May 23, 2015 / 6:00 PM / 4 years ago

Rosberg clutching at straws after pole setback

MONACO (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg searched for positives after an error, and the speed of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton, shattered his hopes of securing a third successive Monaco Grand Prix pole position on Saturday.

Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany arrives for the third free practice session at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix May 23, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi

“For sure a disappointing day,” the German told reporters after double world champion Hamilton had seized the top grid slot in the showcase race for the first time in his Formula One career.

“But I’ve learned in my career. By tomorrow when the lights go out I need to be fully on it again and I will be,” promised the Monaco resident.

“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 on pole position.

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.

However, the German was fastest in both of Saturday’s first two phases before locking up and losing any hope in the final stage with Hamilton having already established the time to beat.

“I needed to do a good lap, I was going for it and it didn’t work out,” said Rosberg, who planned a quiet evening in with his pregnant wife to prepare for the race.

“Monaco is the toughest weekend in that sense because there’s so much going on. I have just learned to cope with it,” he said.

“I’ll take my time with Vivian and just relax, have a good time, sit on the couch.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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