Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying: Daniel Ricciardo claims first ever F1 pole
Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first ever Formula 1 pole position to beat Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in a dramatic qualifying session for the Mo...
Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first ever Formula 1 pole position to beat Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in a dramatic qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Ricciardo set a best time of 1m13.622s on his first flying lap in Q3 and ended up taking Red Bull’s first pole since the Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of the 2013 season. His team mate Max Verstappen, who won the Spanish GP last time out, crashed to earth with a heavy accident in Q1, so he starts at the back of the grid.
Ricciardo's Red Bull has an updated Renault engine that pulls better up the hill out of St Devote and the car has very good mechanical grip and suspension softness, ideally suited to this track.
And the bonus for the Australian is that he will start the race on the supersoft tyre as he set his best time in Q2 on the middle compound of the Pirelli range this weekend, which is expected to last much longer than the ultrasoft tyre used by his rivals. If he wins the start he will be able to run a long first stint in clear air and have more options when to pit and rejoin into clear air. And if he loses the start, he will be able to stay out when the Mercedes pits and try to gain control of the race.
Ricciardo has shown this season that he is among the best at looking after the tyres on long stints while maintaining strong pace.
Behind Ricciardo, Rosberg, who is hoping to claim a fourth successive Monaco win, will start second, just in front of his Mercedes teammate Hamilton.
The world champion endured a tense start to Q3 as he reported, “something is wrong with the engine, I’ve got no power,” and pulled over in the pitlane as the field went onto the track for the final segment of qualifying.
Hamilton was recovered to his garage by his Mercedes mechanics and he joined the fray with six minutes of the session remaining. The Briton circulated some way off the ultimate before he set the fastest time in sector one on his final lap.
But he could not better Ricciardo’s efforts through the final two sectors and ended up third on the grid for the race, which may yet be hit by wet weather.
A fed up Hamilton told reporters in the TV pen after qualifying that it was 'already at the point' where the amount of technical issues he has suffered this season has become unacceptable, especially 'when the other car keeps going.'
Ricciardo's lap of 1m 13.622s was a fraction off the 1:13.465 which was the target to set the fastest ever lap of the Monaco GP circuit. The track has been resurfaced, the Swimming Pool exit has been speeded up and the tyres are softer this year, so it looked like it might be on the cards. Certainly the lap record will be smashed next season with the faster cars and wider tyres.
Speaking after the session, Ricciardo said: “Definitely a special place [to score my first F1 pole]. I knew coming into the weekend we would have a shot at it and it looked good from Thursday.
“I had it in my mind the whole time coming into the weekend and I think also after Barcelona [and] the last few races, I feel like I’ve been driving well but haven’t quite got maximum reward.
“So I came into this weekend with a lot of confidence and a lot belief that I could be in this position now and I’m very happy to have fulfilled that.
“It feels good. I’ve always enjoyed this place [and] the car feels good, we’ve got a good package behind us and it’s nice to be able to make the most of it.”
Sebastian Vettel had been fastest in FP3 and Q2, but the Ferrari driver abandoned his final lap in Q3 and swore over the radio as he aired his frustrations to the team.
Nico Hulkenberg finished fifth for Force India, just had of Kimi Raikkonen, who will lose five places for a gearbox change prior to the start of qualifying.
Carlos Sainz was seventh, with Serigo Perez splitting the Toro Rosso cars as Daniil Kvyat finished ninth.
Fernando Alonso reached Q3 for the second race in a row as he rounded out the top ten for McLaren.
Valtteri Bottas will start 11th for Williams and with his teammate Felipe Massa only 14th, the Grove-based squad’s streak of failing to get a car into Q3 at Monaco since 2011 will continue for another year.
Esteban Gutierrez and Jenson Button split the Williams drivers for Haas F1 and McLaren, and they will line up 12th and 13th respectively.
Romain Grosjean ended up 15th in the second Haas car with Kevin Magnussen just behind in 16th for Renault, but the Danish driver is under investigation for jumping a red light at the end of the pitlane in Q1.
Marcus Ericsson finished 17th, just ahead of Jolyon Palmer, who will start 18th in the second Renault, and Rio Haryanto beat his Manor teammate Pascal Werhlein to 19th place.
Max Verstappen will start 21st after crashing out at the second part of the Swimming Pool before he had set a representative time in the first segment of qualifying.
The Dutchman, who won last time out in Spain, clouted the barrier on his way into Turn 15, which broke his Red Bull’s steering arm and sent him across the kerbs and into the barrier at the exit, bringing out the red flags for the second time in the session.
The first stoppage had occurred just minutes into Q1 when Sauber’s Felipe Nasr suffered a massive engine failure on his out lap as he came through the tunnel. As he had failed to even start a timed lap, the Brazilian driver will start last for the race tomorrow.
Monaco Qualifying Results:
1 Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull 1m13.622s
2 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes 1m13.791s +0.169s
3 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 1m13.942s +0.320s
4 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 1m14.552s +0.930s
5 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India 1m14.726s +1.104s
6 Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1m14.732s +1.110s
7 Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso 1m14.749s +1.127s
8 Sergio Perez, Force India 1m14.902s +1.280s
9 Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso 1m15.273s +1.651s
10 Fernando Alonso, McLaren 1m15.363s +1.741s
11 Valtteri Bottas, Williams 1m15.273s
12 Esteban Gutierrez, Haas 1m15.293s
13 Jenson Button, McLaren 1m15.352s
14 Felipe Massa, Williams 1m15.385s
15 Romain Grosjean, Haas 1m15.571s
16 Kevin Magnussen, Renault 1m16.058s
17 Marcus Ericsson, Sauber 1m16.299s
18 Jolyon Palmer, Renault 1m16.586s
19 Rio Haryanto, Manor 1m17.295s
20 Pascal Wehrlein, Manor 1m17.452s
21 Max Verstappen, Red Bull 1m22.467s
22 Felipe Nasr, Sauber No time set
What did you make of qualifying? Who do you think can win the race tomorrow? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
Vettel: Ferrari should have "done a better job" in qualifying
Monaco GP: Post-qualifying press conference