Notebook – Monaco Qualifying

Features Notebook

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 pace this weekend.

Pole Lap

Daniel Ricciardo runs on the inside as he starts the lap on the short straight to Sainte Devote before he moves to the inside briefly before breaking. Returns to the outside as he approaches Sainte Devote nicely through then goes to the outside. Carries the speed off up the hill through the kink at Beau Rivage, breaks as he goes through Massenet goes to the inside setting himself up well through Casino Square.

Breaks on his way to Mirabeau Haute hits the apex as he round the kink. Breaks as he goes through the slowest corner of the season, around the apex before running into Mirabeau Bas taking a bit of the kerb. Goes to the outside setting himself up nicely for Portier gets a good exit going to the outside stays there as he genitally carries speed through the tunnel. Moves on the latter part of the corner to the inside, before going back to the outside. Breaks 100m before the Nouvelle Chicane hits the apex on entry and gets a good exit. Carries a bit of speed on his way through Tabac.

Continues to speed up on his way to Louis Chiron taking the chicane nicely. Breaks on the exit of the Swimming Pool, good through fifteen. Breaks early for Rascasse takes it slowly going to the outside and does the same at Antony Noghes. Goes to the inside where he stays doing a 1:10.810 to take pole.

No one was going to beat Ricciardo

Sebastian Vettel says that he could not have matched Daniel Ricciardo’s pole lap. Riccardo put in a dominant performance once again in qualifying to take pole after being four-tenths of a second faster than his former teammate.

The four-time world champion doubts a perfect lap would have been enough to top the session. Vettel said “I’m pretty happy I guess. There’s always a feeling that there’s a little bit but I don’t think there was a threat to Daniel’s time today.”

“I think we can look back and think ‘here, there’, especially around this place, but well done to Daniel, he pulled a good qualifying session.” The German says that the team were playing around with set up so they could get the most out of the car.

“I think it was expected that Red Bull would be quick here. I think they have a strong car, they have more downforce than everybody else. I think in terms of track efficiency they were one of the best.” He added.

Hamilton confident of converting P2 to win

Lewis Hamilton is remaining optimistic that he can convert his second place into a win, despite his Mercedes team struggling to match Red Bull and Ferrari on pace.

The four times champion was four tenths off Daniel Ricciardo’s pole time and had to settle for a second-row start after title rival Sebastian Vettel improved on his final flying lap to take second.

Hamilton was asked by Sky Sports, if he would just be targeting finishing ahead of the Ferrari, Hamilton insisted to Sky F1: “A win. That’s what I’m going for tomorrow. Somehow, someway, I’m going to try to switch places with them. Nothing’s impossible at this track but everything’s impossible too.”

Both of Hamilton’s wins in Monaco have come from fourth place, and last time Ricciardo took pole he gave Hamilton the lead after a bad pit stop. Hamilton hopes to once again find a way to gain places on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

He added: “It’s still a long race ahead of us tomorrow. I don’t think Red Bull have tried the other tyres [ultrasofts] yet so it will be interesting to see how we all go.”

No explanation

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crashed out in FP3 which left him unable to take part in qualifying. It’s the sixth race weekend this season where he has crashed in at least one session.

The crash caused damage to the rear of the car and the gearbox, which ruled the Dutchman out of qualifying and means he will start last. Asked to explain why he had been involved in so many incidents this year, he replied: “At the moment I can’t.”

Today’s accident was caused by him clipping the barrier on entry to the second part of the Swimming Pool, which sent him slamming into the wall. Just before the incident he had to negotiate his way around the slow-moving Renault of Carlos Sainz but said that was no excuse for the mistake.

“I clipped the inside barrier … I’d got a little bit caught off guard with the slow car, but that’s not an excuse — I hit the wall.

He added: “I wouldn’t call Barcelona an incident. I think this, together with China, were my mistakes. It’s of course not what you’d like to happen, but unfortunately, it happens.”

Alonso set up like “tossing a coin”

Fernando Alonso says his setup in qualifying was like “tossing a coin” after admitting his McLaren was lost in final practice. The Spaniard missed out on first practice after brake problems and was only fifteenth in FP3.

The team made several changes to the car’s set-up ahead of qualifying and Alonso managed his best qualifying effort of the season with seventh. Alonso admitted the set-up changes were a gamble and was delighted they had paid off.

He said “It’s been a very complicated weekend. We lost the first session because of the brakes and in the third one the car was handling very strange.”

“The rear felt disconnected from the front. We had problems on the rear in the slow corners and in the fast corners we had problems on the front and that’s usually a puzzle that’s hard to solve.” Alonso says that managing the hypersofts would be key.

Adding “If someone stops and undercuts you, then it’s going to be tough. And if you stop early and you are behind a car doing 65 laps on the hard tyre, then you are stuck for 64 laps behind it.”

Race Prixview

Tomorrow’s race before FP3 was looking favourable towards Red Bull, but Verstappen’s crash means that it will be slightly harder but not as hard as some races. Overtaking we know is very hard, so that could mean pit stops as we have seen in the past could decide the outcome of the race.

Also the safety car, Monaco will see accidents that will mean strategy plays a key role as we have seen races won and lost over the past few years by the timing of the safety car. We know that this race needs high-level focus, and anyone who takes their eye off the ball may be in trouble.



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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