Ricciardo on pole as Verstappen crashes


Dutch teen to start on back row of the grid as mechanical problem thwarts Hamilton's bid

MONACO • Daniel Ricciardo won pole for today's Monaco Grand Prix with the fastest lap ever driven at the famous street circuit.

It was also the Red Bull driver's first ever Formula One pole.

The pole, in a time of 1min 13.622sec, was the team's first since Sebastian Vettel at the Brazil Grand Prix in November 2013.

Lewis Hamilton, who had a fuel temperature problem, was beaten into third place (1:13.942) on the grid by his Mercedes team-mate and championship leader, Nico Rosberg (1:13.791).

Ferrari's Vettel (1:14.552) will join the Briton on the second row for the season's showcase race, where the harbourside track winds through twisty metal-fenced streets and overtaking is extremely difficult.


I have always enjoyed this place. We have a good package behind us and it's nice to be able to make the most out of it.

DANIEL RICCIARDO, Red Bull driver, on getting pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The talking point in the first stint of qualifying was Max Verstappen's crash. The hero of Barcelona earlier this month, when he became the youngest winner in F1 history, suffered an anti-climatic afternoon.

The 18-year-old crashed the other Red Bull at the Swimming Pool section of the circuit.

He broke his suspension when he hit the barrier near the chicane and careered across the track and into the wall.

"You okay, Max?" the team asked him. "Yeah, I'm okay," came his dull and crestfallen response.

To the dismay of his fans, the teenager will start from the back row.

"I felt confident and I think I underestimated it a bit, with the grip I had, and it all went wrong," he said.

Hamilton hit problems at the start of Q3 when he complained to the team that he had lost power.

The car was wheeled back to the garage and Hamilton re-emerged with just seven minutes of qualifying remaining.

He then pulled out of a pole attempt, perhaps still suffering problems, and was able to complete only a single flying lap.

The Briton has only one pole in 10 attempts at Monte Carlo.

"I did get out to do a lap at least," he said. "I will salvage what I can tomorrow."

Ricciardo, who came to Monaco with a new and more powerful Tag Heuer-branded Renault engine and beat the lap record by two-tenths of a second, said: "It's definitely a special place. I knew coming into the weekend we would have a shot at it. It looked good from Thursday.

" I had it in my mind also after Barcelona that I have been driving well but haven't quite got maximum rewards, so I came into this weekend with a lot of confidence and a lot of belief I could be in this position.

"I have always enjoyed this place. We have a good package behind us and it's nice to be able to make the most out of it."

Rosberg said: "He was very fast and deserved it. We weren't fast enough."

Ricciardo set his time on a set of "super soft" tyres with greater durability than the "ultra softs" used by his rivals - a likely tactical advantage in today's classic 78-lap race.

Eight of the last 10 Monaco races have been won from pole position.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 29, 2016, with the headline 'Ricciardo on pole as Verstappen crashes'. Print Edition | Subscribe