Lack of rhythm costs Rosberg in battle for pole in Monaco

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Nico Rosberg has explained how a loss of rhythm during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday proved to be costly as he finished second behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the fight for pole position.

Rosberg entered Saturday’s qualifying session in search of a third straight pole position in Monaco, but a mistake on his final flying lap meant that he finished three-tenths of a second adrift of Hamilton at the top of the timesheets.

Whereas Hamilton bounced back from a loss of rhythm in Q2, Rosberg said that he moved in the opposite direction, becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the session progressed.

“Probably a bit the opposite to Lewis in that I had a good rhythm to starting off qualifying, which I didn’t have all weekend so it was good to get into it in qualifying, and then lost touch towards the end going for it,” Rosberg said.

“I had to because I knew Lewis was going to be quick. I needed to go for it and it didn’t work out, so that’s it.”

Rosberg explained how he remained confident of pole heading into the final part of Q3, given that he was only one-tenth of a second behind Hamilton ahead of their final runs.

“It was very close and I was confident I could improve on my lap time,” Rosberg said. “[I] changed my balance also as on my first run I had too much understeer.

“I was confident it was going to come my way, but then it didn’t.”

Given that ten of the last eleven F1 races in Monaco have been won from pole position, the odds are not stacked in Rosberg’s favor. However, he will be hoping to buck the trend and become just the fourth driver in F1 history to win the Monaco Grand Prix for three years running.

F1 Countdown for the Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN from 7am on Sunday, before switching over to NBC at 7:30am ET for the race.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III