Daniel Ricciardo believes he was in a battle with himself to secure pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix after a dominant weekend for Red Bull so far.
The Australian topped all three practice sessions and was quickest in each section of qualifying before taking the second pole position of his career by nearly quarter of a second from Sebastian Vettel. In practice, each session was a Red Bull one-two, with the margin between Ricciardo and Max Verstappen just 0.001s in FP3 when his teammate crashed out and missed qualifying.
“Obviously you’re aware of your teammate’s speed and everyone’s speed but for me, from the start of the weekend, I guess a battle with myself, wanting to be the quickest from the start and trying to reach my personal goals for the weekend,” Ricciardo said.
“Obviously we were close throughout all the sessions but I don’t know if it’s… it could be a psychological battle if an opponent sees it that way, but for me personally I just wanted to see my name on top and just try to keep that momentum going from the start.”
And Ricciardo admits the incident that took Verstappen out of qualifying is one that he was aware could end his own hopes, but had to block it out in order to deliver pole position in a new lap record.
“It’s always in the back of your mind here, I guess, because the risk and reward is very real and that was proven this morning. It’s one of those things, it’s there but it is at the back of your mind, because to be fast you can’t think about those things.
“Knowing we had obviously a great package all weekend, we need to push it but I don’t think we need to overdrive it. The car has been performing well. It’s just hitting your marks and just trying to keep it clean I guess. We’re all pushing each other, particularly Max and myself in the same time.
“It’s no surprise that these things can happen and when we’re lapping 1m10s, 1m11s there’s no room for error.”