Daniel Ricciardo scored his first-ever F1 pole position in a thrilling qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix – Red Bull’s first pole since Brazil 2013.
Ricciardo lapped in 1m13.622s to defeat Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg by 0.169s.
Lewis Hamilton hit trouble when his Mercedes lost power at the start of Q3, and he had to be pushed back to his garage for repairs. He rejoined, still with some issues – but then summoned up one flying lap, producing the third-fastest time, 0.32s down on pole.
Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari will start fourth, and angrily swore at his team as his car “just got worse” on its final run, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.
Ricciardo’s teammate, Spanish GP winner Max Verstappen, went from hero to zero when he crashed out in Q1 at the exit of the Swimming Pool chicane. He will start from the rear of the grid.
Story of the session
The drama started immediately in Q3, as Hamilton’s Mercedes ground to a halt in the pitlane.
“Something’s wrong with the engine,” said Hamilton. “I’ve got no power. Do I stop?”
He stopped before the end of the pitlane, and mechanics rushed to his aid who pushed him back to the garage where the car was repaired.
Ricciardo threw down the gauntlet with a stunning lap of 1m13.622s, almost a second clear of Vettel.
Rosberg’s 1m13.913s was 0.291s slower than the Australian.
Hamilton joined the session halfway through, and after a few stuttering laps he managed a final flyer that put him third.
Rosberg tried one final run to beat Ricciardo, but failed by 0.169s. “My time, my [bleep]ing time,” declared Ricciardo on his in-lap.
Vettel was a grumpy fourth, ahead of an impressive Hulkenberg. Kimii Raikkonen qualified sixth but will drop five places due to a gearbox change, which will promote Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (STR) and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
Rosberg pips Hamilton in Q2
Hamilton set the early pace in Q2 at 1m14.056s, 0.435s faster than Rosberg, who was just clear of Ricciardo and Vettel.
Rosberg ran again, but clipped the barrier on the inside at the Swimming Pool chicane. He recovered to set the fastest time of the session, his 1m14.043s pipping Hamilton by 0.013s.
Ricciardo was fourth, three tenths off the pace, but used supersoft tyres – which is the rubber he’ll start the race on. Everyone else in the top 10 will start on ultrasofts.
Eliminated in this session was the struggling Williams of Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas, McLaren’s Jenson Button, Felipe Massa (Williams), Romain Grosjean’s Haas – which was eighth-fastest in Q1 – and Kevin Magnussen of Renault.
Magnussen is under investigation, however, after apparently leaving the pits under a red light in Q1.
Q1 claims Verstappen
Verstappen’s hefty crash at the exit of the Swimming Pool chicane – which has been reprofiled this year – was the big story of Q1. He’d already hit the barriers at Massenet in FP3, but this was a much harder impact that removed his right-front corner.
He clipped the inside wall on the right-hander, which broke his steering, and his Red Bull ploughed over the kerbs and on to the scene of the accident.
“Turned in a bit too early,” he reported later. “It was all coming together, maybe I underestimated the grip I had.”
Vettel recorded the fastest time of the session at 1m14.610s, 0.216s faster than Hamilton’s 1m14.826s, who was 0.047s quicker than Rosberg. Ricciardo was three tenths off the pace in fourth.
Felipe Nasr’s Sauber expired in a cloud of Ferrari smoke as he exited the tunnel on his out lap, which caused a red flag right at the start of the session.
Those who failed to progress into Q2 were Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, the Manors of Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein, Verstappen and Nasr.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:13.622|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:14.726|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||1:14.749|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:14.902|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:15.273|
|12||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas F1 Team||1:15.293|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||1:15.571|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Renault F1 Team||1:16.058|
|18||Jolyon Palmer||Renault F1 Team||1:16.586|
|19||Rio Haryanto||Manor Racing||1:17.295|
|20||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor Racing||1:17.452|
|21||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:22.467|