Q3 - RICCIARDO COMPLETES QUALIFYING DOMINANCE
Qualifying mode? What qualifying mode? Ferrari looked like they may threaten Red Bull for pole, but Ricciardo was having none of it in Q3.
His first lap out of the box was epic, the Australian becoming the first driver – and as it turned out only driver – to break into the 1m 10s, smashing the track record in the process.
He then asked “how much are we quickest by?” He needn't have worried, with a stunning four-tenths of a second tucked in his pocket. He went again and clocked a lap that was just 0.036s slower than his benchmark. It didn’t matter. He still had a 0.25s lead.
After heading out late, Vettel improved on his second run to jump Hamilton and go second quickest. The Briton had briefly set the timing screens purple in sector one on his final run, but in the end faded as the lap went on, with an error at the last corner the final nail in the coffin. Still, with Mercedes looking a distinct third best this weekend, Hamilton will be pleased to have split the Ferraris.
The second Silver Arrow of Bottas settled for fifth behind Raikkonen, as Ocon took a brilliant sixth.
But the day belonged to Ricciardo, who took just his second career pole position - and Red Bull’s first since the Australian broke his duck in Monaco two years ago. That year, Red Bull messed up his pit stop, robbing him of victory. He’ll be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice on Sunday...
The key quote
"A 1m 10s around here… I’m sure it looks good on TV, but in the car, it feels delightful! Obviously today, I’m super-happy, but I’m not showing that because until I get the big trophy, I’m not going to be satisfied. So we’ll definitely do everything we can to get it done tomorrow." - Daniel Ricciardo
The key stats
- Ricciardo’s Monaco performance so far has marked the first time in his career that he’s managed a clean sweep of quickest times across all sessions – and he's the first driver to manage that feat in 2018
- ... but will Ricciardo be haunted by the infamous stat that he’s never won a race after qualifying inside the top four?
- Ricciardo’s pole lap of 1m 10.810 is now the outright track record around Monaco
- Local boy Charles Leclerc has now got his Sauber into Q2 for the past three races. His 14th spot in the grid is the highest for a Monegasque driver since Louis Chiron qualified in eighth for the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
- Ricciardo is now the only F1 driver in history to qualify on pole twice at the same track while failing to take pole anywhere else
- Ominously for Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 and 2016 wins came after he qualified third on the grid
- Valtteri Bottas will start fifth – the Finn’s lowest qualifying position since Australia
- Esteban Ocon’s sixth place on the grid is Force India’s best qualifying performance in 2018
- Worryingly for Max Verstappen, no-one who’s failed to get through to Q3 has got onto the podium at Monaco since the knock-out system was introduced in 2006. Mind you, the last time Verstappen failed to make it past Q1, at the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix, he ended up on the podium…
- Clay Regazzoni is the only man to ever get on the podium at Monaco after qualifying outside of the top 15. The Swiss driver finished second for Williams in 1979 after qualifying 16th