Daniel Ricciardo had a misfortune in the streets of Monaco in 2016. The Australian took pole, but a mistake in his last pit stop lost him the race to Lewis Hamilton. Now, two years later, Ricciardo returned to the principality, taking both practices on Thursday, and in addition, the third practice session. And on Saturday afternoon, he went on to win his second Monaco pole in stunning fashion with a new record in qualifying of a 1:11:800 fastest lap, ahead of series contenders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
“We set a statement since Thursday, and now we are quickest in every session,”Ricciardo said of his lap. “Just the race tomorrow and then we will celebrate.”
Ricciardo set his record time toward the end of the final session, when it seemed that Hamilton could give him a fight with minutes to go, but the Briton could only manage third on the grid. Vettel was much better off, crossing the line with a decent enough time to beat his rival, but could get nowhere near the Australian.
While Ricciardo was succeeding, his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen could not even get into his cockpit to qualify. The Dutchman smashed his car into the barriers at the swimming pool complex during the third practice session, damaging his front wing and even worse, damaging his gearbox.
The situation was dire as qualifying approached in the afternoon, and no matter how excellent his mechanics were, Verstappen was unable to have enough time to get out onto the circuit and will start the race from the back of the grid.
For the American Haas F1 Team, it has been a horrible weekend, following so much success two week’s ago in Spain. Now, in Monaco, Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in the opening session for the first time this season, while his teammate Romain Grosjean, was knocked out in the next round.
Esteban Ocon was sixth, and Fernando Alonso, who missed this race last season to compete in the Indianapolis 500, took an impressive seventh. Carlos Sainz Jr. qualified well to finish eighth, while Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly took ninth and tenth, respectively.
Overall, Ricciardo might be dominant, but he can still remember his mistakes from the past. But the Australian remains aggressive.
“There is still a lot of fire in this belly,” he said. “So, I am pumped, feeling good.”