MONACO GP – Daniel Ricciardo beats Vettel to pole by two tenths as Verstappen fails to qualify after FP3 crash

Testing & Race Reports

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has beaten his former teammate Sebastian Vettel by two-tenths of a second to take pole position for this weekends Monaco Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver has shown that the team has the best pace this weekend.

Ricciardo took pole in Monaco in 2016 and this weekend the Australian has been fastest throughout practice. Red Bull was expecting that they could challenge the top teams this weekend, he showed genuine pace around the streets topping the three sessions.

His Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen was unable to challenge after he crashed out in third practice, causing huge damage to the rear end after crashing in FP3 into the wall at the Swimming Pool.

Vettel was two tenths off, as he was unable to find what he needed to challenge his former teammate however he out-qualified his championship rival Lewis Hamilton by under two-tenths of a second.

The Mercedes driver appeared to be struggling with the balance of his car at a circuit where qualifying is very important, meaning he finished nearly half a second off Ricciardo, after failing to improve on his final run.

Ricciardo said: “We didn’t change much on the car this weekend. I have just been able to build up to it and have some fun. I love this race and it’s a pleasure to drive. It has been awesome.”

Asked about Verstappen’s incident, he added: “To be fast you can’t think about those things. We need to push it but you don’t need to over-drive it. We are both pushing each other and it is no surprise these things can happen, When you’re lapping 1:10s, 1:11s, there is no room for error.”

Vettel said: “I was pretty happy. There is always the feeling there is a little bit [more]. I don’t think I could have threatened Daniel’s time today. We were playing around with the set-up quite a bit to squeeze everything out. We have put ourselves in a good position, we put ourselves as close as well could and we see what we can do in the race.”

Hamilton said: “We knew we weren’t as quick as him [Ricciardo]. We did the best we could and the car was in a good place. My second lap I was up and messed up the final sector. It wouldn’t have made the difference for pole but it would have put me second. But you live to fight another day.”

Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was fourth after being just three-thousandths of a second slower than Hamilton and a tenth faster than the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. Both the Mercedes appeared to struggle to get the tyres to work.

Mercedes then tried n alternative strategy by using ultrasofts for their first runs in Q2. But neither Hamilton nor Bottas were quick enough and had to run again on hypersofts, meaning all of the top 10 will start on the softest Pirelli compound.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon was best of the rest in the very tight midfield, out-qualifying Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. Ocon’s teammate also made it into Q3, Sergio Perez ninth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Nico Hulkenberg just missed out on a place in Q3, the first time that he has been out-qualified by Sainz since they became teammates last October.

Williams’s Sergey Sirotkin showed impressive pace that the team had in practice, to put his car thirteenth ahead of Charles Leclerc who qualified his Sauber.

The Monacan has shown good form in the past few races and again has excelled this weekend. He out-qualified the Haas of Romain Grosjean, whose teammate was caught out when Leclerc went straight on at Sainte Devote.

Grosjean will start from the back anyway because of a penalty following his accident in Barcelona. While his teammate Kevin Magnussen will join him as he could only manage nineteenth.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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