Motor racing: Ricciardo takes Monaco GP pole position with record lap, Vettel next to him with Hamilton third

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was in blistering form all week during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was in blistering form all week during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MONACO (REUTERS) - Australian Daniel Ricciardo put Red Bull on pole position for Formula One's showcase Monaco Grand Prix in track record time on Saturday (May 26).

Ricciardo, in blistering form all week during practice around the streets of the tiny Mediterranean principality, made sure of the top slot for his team's 250th race start with a quickest lap of 1min 10.810sec.

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel, last year's race winner, joined Ricciardo on the front row with British world championship leader Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes.

Neither man could match the Australian's pace on the hypersoft tyres, with Vettel 0.229 of a second slower.

"We sent a statement on Thursday and have been quickest every session. Just the race tomorrow and then we will celebrate. I have done everything I can so let's finish the job tomorrow," said Ricciardo.

Red Bull's hopes of locking out the front row of the starting grid disappeared before qualifying had even started after the gearbox on Max Verstappen's car was changed following a crash in final practice.

 

That incurred a five-place grid drop, which became academic when the 20-year-old Dutch driver failed to emerge for even one timed lap.

Hamilton leads Vettel by 17 points after five rounds of the 21-race championship, and the Briton will have been boosted by his car's performance after a disappointing showing in Monaco last year.

Ricciardo's pole was his second in three years in the principality, and second of his career, with the Australian fastest in 2016 qualifying but losing out in the race to Hamilton.

"I gave it everything I could. I was up a little bit on the last lap but wasn't able to hold on to it," said Hamilton, chasing a hat-trick of wins on Sunday after Azerbaijan and Spain.

"It's still a long race ahead of us tomorrow. I don't think Red Bull have tried the other tyres yet so it will be interesting to see how we all go.