F1 Monaco GP: Ricciardo gets pole and smashes lap record

Qualifiers for the 2018 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix saw Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo snatch pole from the Ferrari of Sebastien Vettel. Ricciardo broke the lap record at the Principality, twice. Meanwhile, Reigning Champion Lewis Hamilton took third fastest to lead the second row, alongside the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

It was only Ricciardo’s second career pole, but his fastest pace set a new track record of 1:11.841 in Thursday practice, before smashing the record again, breaking the elusive 1:10 lap with a time of 1:10.810. Team mate Max Verstappen had a disappointing Monaco GP so far, as gearbox challenges in the practice session and a crash in Q1 ruled out the Dutchman from qualifying for Sunday’s race.

Vettel who topped main championship rival is somewhat satisfied, he said in post-race, “I’ve been quite happy, even if you always have the feeling you could do much more. However, we tried to get everything out of our car and we got a good position. Red Bull has been strong since Thursday, but we got as close as we could. The main thing for us is that our car has potential. In the first corner I just couldn’t drive the way I wanted but for the rest it was ok. It was a tricky session also in terms of getting the tires together. Now we’ll focus on the start tomorrow, but it will be a long race.”

Starting from second row, Hamilton isn’t too concerned about his goal for the race, “Red Bull just had a little bit more performance, particularly in the last sector. I was up in the first sector, but I just couldn’t hold onto it. I’m glad that we’re up there, I won my first Grand Prix here from third but obviously that was in unique circumstances. It will be interesting to see how the different tyre choices work for each of us tomorrow and there’s going to be lots going on throughout the race.”

Two Force India cars made it into the top ten courtesy of Ocon and Sergio Perez, sixth and ninth. McLaren continue their good run with Fernando Alonso qualifying in seventh. It was a stunning comeback from the Spaniard, who had lost track time on Thursday, and spent the day’s free practice session working hard to dial in the set-up to his liking. Even during Q2, he declared himself unhappy with the balance, but pulled everything out of the car on his final lap in Q3.

Behind Alonso were the Renault of Carlos Sainz, Perez and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

2018 Formula 1 Monaco GP qualifying Q3

1 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING 1:10.810
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:11.039
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:11.232
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:11.266
5 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:11.441
6 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA 1:12.061
7 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN 1:12.110
8 55 Carlos Sainz RENAULT 1:12.130
9 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA 1:12.154
10 10 Pierre Gasly TORO ROSSO 1:12.221