Ricciardo reigns supreme in Monaco GP qualifying

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Ricciardo reigns supreme in Monaco GP qualifying

Formula 1

Ricciardo reigns supreme in Monaco GP qualifying

Daniel Ricciardo secured just the second pole position of his career at the Monaco Grand Prix as teammate Max Verstappen failed to take part in qualifying.

Having topped every session, Ricciardo delivered when it mattered with a stunning first run in Q3 as he set a new lap record with a 1m10.810s. Having been 0.4s clear of the field at that stage, Ricciardo was unable to improve on his own time but the rest of the field couldn’t respond as nobody else dipped under the 1m11s barrier.

Teammate Verstappen had been Ricciardo’s biggest threat all weekend — second in every session — but was absent after crashing in FP3 and will start from the back of the grid.

The weight of the favorite tag was one Ricciardo dealt with excellently as he topped every practice session and all three parts of qualifying in a dominant display. The pole position is the second of his career, with his first also coming in Monte Carlo in 2016 when a pit stop error by Red Bull cost him certain victory in the race.

Sebastian Vettel will line up second on the grid as his final attempt of 1m11.039s was enough to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with the championship leader setting the fastest first sector but fading on his last lap and ending up 0.422s adrift of Ricciardo.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth ahead of Valtteri Bottas in fifth, and Esteban Ocon impressed to take sixth place and lead another close midfield battle. Ocon’s lap of 1m12.061s was just 0.16s clear of Pierre Gasly in 10th, with Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.

Nico Hulkenberg (Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT)

Q2 saw a number of drivers who had been strong in the first part of qualifying failing to progress. Nico Hulkenberg missed out in 11th by just 0.1s, 0.029s ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne. But it was Sergey Sirotkin and Charles Leclerc — 13th and 14th respectively — who will be left a little disappointed having been in the top 10 during Q1 with impressive performances.

Romain Grosjean was the other driver to be knocked out in 15th — 0.014s slower than Leclerc — and he will start from 18th ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen as a result of a three-place grid penalty handed out for triggering the first lap incident in Spain two weeks ago.

Mercedes also tried to advance through to the final part of qualifying using the ultrasoft tire but the difference between that and the even softer hypersoft was too great, leaving both Hamilton and Bottas outside the top ten before final attempts on the hypersoft.

Verstappen was the big casualty of Q1 as the Red Bull driver failed to emerge as a result of his crash at the end of FP3, with a gearbox change and the repairs taking too long to enable the Dutchman to attempt to qualify. He will be joined by Kevin Magnussen on the back row after his struggles continued, with Lance Stroll and Marcus Ericsson also failing to progress.

Brendon Hartley was the other driver to be eliminated, with the Toro Rosso driver left frustrated by a late yellow flag caused by Leclerc going up the escape road at Ste Devote, ruining his final attempt and dropping him out in Q1 having been seventh fastest in the final practice session.

-Chris Medland

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