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 –