Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first Formula 1 pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix, winning a close qualifying fight with the Mercedes drivers for Red Bull.
A stunning 1m13.622s lap on Ricciardo’s first run in Q3 proved enough to get the job done, as Red Bull claimed its first pole since the last V8-engined season of F1 in 2013 and the Australian took his first in F1.
Nico Rosberg was second fastest for Mercedes, 0.169 seconds slower than Ricciardo, who drove the lone Red Bull in Q3 after teammate Max Verstappen crashed out at the first stage of the session.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton suffered a fuel pressure problem at the start of Q3, so only completed a single run at the end of the session.
Hamilton did several preparation laps before going for a time at the end. He was fastest of all in the first sector, but dropped nearly a tenth to Ricciardo in sector two and just over four tenths in the final part of the lap, so wound up third fastest.
Ricciardo is set to take a different strategy into the race than all those around him, having used super-soft tires to set his best time in Q2 – committing him to starting on them while his main rivals will be on ultra-softs.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth quickest, while Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg denied Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen fifth spot by 0.006s. Raikkonen rounded out the top six, but will drop to 11th on the grid thanks to a penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the session.
The Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz was only 0.017s slower than Raikkonen in seventh, while the second Force India of Sergio Perez, Sainz’s Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda rounded out the top 10.
Valtteri Bottas missed out on a place in Q3 by 0.166s as Williams elected to send its drivers out for a single run each in Q2. Teammate Felipe Massa was only 0.112s slower but that was enough to leave him 14th, behind an impressive effort from Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez and the second McLaren-Honda of Jenson Button.
Gutierrez’s Haas teammate Romain Grosjean was a strong eighth fastest in Q1, but failed to find any time in Q2, ending up over a tenth slower than his earlier best and down in 15th.
Kevin Magnussen’s Renault completed the top 16, nearly half a second further back, but he is under investigation for jumping a red light at the end of the pitlane in Q1, so may well face sanction.
Marcus Ericsson missed out on a place in Q2 by just 0.046s after losing a late battle with Magnussen’s Renault in Q1. The second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, which suffered rear wing damage from an off in final practice, was nearly three tenths further back in 18th.
Rio Haryanto got the better of Manor teammate Pascal Wehrlein by 0.147s to qualify 19th. Wehrlein failed to improve (by 0.03s) on his second Q1 run so wound up 20th.
Verstappen will start from the penultimate row of the grid after breaking his right-front suspension by clipping the inside barrier at the Swimming Pool chicane, then crashing heavily into the barriers.
He at least set a time before doing so. Felipe Nasr’s Sauber failed to even complete a flying lap after its Ferrari engine blew up on his out-lap.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m13.622ss||1m13.622s|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m14.726ss||1.104s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m14.749ss||1.127s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m14.902ss||1.280s|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m15.273ss||1.651s|
|21||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.467ss||–|