Ricciardo streets ahead in Monaco qualifying
Australian driver on pole for the first time in his F1 career
Daniel Ricciardo secured the first pole of his Formula One career with an incredible lap in qualifying for today’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Championship leader Nico Rosberg will join the Red Bull driver on the front row with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who has not won at the principality since 2008, only third on the grid. Ricciardo’s emphatic lap marked the first pole position for Red Bull since the 2013 Brazilian GP.
Hamilton already trails Rosberg by 43 points, and the defence of his F1 crown took another dramatic twist after another engine failure prevented the Briton from posting a quick lap until the closing moments of qualifying.
Hamilton emerged for Q3 - the final phase of qualifying - but was told to stop at the end of the pit-lane with a fuel leak issue before his car was recovered by his Mercedes mechanics. The 31-year-old was back on track with six of the 12-minute phase remaining, and in the closing moments he appeared on course to snatch a dramatic pole from Ricciardo, but a slow final sector means he will start not only behind the Australia, but also his Mercedes team-mate. With overtaking almost impossible at the narrow street circuit, Hamilton cut a bleak figure in the post-qualifying press conference. Hamilton said: “It was a difficult qualifying, and I don’t know what to say.
“The good thing was that I could get out and do a lap. If the car keeps going I will be fighting as hard as I can with these guys. Hopefully it rains.”
In contrast, Ricciardo, was thrilled to secure the maiden pole of his career.
“I knew coming into the weekend I had a shot at it,” said Ricciardo who was fastest in practice on Thursday.
“It looked good from Thursday. I think after the last few races, I feel like I have been driving well, but not getting maximum reward. I came in with a lot of confidence and a lot of belief.”
Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen had thrilled the sport with his incredible victory in Spain to become F1’s youngest-ever winner, but the 18year-old crashed out of qualifying and will start last but one.