Ricciardo’s Monaco dominance continues as Aussie takes Pole

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo keeps his cool to take his second pole position in Monaco ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen will start last for tomorrow’s race.

26/05/18

It was a tale of two halves for Red Bull. It all started late on in FP3 when on a fast lap, Max Verstappen crashed whilst overtaking a Renault and wrecking his Red Bull. The team worked hard after FP3 and into Qualifying and it was looking like Verstappen would take part in Q1. However, it was not meant to be after the team discovered a problem with the gearbox. The Dutchman will start last for tomorrow’s race but hope is not lost.

On the other side of the garage, there was no stopping Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian topped all 3 practice sessions and was on fine form throughout the Qualifying sessions. His first lap in Q3 was a 1:10:810, becoming a new lap record and the only driver to dip into the 1m 10s. Ahead of Red Bull’s 250th GP start, Ricciardo will be hoping for redemption after qualifying on Pole in 2016 but then losing the lead an ultimate win after a mistake in the pit-stops.

Going into Qualifying, Ferrari knew that Pole position would be out of reach to settling for the second row on the grid and ahead of Mercedes would be a good showing. Sebastian Vettel was able to nick 2nd on his final lap to get ahead of Hamilton with Kimi Raikkonen beating Bottas to 4th. The aim tomorrow will be trying to get both drivers on the podium.

What a difference a race makes. Mercedes for the first time in 2018 locked out the front row in Spain but as the same with Ferrari, the front-row here would be difficult to achieve. So, they opted for a different strategy in Q2 to try to make it into Q3 on the Ultrasoft tyre instead of the Hypersoft tyre. Hamilton could only manage 11th and Bottas 14th so they switched back to the Ultrasoft tyre. 3rd and 5th is what the team ended up with in Q3.

A much-needed result for Force India with Esteban Ocon qualifying in 6th and Sergio Perez in 9th. The fight between McLaren, Renault, Toro Rosso and themselves will be very close with the aim of getting both cars in the points.

Starting in 7th for tomorrow’s race is a welcome relief for Fernando Alonso who after FP3 was 15th quickest and struggling with his set-up. Stoffel Vandoorne was unlucky to miss out on Q3 and will start in 12th.

Renault coming into qualifying seemed to be “best of the rest” just ahead of Toro Rosso with Force India and McLaren not so far behind. Carlos Sainz will start 8th and like Vandoorne, Nico Hulkenberg was unlucky to miss out on Q3 but will have a choice of tyres for the race.

It was a great effort by Pierre Gasly to guide his Toro Rosso in Q3 and ultimately 10th. Brendon Hartley was having the best weekend of his F1 career so far but was knocked out of Q1 with the New Zealander blaming traffic. Points are on the cards for the race.

Williams’s aim for today’s qualifying session was trying to get a car into Q2 and it was full-filled by Sergey Sirotkin who put in a great effort to end up 13th. Lance Stroll on the other hand struggled and couldn’t match his team-mates pace and will start the race in 18th.

It was another great effort by Charles Leclerc to start his home race from 14th and once again ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson in 17th. Although, a lock-up by Leclerc in Q1 and the split decision to go into the run-off area down at turn 1 or either continuing on with the end result could have been in the barriers.

There’s no easy way of putting it but Haas didn’t have the pace to challenge the likes of Renault, McLaren or Toro Rosso and will have to settle for 15th and 19th for Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Although, Grosjean carries a 3 place grid penalty from his lap 1 spin in Spain in which the Stewards held him responsible.

Qualifying Result

  1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:10:810
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:11:039
  3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:11:232
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:11:266
  5. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:11:441
  6. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:12:061
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:12:110
  8. Carlos Sainz, Renault, 1:12:130
  9. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:12:154
  10. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:12:221
  11. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:12:411
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:12:440
  13. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1:12:521
  14. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, 1:12:714
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:12:728
  16. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:13:179
  17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:13:265
  18. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:13:323
  19. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1:13:393
  20. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, No time

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