectors but fell short of them at the line, ending up 13 thousandths of a second off Hamilton.

“Sorry guys,” said a dejected Vettel on the radio after he crossed the line. “I think it was there. A tenth was there, definitely.”

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’13.876
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’13.967
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’13.980
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’14.181
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’14.822
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’14.824
7Sergio PerezMcLaren1’15.138
8Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’15.383
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’15.647
10Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’15.703

2013 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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68 comments on “Rain can’t keep Rosberg from another pole position”

  1. finger crossed for a dry race

    or a wet race.

  2. Gogo Rosberg, time to get a payback ;)

  3. Pity rain came today, but not tomorrow. I think Mercedes still go down the grid during the race, though they might claim a podium this time, but I doubt they will keep faster drivers at bay, bacause there’s still a good chance to junp them in the pitlane. Mercedes will not stop first, because they might end up with a two-stopper, while others are fully capable of one-stop race.

  4. Alonso was one of the first drivers to change tyres for his final run, giving him two chances to set a time. But his last effort was only good enough for sixth place, Raikkonen pipping him by a mere six-thousandths of a second.

    I think the gap between Raikkonen and Alonso is 2 one thousandths, rather than 6.

  5. is that a pun or just a typo in the title?

    Great qualifying, so much action, so much drama. Well done VDG, bravo ROS

    The race is romising to be very exciting, and this time, it will get even more interesting THANKS to the tyres. Can’t wait

  6. Traverse (@)
    25th May 2013, 14:56

    Hamilton moving to Merc has given Rosberg the perfect opportunity to validate his pace. Over the last few season Rosberg routinely out performed Schumi but nobody gave him credit, instead choosing to assume that “old man” schumi was no longer up to the task. Maybe it wasn’t Schumi (2.0) that made Rosberg look fast, maybe, just maybe Rosberg was genuinely faster than the 7-time champ.

    1. Traverse (@)
      25th May 2013, 15:03

      *Maybe it wasn’t Schumi’s lack of pace

    2. Alonso bottled in Q3 again!! Not dealing well with expectation this year! He the second fastest car in qualifying and will have the fastest car in the race tomorrow.

      Red Bull were only the 4th fastest car out there in qualifying and will be third or fourth fastest in the race tomorrow depending how well Mercedes deal with tyres. Stunning performances by Vettel and the Monaco specialist Webber. You could just see the commitment of those guys in the corner.

      Hamilton had his excuse, Alonso was weaving trying to generate heat so he’d have tyre heat as his alibi, I wonder Kimi’s excuse will be!!

      1. How do you work that out? Alonso had the joint third fastest car in qualifying, tied with the Lotus and behind Mercedes and Red Bull. In fact Grosjean has looked quicker than Raikkonen all weekend so if Kimi outqualified Alonso then does that not suggest the Ferrari might even be less quick than the Lotus over one lap? Raikkonen and Alonso as drivers are not 7 tenths of a second a lap slower than Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg and Webber, so the obvious conclusion is their cars weren’t as quick today. I don’t know how on earth you can say the Ferrari was quicker than Red Bull, it quite clearly was not.

        1. People forget Grosjean outqualified Kimi plenty of times last year and probably showed more raw pace. Grosjean was a little crash-prone though, so that reputation now precedes him.

          Ferrari’s been quick all weekend and all season. Alonso (along with Kimi) have a tendency to not put it together when the pressure is on. The Red Bull drivers flattered the car. Monaco is probably Webber’s strongest track and Vettel is well on his way to becoming the greatest qualifier of all time.

          Alonso was nearly a second off Vettel on a 1:13 lap. That’s enormous, and Monaco is THE drivers track. On no track can a driver make more difference.

          1. I haven’t forgotten Grosjean was quick last season. However Kimi has been quicker than Grosjean at every single track so far this season, in races and in qualifying. The driver does make a difference, but no way when we are talking about drivers of the quality of Raikkonen and Alonso is that worth one second in this day and age, even at Monaco. Case in point, Monaco 2010 Kubica, a bit of a specialist on street circuits outqualified Petrov in the sister car by one second. Now the difference in talent between Kubica and Petrov is significantly bigger than between the Red Bull drivers and Raikkonen/Alonso, and still only a one second gap.

          2. Monaco being a driver’s track doesn’t mean that if you put Vettel on a Marussia, he will get pole position. It means that the driver can outperform the car.
            Having said that, Ferrari is usually about a second slower than Mercedes and Red Bull in qualy, so I don’t see why you’re so surprised.
            Also, it’s well known that qualifying isn’t Alonso’s strength; he can’t be perfect surely, can he?
            It just happens that on this race it will be difficult to pass and, even if he has a great strategy, he probably will only able to hope for a podium. I suppose the same is true for Raikkonen, but he (and Alonso) shines during the race.
            On the other hand, people like Rosberg, Hamilton and Vettel are better in qualifying than during the race. I don’t see anything outrageous about it.

          3. A second faster in qualifying??? baahahahahahah!!!

            We’ve never had more parity at the top of the field. You guys talk about Alonso like in a Ferrari of the late 90’s. He’s in the best car (only slightly), but the best car nonetheless.

            I’d say Vettel is better in races than Alonso. His record would back that up too.

            With you guys if Vettel does well it’s the car, if Alonso does poorly it’s the car. If Alonso does well it’s Alonso, if Vettel does poorly it’s Vettel.

          4. Let’s see the gaps in qualifying.

            Australia – Pole, Vettel: 1:27.407, Alonso: 1:28.493
            Malesia – Pole, Vettel: 1:49.674, Alonso: 1:50.727
            China – Pole, Hamilton: 1:34.484, Alonso: 1:34.788
            Bahrain – Pole, Rosberg: 1:32.330, Alonso: 1:32.667
            Spain – Pole, Rosberg: 1:20.718, Alonso: 1:21.218

            The average gap for Alonso to pole has been about 7 tenths, which is not far off a second.

            Besides, your analysis lacks to mention that performance oscillates due to other factors: track temperature, track downforce level and such.

            I really don’t think Vettel is a better racer than Alonso. Vettel never won a race when he didn’t start within the top 3, which I think says a lot in the current F1 characteristics.
            Vettel is definitely supreme when he starts at the front; he can quickly build a gap and then manage his tyres enough to protect his lead, but when he has to asshole the car through the field, he just isn’t as good as Alonso, who won the last GP from 5th and last year’s European GP from 11th.

            I don’t claim that Vettel is only a decent driver, he is indeed a champion. But you also can’t deny that, on average during the last three years, he has had the fastest car. Which helps a lot.

          5. to anon said on 25th May 2013, 15:25
            Alonso couldn’t get heat into that tyres (watch again Q3). Do you have any idea why? Maybe, because it was raining=temperatures dropped?

          6. “Australia – Pole, Vettel: 1:27.407, Alonso: 1:28.493
            Malesia – Pole, Vettel: 1:49.674, Alonso: 1:50.727
            China – Pole, Hamilton: 1:34.484, Alonso: 1:34.788
            Bahrain – Pole, Rosberg: 1:32.330, Alonso: 1:32.667
            Spain – Pole, Rosberg: 1:20.718, Alonso: 1:21.218”

            i have been trying to tell you alonso is a poor qualifier and vettel is on his way to being the greatest of all-time, so you use their qualifying times as an example of how bad alonso is in the fastest car over a race and second fastest in qualifying….LOL

            i think button went from last to first in 2011 i wouldn’t say button is better than vettel. if you remember in valencia last year, vettel was well in front when his car broke down. alonso benefited from the fortunate timing of a safety car. it really wasn’t that impressive. vettel going from last to 3rd at abu dhabi last year was more impressive, especially with all the pressure he was under. alonso could have really made vettel pay that race, but he qualified badly.

            also, starting 5th and winning means nothing in 2013. in 2000 it might have been something, but nowadays you just breeze past someone if you have a faster car. alonso also has the best car off the grid so always picks up 1 or 2 cheap places.

          7. @anon (it’d be better to register than always be anonymous):

            RE: Monaco being a drivers circuit- Alonso has won here twice in 06 and 07.
            RE: Valencia 2012- Indeed there was a safety car, and Vettel’s breakdown, but you forgot there also there was an SC at Abu Dhabi, and Hamilton broke down from P1. They were still both very impressive drives.

            @dragon88 :

            RE: Ferrari having a 1 sec disadvantage: 0.7s is still significantly less than 1 second. And the two wet sessions at the start of the season (where Massa’s Ferrari was ahead might i add) put your average massively up. In the 3 dry sessions afterwards, the gap between the Mercedes on pole and the fastest Ferrari was 0.3, 0.3 and 0.5, making for an average of roughly 0.4, even further from a second.

      2. Some typos:
        1) Rosberg having upper hand in qualifying vs Hamilton..
        2) RBR rather than RBG

    3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      25th May 2013, 15:14

      @hellotraverse Some might say Hamilton can’t still adapt to a “Rosberg-taylormade” car, that on the second year Ham will crush Ros.

      1. If it’s a car made for Rosberg then it show how good a 43-year-old Schumacher was to have out-qualified Rosberg head-to-head in 2012.

        Hamilton got paid the big bucks to come over. They saw Hamilton has the missing piece in the puzzle. He’s been a failure so far.

        1. The championship table would suggest otherwise.

          1. *isn’t like Schumacher going to Ferrari

        2. If Hamilton was the only missing piece then they wouldn’t have continued hiring everybody with an engineering degree.

          1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            25th May 2013, 16:37

            That’s because they thought many cooks and a delicatessen ingredient would make the best dish on the menu, but it looks these chefs are just making fast food which spoils under hot weather

          2. Webber’s not a top tier driver, especially at this stage of his career. 11 races from 3.25 seasons with all the resources of Ferrari, all the success of Ferrari since 2000 and in 19 and 20 race seasons is nothing to brag about!!

            The specifically booted Kimi and brought Alonso to Ferrari for his ability to work with engineers. The team is created around Alonso, yet he hasn’t got any closer to a championship than Massa did in 2008. First race of 2010, Ferrari give Fred a car good enough to finish 1-2. They built the team around him and where has it got them exactly?

            This is like Schumacher going to a basket case Ferrari team plagued by politics in 96, Villeneuve trying to build BAR or Lewis trying to create something at Mercedes. Alonso slotted into the highest spending, most successful team of the 2000’s, they gave him a good car from Round 1 of 2010, but they’ve just stagnated.

            They wouldn’t with Vettel at the helm!!!

        3. Dude, this comment makes you look really bad INTELLECTUALLY.

          Lewis is ahead on points.
          Merc has recently hired quite a number of people.

        4. Yeah… because Friday & Saturday results are what matters the most. That Hamilton is surely a joke, being only 4th in the championship after just 5 races of 19. Rosberg down in 9th place is certainly the sure bet. What the hell were Mercedes thinking!?

  7. A lot of questions raised over the quality of the drivers earlier this season, but for each driver to survive a wet Monaco qualifying without crashing is nothing short of sensational. The next time people say that the likes of Guttierez, Chilton and Van Der Garde don’t deserve their place in F1, they should look to today. Thoroughly impressive stuff. Especially by Van Der Garde. Excellent job by him.

    Don’t think any other crop of drivers round the world could’ve managed the whole thing without a red flag of sorts. Certainly not GP2 or Indycars…

  8. I’m not exactly a big fan of Rosberg but I really hope he wins tomorrow. 3 poles in a row yet he hasn’t finished on the podium due to the car. He’s really coming into the zone now and giving Hamilton a real run for his money considering a lot of people were saying Lewis would be light years ahead.

  9. Good performance from Rosberg yet again. If Merc can keep their race pace handy, he should win. And going by Vettel’s recent off-the-line starts, P2 on Lap 1 should be a formality, considering it doesn’t rain overnight.
    The key will be if Raikkonen or Alonso are able to stay within 20 seconds of Rosberg. The duo might want to attempt a 1-stop strategy.
    I also predict that we’ll see Bernd Maylander in his Merc leading Nico Rosberg in his Merc in the early laps tomorrow.

  10. Schumacher was the Red Baron. Maybe Alonso could be the Red Barren, given his barren in qualifying and his lack of wins and championships since 2010.

    1. I didn’t know that Alonso was the 2010 WDC, you are just clashing yourself with these kind of comments

    2. Alonso’s won 11 races since 2010, 5 in 2010, 1 in 2011, 3 in 2012 and 2 so far already in 2013, that’s more than Webber who has been in a Red Bull (4+1+2+0=7). Ferrari generally seem better on race day (especially on the starts) than in qualifying trim anyway.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        25th May 2013, 16:40

        @craig-o tifossis will chase you for comparing Alonso and Webber hahaha. Of course Alonso is a good racer, let’s not be unfair with him, it just looks like at the end of the year he misses the champioship over and over just for a little finger…cough… detail

        1. @omarr-pepper For sticking up for them (for once)?? Haha, 2012 Alonso was at his best but in 2010 he made quite a few costly mistakes (China, Spa, Monaco, Abu Dhabi) which cost him…

  11. As a Ferrari fan lets hope Mercedes start in reverse gear, again. lol

    1. As a fellow Ferrari fan, I don’t think that’s what we want to be hoping for.
      If the two Mercedes cars fall back during the race, it may make it easier for Fernando to pick up a podium, but it would also make it easier for Vettel to win.
      I personally hope in a Mercedes 1-2 so that, if Alonso finishes behind Raikkonen and/or Vettel, he would only lose a couple of points to them.

      1. Here’s some fighting words to inspire the Red Barren!!!!

        “If the enemy thinks in the mountains, attack by sea. If they think in the sea, attack by the mountains.”

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          25th May 2013, 16:42

          by the sea? in a waterski you mean?

        2. @sun_diego – I did not wish bad to anyone; I said I hope Mercedes do a 1-2. It’s very different from hoping they fall behind or that someone in front crashes.

  12. Gutted for Webber, he was on it today, had track position and all. It was a lovely Q3 with all 4 fighting so hard !

    1. Yea it was so tite!
      Very enjoyable….

      Hope they cross finish line really pushing each other for race victory tomorrow.
      We haven’t had that in quite a while.

  13. Grosjean, Bottas, Van Der Garde and Maldonado within two rows. We’re gonna have a situation there in the first corner…

    Otherwise I’m fairly interested in what strategy Ferrari will choose for Massa (will they try a one-stopper?) and how far he will end up the grid at the end of the race. Also the McLarens look decent…I’d be surprised if they don’t take 5th in the WCC back from Force India here.

    1. I can see Grosjean and Maldonado but can’t figure out how Bottas or VDG relates to that at all?

      1. @tony031r You’re mistaking Bottas for Bianchi?

    2. @lari @verstappen – When I mentioned Bottas there it wasn’t necessarily because I thought he would have been the one to cause an incident, rather than because I though he would have been a sitting duck if something were to happen between the other three fellas.

      And now that the race is done, I can safely say I was partly right considering what happened with Van Der Garde and Maldonado at the start and with Grosjean later on.

  14. Steve McGrath (@)
    25th May 2013, 15:43

    Rosberg is v quick here. It takes something to beat Hamilton through every session. Hope Ross Brawns comment about the changes they have made to the Mercedes to improve tyre deg work out.

    1. Ross always says that (he’s been saying it for the past three years).
      I wouldn’t be that hopefull if I were u.

      1. Steve McGrath (@)
        25th May 2013, 16:59

        There long runs in free practice suggest some improvement has been made… but I won’t be holding my breath

        1. Were the cars as heavy (w.r.t. fuel) as they are at the beginning of a race?
          Probably not.
          We’ve seen Merc do promising runs during free practice, but it’s probably always with medium fuel.
          And never replicated with heavy fuel at thr beginning of the race.

          1. Steve McGrath (@)
            25th May 2013, 17:15

            No doubt Ross will have his answer soon enough

  15. Fantastic performance by JEV, Rosberg, Sutil, Bottas and VDG. Guttierez worries me. Hulkenberg’s mistake in Q2 could also be highly costly. Hamilton’s lack of quali pace is a slight concern also, he’s usually one of the very quickest over one lap. It will be very interesting to see what Alonso and Raikkonen manage to do, and whether RBR will try and get Webber to hold them up. Alonso finished 6th after throwing it in the wall in FP3 here in 2010, so let’s see what Massa can do. I have a feeling a Mercedes will win tomorrow, which one will probably be determined by which one is leading after turn 1.

    1. So being 0.091seconds off pole position is a failure?

    2. I don’t really agree Hamilton lacking quali pace, he’s had it before and have had it this season. He just has alot more even teammate to compete with this year.

      1. @theoddkiwi @lari Being outqualified 3 times in a row? That’s not common for Hamilton…

    3. Hamilton didn’t lack quali pace – this weekend, he lacks pace full stop.
      Up until Q3, he’s been significantly slower than Rosberg since practice started on Thursday.

      Given an overall lack of pace, to get within a tenth of a second in Q3 was a surprisingly good performance – it’s his failure to get a decent setup which appears to be letting him down.

    4. Of course Hamilton is going to say his car “lacks pace” if he’s been beaten yet again by the teammate he was expected to blow away.

      Rosberg beat Hamilton in Barcelona testing and he’s carried on from there.

  16. And yet again, Lewis does not wear a Mercedes cap in the post quali interview. That is getting stranger. As I said a race ago, this type of thing is hard wired in the contract they sign….very strange.
    Tomorrow, Webber will have a real chance to pay Vettel back for Malaysia. They have never been this close on the grid after that race. Vettel should worry about his team mate during the race, and i won’t be surprised if RBR messes Webber first pit stop, trying to put some daylight between the two.

    1. That’s why Lewis went to Mercedes. They let him be an “individual” which in Lewis’s world is bringing your pet dog in the paddock, getting sleeve tattoos and being a rebel by not wearing your cap!!


      1. Wish he was as hard core a rebel as Kimi though….

  17. “Some might say Hamilton can’t still adapt to a “Rosberg-taylormade” car”

    It’s 3-3. not 6-0 to Rosberg, maybe ‘some’ need reminding.

    In 2009 when Kovalinen was Hamiltons teammate, by Monaco it was 4-2 to Lewis in Qualifying (and look how that battle ended up), which is what it could have been this weekend vs Rosberg had Lewis been less than 1 tenth quicker. In a car he hasnt been happy with all weekend….

    You see, the problem for someone like Hamilton, if he dosnt whipe the floor with whoever his teammate is, then its considered a failure. 3-3 in a brand new team/car vs a very quick Rosberg, is very solid, and Lewis will only get stronger as the season goes on, and, lets remind ‘some’ of their championship positions at this early stage.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      25th May 2013, 18:23

      you forgot to quote my comment.
      Yet the thing is Ros is beating Ham in a row for pole, and at least Barcelone showed better car management by nico, so people are not overreacting. We are just seeing the tendency going on and wondering if it’s time for Nico to shine.

      1. “Yet the thing is Ros is beating Ham in a row for pole”

        In Spain and here, gaps have been extremly minúte, and in Spain Merc’s entire weekend-long focus was setting the car up for the race, they literally paid no attention to Q setup, it could have gone either way, we’re talking a fraction of a blink of an eye.

        “and at least Barcelone showed better car management by nico”

        Did you miss Bahrain?

        1. So what if the gap is small. Rosberg is getting the better of Hamilton consistently. Hamilton was regarded by many as the best driver on the grid.

          1. Steve McGrath (@)
            26th May 2013, 10:25

            I think many regard Lewis as the quickest driver (Including Alonso) however probably not the best. Lewis does make his mistakes during the race and his driving style is not the most easy on the tyres which is crucial for race pace these days
            According to the F1 Fanatic form guide Lewis is on average 2 tenths quicker than Rosberg in qualifying. which shows Lewis’ pace & not bad for a driver who is in a new team/new car
            If you count Malaysia as a Rosberg “win” over Hamilton then you could say its 2-1 to Nico (Based on Nico’s finishes) but to say he’s consistently getting the better of Hamilton is ridiculous.

  18. To Lewis bashers, the team battle has laready been won Rosberg.

    Too impatient to let Rosberg validate that over the entire season.

  19. Jean-Eric Vergne … secured his passage to Q3 for the first time this year

    @keithcollantine it’s not only the first Q3 of his season, but his career.

  20. schumacher was right. nico is a qualifying ace.

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