24 May 2015

Hamilton captures Monaco pole

2:54 pm on 24 May 2015

The Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has seized pole position for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix denying his team mate Nico Rosberg a third successive start from the grid's top spot.

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Monaco, 2015.

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Monaco, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Rosberg, the winner in Monte Carlo in 2013 and 2014, was fastest in both of first two qualifying phases before locking up and losing any hope in the final stage with Hamilton having already established the time to beat.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel qualified third with his team mate Kimi Raikkonen forced into 6th by the Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo (4th) and Daniil Kvyat (5th).

The narrow street circuit provides few chances to overtake, but Rosberg is optimistic he can return to the top of the podium.

"There are opportunities. It's of course most difficult here in Monaco but there's the start, there's the pitstops, there's whatever -- the weather, I don't know. So I'll just keep the pressure on, that's what I need to do.

"The pitstops are a small opportunity. Lewis is surely going to pit before me, and it's one pitstop," he added. "I need to go for it."

The statistics are against him, however, with the last six races in Monaco being won by the driver starting from pole.

Hamilton, from third in 2008, was the most recent exception to the rule on a street circuit that is so tight and twisty that drivers have more chance of winning big at the imposing casino than overtaking anyone on the track.

Rosberg arrived home in Monaco after stalling Hamilton's momentum, setting up the weekend by taking pole and then victory in Spain.

Last year he was the king of qualifying but that one lap success has deserted him in 2015, with the Briton on pole five times to Rosberg's one.