Nico Rosberg of Mercedes will maintain his pole position in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix at the start of Sunday's race. According to the FIA, the stewards at Monte Carlo found that Rosberg "had not committed an offense" at Turn 5 that eventually resulted in his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, losing his chance to complete what was looking like it might be a faster lap.
At the end of Q3 Saturday morning, Nico Rosberg and Hamilton were both doing one more flying lap as time was running out. Rosberg sat at the top of the leader board as they did so, and Hamilton was faster than Rosberg in an earlier sector, following closely behind his teammate around the circuit. This faster time led Hamilton and others to believe he may have been on his way to move ahead of Rosberg to take the pole position.
However, Rosberg lost control of his car around Turn 5 and drove onto an escape road. This caused a yellow caution flag, which essentially ended Hamilton's lap attempt at bettering Rosberg. Almost immediately, doubts began circulating about whether or not, in this hot contest between two teammates (Hamilton just moved ahead of Rosberg in the drivers' World Championship in points at the most recent race, the Spanish Grand Prix) something a little less than honest had occurred.
Rosberg denied any wrongdoing later but did apologize to Hamilton in the after-qualifying news conference that the incident clipped Hamilton's final lap. Hamilton did not say much in the news conference, but his expression and body language showed disappointment, adding fuel to observers' speculations that he may have been suspicious of what happened.
An investigation took place, and the FIA announced that Rosberg had been cleared and will remain on pole. According to the FIA, the "stewards stated that they had 'examined video and telemetry data from the team and [the] FIA and could find no evidence of any offense related to the Turn 5 incident.'"
This was as Rosberg had said sometime after the incident, that examination of the data would prove what happened.
In the meantime, and continuing throughout the evening before the race, fans on social media debated the incident, some calling Rosberg a "cheater" and others calling Hamilton a "poor loser."
Posting to his Facebook page, Lewis Hamilton said, "I'd had a good weekend so far and I've just been concentrating on my own performance and working on the pace one step at a time. Qualifying was going well today but in hindsight, I should have nailed my best lap before the end of Q3. This is Monaco and there is always the risk of yellow flags here. Of course, I'm extremely disappointed that I didn't get to finish my lap as I was a couple of tenths up. That's motorsport. I have to get the best possible start and then see what we can do from there."
The pair will start on the first row, with the Red Bull team of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel starting in third and fourth positions on the grid, and team Ferrari with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen starting fifth and sixth.
TV coverage of the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix begins on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET switching to NBC proper at 7:30 a.m.ET.