Ricciardo on top form with Monaco Grand Prix pole

Daniel Ricciardo claimed pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix while his Red Bull Racing’s team-mate Max Verstappen missed qualifying following his practice crash.

The honey badger topped the first two stages of qualifying, with Verstappen unable even to take to the street circuit thanks to damage sustained in a crash at the second part of Swimming Pool that forced a gearbox change, before banging in a one minute, 10.810 seconds on his first run in Q3 to take top spot.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton briefly threatened Ricciardo’s position with the fastest first sector time of qualifying on his final lap, but lost time later and ended up third behind Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, looked set to improve, but lost time in the final sector and ended up posting a lap 0.036 seconds slower than his first attempt.

This is only Ricciardo’s second pole position in Formula 1, coming two years after his first at the same event.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, just 0.034 seconds slower than Hamilton, with the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in fifth place.

Of the Q3 runners, only the Mercedes drivers attempted an alternative strategy by using ultrasofts compound for their first runs in Q2.

But neither Hamilton nor Bottas were quick enough and had to run again on hypersofts, meaning all of the top ten will start on the softest Pirelli compound.

Esteban Ocon won the battle for best of the rest in sixth place, with just 0.160 seconds covering the bottom five in Q3.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Renault’s Carlos Sainz, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly completed the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg’s final lap in Q2 was not good enough to get him into the top ten, falling a tenth short of Gasly’s time.

McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne was shuffled down to P12 having been sixth based on his time on the first runs thanks to failing to improve on his second set of tyres – potentially as a result of a minor problem with the car.

Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc were eighth and ninth respectively in Q1, but ended up P13 and P14 overall despite both making slight improvements in the second stage of qualifying.

Romain Grosjean was P15 for Haas, just 0.014 seconds slower than Leclerc, as the team continued to struggle.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1 in P16.

His first run was not quick enough to avoid the drop zone, and he was only able to make an improvement of 0.224 seconds on his second set of hypersofts.

A yellow flag at Ste Devote because of Leclerc’s off meant he could not make a final attempt to get into the top 15.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was P17 ahead of the Williams of Lance Stroll, with Kevin Magnussen’s difficult weekend continuing with P19 and last place of the runners ahead only of Verstappen.

So a contrast of fortunes for Red Bull Racing. Daniel Ricciardo is on mighty form after setting the pace in all three practice sessions and qualifying leading to pole position.

While Max Verstappen suffered a crash in final practice and was unable to part in Q1. Will start the Monaco Grand Prix last. Sunday’s race should be fascinating. Bring on the street fight.

Qualifying positions, Monaco Grand Prix:

1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m10.810s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m11.039s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.232s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.266s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m11.441s
6 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m12.061s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m12.110s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m12.130s
9 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m12.154s
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m12.221s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.411s
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m12.440s
13 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m12.521s
14 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m12.714s
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.179s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m13.265s
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m13.323s
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.728s
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m13.393s
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault –

8 thoughts to “Ricciardo on top form with Monaco Grand Prix pole”

  1. Max Verstappen will start the Monaco Grand Prix last after failing to take part in qualifying following his heavy crash in final practice.

    Verstappen clipped the inside wall on the entry to the second chicane at the Swimming Pool section in FP3, which broke the front-right and sent his Red Bull careering into the barriers on the outside.

    The damage was so severe that Red Bull, which has had to change Verstappen’s gearbox, could not repair the car in time to get him out for the first part of qualifying.

    It means one of the pre-race favourites will start from the back of the grid, unless Red Bull opts for a pitlane start.

    Verstappen was on course to top FP3 before his crash, as Red Bull has dominated proceedings in Monte Carlo so far.

    His teammate Daniel Ricciardo has been quickest in all three practice sessions and headed the order in Q1 by four tenths of a second.

    Brendon Hartley, Marcus Ericsson, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen were the other drivers eliminated in the first part of qualifying.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  2. Monaco Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    It’s one thing to have the best car, quite another to make the most of it. Fortunately for Red Bull, while Max Verstappen threw his weekend away with a big crash in FP3, his team mate Daniel Ricciardo delivered when it mattered to take a sensational pole in Monaco.

    Red Bull had looked mighty all weekend, securing one-twos in all three practice sessions with Ricciardo just ahead of his team mate. They should have had the front row to themselves, but instead bookend the grid, with Verstappen set to start from last after failing to set a lap time – the result of his car, which needed a new gearbox after his practice shunt, not being ready in time.

    But while Verstappen was MIA, Ricciardo smashed it out of the park with a lap from the very top drawer. To reiterate his speed, he pumped in another lap in the 1m10s. No one could come close.

    Mercedes have looked distinctly third-best in Monaco so far this weekend, but Hamilton looked to have sprung a surprise in second, only for his title rival Sebastian Vettel to snatch the position with his final run.

    The other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, ahead of Valtteri Bottas with Esteban Ocon a brilliant sixth in the Force India and Fernando Alonso seventh in the McLaren. Renault’s Carlos Sainz, the other Force India of Sergio Perez and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly completed the top 10.


    All eyes were on the Red Bull garage as qualifying kicked off. As the team raced against time to fix Verstappen’s car, Ricciardo continued his domination of this unique street track with a brilliant lap to end the session fastest. The Ferraris were his closest challengers, but they were a staggering four-tenths adrift.

    Traffic was a problem for everyone, with most drivers complaining on team radio that they had their lap compromised at some point during the lap, but the stewards chose not to investigate any driver for blocking.

    Valtteri Bottas left it late to escape the drop zone, but Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley – who complained that a Force India had tried to put him in the wall – was eliminated along with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Williams’ Lance Stroll and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, who was eliminated in Q1 for the first time this year.


    Mercedes rolled the dice in Q2 as they chose to fit both Hamilton and Bottas with the ultrasoft tyres, while everyone else opted to continue on the quicker hypersofts.

    There’s around a second between the two compounds, so it was a high-risk strategy that might have paid off handsomely in the race. But after a single run, Hamilton described the rubber as “terrible” and they abandoned the play, returning to the pink-marked hypersofts for their final runs.

    Ricciardo looked mighty once more. Not content with his table topping first lap, the Australian headed back out and improved his benchmark once more, moving just over a tenth clear of Raikkonen, as Ferrari appeared more threatening.

    His team mate Vettel and the two Mercedes safely made it through, ahead of the two Force Indias who emerged as best of the rest in qualifying trim.

    But Gasly was arguably the star of this segment, the Toro Rosso driver scraping into the top 10, at the expense of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber’s local hero Charles Leclerc and Haas’s Romain Grosjean also failed to make the cut.


    Qualifying mode? What qualifying mode? Ferrari looked like they may threaten Red Bull for pole, but Ricciardo was having none of it in Q3.

    His first lap out of the box was epic, the Australian becoming the first driver – and as it turned out only driver – to break into the 1m 10s, smashing the track record in the process.

    He then asked “how much are we quickest by?” He needn’t have worried, with a stunning four-tenths of a second tucked in his pocket. He went again and clocked a lap that was just 0.036s slower than his benchmark. It didn’t matter. He still had a 0.25s lead.

    After heading out late, Vettel improved on his second run to jump Hamilton and go second quickest. The Briton had briefly set the timing screens purple in sector one on his final run, but in the end faded as the lap went on, with an error at the last corner the final nail in the coffin. Still, with Mercedes looking a distinct third best this weekend, Hamilton will be pleased to have split the Ferraris.

    The second Silver Arrow of Bottas settled for fifth behind Raikkonen, as Ocon took a brilliant sixth.

    But the day belonged to Ricciardo, who took just his second career pole position – and Red Bull’s first since the Australian broke his duck in Monaco two years ago. That year, Red Bull messed up his pit stop, robbing him of victory. He’ll be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice on Sunday…

  3. Max Verstappen needs to stop making costly errors according to team boss Christian Horner. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner says that Max Verstappen “needs” to stop making mistakes, after the Dutchman blew his chances in the Monaco Grand Prix with a practice crash.

    With Red Bull’s car in a class of its own around the streets of Monte Carlo, Verstappen had looked set for a thrilling battle with teammate Daniel Ricciardo for the pole position spot.

    But it all went wrong at the end of final free practice when Verstappen crashed – damaging his car and putting him out of qualifying after the team discovered a problem with the gearbox late on.

    He will start from the back of the grid.

    Horner has admitted that the situation for Verstappen was especially frustrating because the car was so quick but, after a run of crashes this year, he thinks the time has come for him to learn his lesson.

    “This place bites,” Horner told Channel 4. “He got bitten pretty hard today in a session that doesn’t really count for anything other than setting the car up.

    “He is in a car that is capable of winning this grand prix and that will hurt him even more. You don’t get that many opportunities to win a Monaco GP.

    “He needs to learn from it, and stop making these errors. He knows that more than anybody.

    “I think it was a pretty painful qualifying from him, watching what could have been.”

    When asked if there was a chance that the Monaco practice error would ram home the point that Verstappen needs to change his approach, Horner said: “I hope so. I don’t know what else will.

    “We have a great car. He is a phenomenally fast driver and would have been competing for the pole position today.

    “For the whole team with such a strong car to be only be running one legged is frustrating. But I have to complement all the guys in the garage, with both car crews doing their best to get him out in that session but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.”

    Verstappen’s failure to make it out in qualifying came after it only emerged shortly before the session started that there was a problem with his gearbox.

    Explaining what had happened, Horner said that it was only when the car was fired up following earlier repair that the issue came to light.

    “The car was fired up and we saw the oil leak in the gearbox which had been hidden by a shroud and that was it,” he said.

  4. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso admitted that the car set-up at Monaco was like “tossing a coin”. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso says his car’s set-up for Monaco Grand Prix qualifying was like “tossing a coin” after admitting his McLaren Formula 1 team was lost in final practice.

    Alonso, who missed most of the first practice session on Thursday due to brake issues, finished FP3 down in 15th position, saying his car’s handling felt “very strange”.

    The team made several changes to the car’s set-up ahead of qualifying and Alonso managed his best qualifying effort of the season with seventh position.

    Alonso admitted the set-up changes were a gamble and was delighted they had paid off.

    “It’s been a very complicated weekend,” Alonso said. “We lost the first session because of the brakes and in the third one the car was handling very strange.

    “The rear felt disconnected from the front. We had problems on the rear in the slow corners and in the fast corners we had problems on the front and that’s usually a puzzle that’s hard to solve.

    “We made a lot of changes to the car and we went out in qualifying like tossing a coin to see how the car would handle.

    “We saw quickly that it was a different car, that was handling better and giving me the confidence to attack. Seventh tastes very good now.”

    The McLaren driver reiterated his belief that managing the hypersoft tyres will be the key to the race, after Pirelli’s softest rubber has degraded more than he expected since the start of the weekend.

    Alonso, like all drivers in the top 10, will start the race with the pink-sidewalled tyres and it is widely expected that the whole field will attempt to stop just once.

    “I think the question everybody is asking is the hypersofts, how long they will last and how much trouble they will cause,” the Spaniard added.

    “They are not going to pass you, that’s for sure, but how long you stay out is always a risk.

    “If someone stops and undercuts you, then it’s going to be tough. And if you stop early and you are behind a car doing 65 laps on the hard tyre, then you are stuck for 64 laps behind it.”

    Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne missed the top 10 shootout and qualified down in 11th position.

  5. Red Bull Racing’s superb pace around Monte Carlo was enough not to “overdrive” according to Daniel Ricciardo. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Monaco Grand Prix pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo says he knew Red Bull had enough of an advantage so as not to “overdrive” the car, following teammate Max Verstappen’s shunt in practice.

    Verstappen crashed heavily at the second Swimming Pool chicane in the Saturday morning practice session, and his car could not be fixed in time for qualifying.

    This resigned him to a back-of-the-grid start on a weekend where Red Bull has been the pace-setter, with Ricciardo having swept the practice sessions before topping Q1, Q2 and Q3 en route to the team’s first pole since the same race in 2016.

    Asked whether Verstappen’s crash weighed on his mind during his qualifying run, Ricciardo said: “It’s always in the back of your mind here, I guess, because the risk and reward is very real, and it was proven this morning.

    “It’s one of those things, it’s there but it is at the back of your mind. To be fast you can’t think about those things.

    “Knowing we had a great package all week, we need to push it but we don’t need to overdrive it. Just [need to] hit your marks and keep it clean.”

    Ricciardo added, however, that it was no surprise that one of the top cars wound up having an accident.

    “We’re all pushing each other, particularly myself and Max in the same team, so it’s no surprise, these things can happen.

    “When we’re lapping 1m10s, 1m11s, there’s very little room for error.”

    The Aussie said his weekend thus far has been “pretty smooth”, as he and the team were aware the RB14 didn’t require many changes to star in Monaco.

    “Every session we’ve been quick, it’s a bit like 2016 – coming into this race knowing we had a legitimate chance to fight for a pole, knowing how the cars performed the first few races.

    “We didn’t really change much, it was one of those pretty smooth ones. I could just build up to it and find my rhythm and had some fun.”

    His pole position – only the second of his F1 career – was secured with his first run in Q3, and while Ricciardo couldn’t improve on his second attempt as rivals closed in, he insisted he worried about keeping first place.

    “I knew the first lap was pretty good and I felt it was enough.

    “We don’t have as much power in qualifying but we still had enough around here to get it done, so that feels good.”

  6. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton say they knew from the outset that the Red Bull Formula 1 team was going to beat Ferrari and Mercedes to Monaco Grand Prix pole.

    Daniel Ricciardo was quickest in sessions leading up to qualifying before claiming the second pole of his F1 career, two years after the first at the same circuit.

    Red Bull was unable to sweep the front row as Max Verstappen sat out qualifying after his practice three crash, meaning Vettel and Hamilton were able to take second and third.

    “We knew we wouldn’t be quickest, we did the best we could, the car was in a good place,” said Hamilton.

    “My first Q3 lap I was happy with. My last one I was 0.27s up and then I lost it all in the last sector so I wasn’t necessarily happy with that. It wouldn’t have made the difference for pole but we would have been second.

    “We knew what was going to happen this weekend. It still doesn’t feel great, but it’s just one race.”

    Vettel was two tenths of a second clear of Hamilton, but the same margin away from Ricciardo’s pole lap.

    “There’s always a feeling that there’s a little bit [to come] but I don’t think there was a threat to Daniel’s time today,” said Vettel.

    “Well done to Daniel, he owned the qualifying session.

    “They looked strong on Thursday, they looked strong this morning, we got as close as we could, now we’ll see what we can do for tomorrow.

    “We were playing around with the set-up trying to squeeze everything out because we knew we had to if we wanted to have a front row or pole. We put ourselves in a good position.

    “It was expected that Red Bull would be quick here.

    “They have a strong car, they have more downforce than everybody else. At this track we knew they would be strong.

    “Other tracks, I think we have to look at ourselves. At Barcelona we know we weren’t were we want to be. Canada we think will be different again.

    “But the thing is for us that we have potential in the car. For today no doubt that it was the best man on the day, he deserves the pole no matter whether his package was maybe a little bit better. That’s what it’s about.”

    Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen qualified fourth, ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  7. Mercedes fears consequence of failed tyre gamble during qualifying. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Valtteri Bottas believes it will be hard for Mercedes to run a one-stop strategy in the Monaco Grand Prix after a failed attempt to qualify with the ultrasoft tyres.

    With doubts over the longevity of the hypersoft, several teams considered using the ultrasoft in Q2, which would allow them to start on it and have greater strategy flexibility in the race – including the possibility to run an ultrasoft/supersoft combination, avoiding the hypersoft completely.

    A one-second delta between the hypersoft and ultrasoft meant that it was always going to be a risky ploy for anyone other than Red Bull, which had a clear pace advantage.

    In the end Mercedes was so keen to avoid the hypersoft on Sunday that the team took the plunge with both drivers.

    However, neither Hamilton nor Bottas could deliver a quick enough lap on their first runs with the tyre in Q2, so they joined the rest of the field on hypersoft in order to guarantee their passage through to Q3.

    “We were keen to try to find out whether we could qualify on the prime,” said Toto Wolff. “Because starting the race on the hyper will be tough. I think we’ve seen a lot of graining on the front left, and we’ve seen some degradation on the rear.

    “Probably the one who is in the lead is going to manage the pace very carefully in the race tomorrow, and still run out of tyre after a few laps. It could be quite a tricky situation and you would want to avoid the hyper.”

    Bottas said it was worth taking the gamble, and voiced concerns about being able to pull off a one-stop now that the team is committed to the hypersoft.

    “With the ultra, we tried to, if we could have had enough pace, we could have maybe done it,” said the Finn.

    “We tried it. If we can get it working well, because it would be nice to start with the ultra and against the hyper we could do a long stint and create nice opportunities, especially if we are not starting on the front row, but it didn’t work out.

    “I think it [the ultra] is a decent race tyre. I think we can do relatively long stint with the ultra. Small issues with graining, but nothing compared to the hyper.

    “We struggled quite a lot in practice, so I think honestly, starting with the hyper it is going to be difficult to do a one-stop.”

    Bottas said that the Q2 gamble was close to working.

    “We were lacking in the end, from our calculations, one tenth to make it happen. Now everyone starts with the hyper it will be interesting to see who grains first.”

  8. Contrast of fortunes for Red Bull Racing. Daniel Ricciardo on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix while Max Verstappen suffered a practice crash that result him in a non-show in qualifying. Prior to the crash in FP3, Verstappen admitted the weekend felt “very easy”. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen admitted the Monaco Grand Prix weekend was looking “very easy” for the Red Bull Formula 1 team before the practice crash that left him last on the grid.

    While his teammate Daniel Ricciardo went fastest in every session before taking pole, Verstappen – who had been second on Thursday – missed qualifying completely as a result of a crash in the final minutes of Saturday morning practice.

    He conceded that the accident was “avoidable” and said “it all felt very easy” up to that point.

    “You also saw in qualifying how easy it was for Daniel,” Verstappen added. “It was the same with me.”

    The crash happened just after Verstappen had passed the slow-moving Renault of Carlos Sainz between the two sections of the Swimming Pool complex.

    “I got a little bit caught off guard with the slow car, but that’s not an excuse,” Verstappen explained.

    “It’s all happening quick at that stage, you get a little bit distracted, and I guess I just turned a little bit earlier than normal. Or clearly turned in a bit earlier.”

    He was on a faster lap at the time but conceded he should have been more cautious given it was not a qualifying session.

    “In the end it’s third practice, so it doesn’t really matter then,” said Verstappen.

    “We always do this. You try and drive as many quick laps as possible to build it up a bit for qualifying.

    “You always take risks. But of course it’s always easy to say afterwards: we shouldn’t have gone out.”

    Red Bull almost managed to get Verstappen’s car fixed in time for qualifying, before discovering a gearbox leak at the last moment.

    “All that seemed to be going well. Only when they started the car, they saw it leaked on the left. There was a crack in the gearbox,” Verstappen explained.

    “When I heard about the gearbox I think they only had 15 minutes, then you know it’s not going to happen.

    “You’re hoping for a red flag or something during qualifying, so it gives you a bit more time.”

    Verstappen’s disastrous Saturday in Monaco followed a run of incidents in the early part of the 2018 F1 season, but he insisted he still had the Red Bull team’s full support.

    “The team will always be behind me, in good or bad times,” he said. “It goes either way you know, last year with a lot of engine problems and stuff, I was exactly the same.

    “So we just work as a team, you win and lose together.”

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