Nico Rosberg has said that the mistake he made during the final part of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix today was not deliberate, despite it inadvertently securing him pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg was on provisional pole after the first runs during Q3, posting a lap time that was 0.059 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s best lap. However, during his final flying lap, Rosberg appeared to make a mistake at Mirabeau and had to go down the slip road in order to avoid hitting the wall.
This brought out yellow flags, and meant that all of the cars behind Rosberg on the track had to slow down. Hamilton backed off as a result, and was fuming that he had to settle for second place, inferring that it could have been a deliberate move. Michael Schumacher pulled a similar move in 2006 that was clearly deliberate, and was excluded from qualifying as a result.
However, Rosberg insists that there was nothing cynical behind the mistake.
“I tried to make it, but turned out as I was going to hit the tire wall,” he explained. “It was close but I managed to go into the escape road. I know that I had a really good banker in there, so I tried to push that little bit more and went over the edge.
“I thought the track would ramp up and somebody else would do a time. Of course I’m sorry for what happened for Lewis.”
Nevertheless, Rosberg was delighted to have secured pole position at his hometown for the second year in a row.
“I’m really, really happy. To be on pole at home is fantastic, it couldn’t be better.”
The stewards have chosen to investigate the incident and have called Mercedes to their office. For the time being, though, Rosberg can revel in his second pole position of the season that he will want to turn into win number two tomorrow.