Ric­cia­rdo streets ahead in Monaco qual­i­fy­ing

Aus­tralian driver on pole for the first time in his F1 ca­reer

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

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.

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