Ricciardo grabs expected pole for Monaco GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

Daniel Ricciardo did what had to be done as he put his Red Bull RB14 on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel was fast enough to put Ferrari on the front row, followed by Championship leader Hamilton who was third fastest.

Qualifying kicked off under the usual sunny conditions at Monaco, with all driver eager to go out to maximise the time available, given that traffic near Monte Carlo is always an issue. Max Verstappen though soon understood it wasn't to be for him, as his mechanics were still at work fixing his Red Bull on the back of the Dutchman's costly mistake earlier on in FP3.

Ricciardo was quick to jump to the top of the timesheet, ahead of Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas was in the danger zone until 3 minutes from the end, when he managed to go faster than Hamilton. Both Ferraris and both McLarens by that time has already secured their progression into Q2.

In the end, Hartley got eliminated after being clearly blocked by a Force India. Leclerc just managed to go through as the only one of the Sauber drivers, despite a huge lockup at Ste. Devote late in the session.

Q2 got off to a busy start as well, with all cars on track in the first 3 minutes of the session. All drivers were again on the hyper softs, except for both Mercedes who opted for ultra softs.

After just 6 minutes, Ricciardo had got fastest again with another new track record, rounding the track in 1:11.353, 2 tenths faster than Vettel and 6 tenths better than Raikkonen.

Halfway into the session, when most cars were back in the pits, Hamilton was 11th fastest, and Bottas 14th. Mercedes then opted for a quick turnaround to switch for their cars to hyper soft tyres, allowing Hamilton and Bottas to start their second efforts on a clear track. Hamilton short up to third instantly, followed by Bottas who moved up to 5th.

These improvements dropped Alonso to 8th, Gasly to 9th and Vandoorne to 10th, leaving both Renault works cars provisionally eliminated.

In the dying minutes, Ricciardo shaved another tenths off of his best time which Raikkonen got second fastest, 0.113s off of the pace setter. Sainz improved to 9th to get through, along with Gasly in 10th. This dropped Hulkenberg and Vandoorne out of the top 10, along with Sirotkin, Leclerc and Grosjean. The latter will additionally to put 3 places back on the track thanks to a penalty he received for his crash-causing spin on lap 1 of the Spanish GP two weeks ago.

Q3 saw Gasly set the first flying lap, but at the end of the first quick laps, it was also the slowest. Alonso was the first to improve, with then Bottas, Hamilton and Ricciardo moving into provisional pole. Vettel was a bit behind the running schedule of the others and ended up third fastest.

The gaps at the time were particularly interesting. While Ricciardo carved himself a gap of more than 4 tenths to the competition, Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen were within 0.010s of each other. Bottas was 5th fastest, ahead of Sainz and Alonso, the latter two only seperated by 0.030s.

For the second set of laps, Vettel was the first to blink, leaving the garage with 3:15 left on the clock. Hamilton responded to be second out on track, with a queue soon formed behind them. While Vettel enjoyed a fairly rapid out lap, others were at a snail pace on the back side of the track to try to create some free track ahead.

At the front, Vettel managed to move up into second while Hamilton and Raikkonen did not improve on their earlier times. Ocon got himself into 6th, ahead of Alonso, Sainz, Perez and finally Gasly who will start from 10th.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:12.0131:11.2781:10.81017
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1:12.4151:11.5181:11.03921
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:12.4601:11.5841:11.23222
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:12.6391:11.3911:11.26622
577Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:12.4341:12.0021:11.44125
631Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:13.0281:12.1881:12.06127
714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault1:12.6571:12.2691:12.11026
855Carlos SainzRenault1:12.9501:12.2861:12.13028
911Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:12.8481:12.1941:12.15423
1010Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:12.9411:12.3131:12.22129
1127Nico HulkenbergRenault1:13.0651:12.411-22
122Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:12.4631:12.440-19
1335Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes1:12.7061:12.521-19
1416Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari1:12.8291:12.714-20
158Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:12.9301:12.728-21
1628Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:13.179--12
179Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:13.265--11
1818Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:13.323--10
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:13.393--12