Daniel Ricciardo will start Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix from pole position after surprising the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying on Saturday.
Ricciardo displayed an impressive pace in practice, and was able to carry this form into Q3 to produce a stunning lap of 1:13.622 that was good enough for his first pole position in Formula 1.
Ricciardo came under intense pressure from Rosberg and Hamilton late in the session, the former finishing less than two-tenths of a second shy to end the day P2.
Hamilton’s luckless start to the season looked set to continue when he reported a loss of power on his car at the start of Q3. Mercedes was able to resolve the issue and send him out with five minutes remaining, but the Briton opted to bide his time before having one final push with just seconds remaining in the session.
However, Hamilton could only manage third with his final run, handing Ricciardo pole position for Red Bull, marking not only his first but also that of Red Bull in the V6 turbo era.
Ricciardo will also start the race on the super-soft tire after completing his quickest run on the compound in Q2, meaning he will be able to go longer in the race before pitting compared to his rivals.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified an excellent fifth for Force India ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, the latter set to drop five places due to a grid penalty. Carlos Sainz Jr. finished seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat, while Fernando Alonso reached Q3 once again for McLaren, ending the session 10th.
Williams’ poor qualifying form in Monaco continued as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished 11th and 14th respectively in Q2. The British team has not qualified inside the top 10 in Monaco since 2011.
Esteban Gutierrez outqualified Romain Grosjean for the first time this season, finishing 12th while his teammate lagged behind in P15. Jenson Button was unable to match Alonso’s pace, qualifying down in P13 for McLaren.
Renault endured another difficult qualifying session as Jolyon Palmer was once again eliminated in Q1, finishing 18th. Kevin Magnussen narrowly made it through to Q2 at the expense of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, but could only qualify 16th on the grid for tomorrow’s race. The Dane is also under investigation after appearing to leave the pit lane under a red light in Q1.
Manor had another fairly routine qualifying, gaining positions thanks to the mistakes of others. Rio Haryanto outqualified highly-rated teammate Pascal Wehrlein for the third time this season, finishing 19th in Q1.
Spanish Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen suffered a dramatic change in fortunes when he crashed out in Q1 before posting a lap time. The Red Bull driver clipped the wall on the inside of the Swimming Pool chicane, sending him into the barrier on exit and bringing out the red flag.
Verstappen walked away unharmed, but was classified 21st overall, only ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr who suffered an engine failure earlier in the session that also warranted a red flag stoppage.
The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBC from 7:30am ET on Sunday, with F1 Countdown beginning on NBCSN at 7am.