Ricciardo on pole, Verstappen crashes in frantic Monaco qualifying

2016 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

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Daniel Ricciardo has taken his maiden pole position in Monaco after beating both Mercedes drivers in an eventful qualifying session where Max Verstappen dramatically crashed out of Q1.

The Red Bull driver was elated on team radio after pipping Nico Rosberg by a tenth of a second to secure the first pole of his career. Lewis Hamilton secured third after an engine scare in Q3 while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was almost a second adrift in fourth.

Ricciardo is also at a strategic advantage for tomorrow’s grand prix, having set his quickest time in Q2 on supersoft tyres, which could prove crucial should the race prove dry.


Almost as soon as qualifying began, the red flags were waved as Felipe Nasr’s Sauber began to billow white smoke from the rear on the exit of the tunnel. There was a brief stoppage as the stricken Sauber was cleared.

As the session resumed, all drivers ventured out on the new ultra soft tyres, except for the Force India pair of Hulkenberg and Perez. Lewis Hamilton set the early pace with a 1’14.826, before Sebastian Vettel shaved two tenths off the Mercedes’ time with his first timed lap.

Max Verstappen was the last driver yet to set a representative lap time, but destroyed both his Red Bull and his chances of strong points from this weekend as he clipped the inside barrier on the exit of the Swimming Pool, sending his RB12 straight into the outside wall.

The red flag was immediately flown again, ruining the laps of a number of driver – most notably that of Fernando Alonso.

When the green flags flew once again, Kevin Magnussen was announced to be under investigation for ignoring the red light at pit exit – with replays confirming that the Renault crossed the exit line just after the red flag was shown.

With the back row of the grid already decided, the battle to make it into Q2 was between Renault and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, with Kevin Magnussen only just scraping through into Q2 by less than half a tenth from Ericsson with Jolyon Palmer a further three tenths off.

Rio Haryanto out-qualified team mate Pascal Wehrlein to line up 19th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1’16.299
18 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’16.586
19 Rio Haryanto Manor 1’17.295
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1’17.452
21 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’22.467
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber No time set


With Q1 showing that red flag stoppages were a constant threat, the teams wasted no time in getting their drivers to set competitive times early on in Q2.

Lewis Hamilton put in the fastest lap of the weekend to date – a 1’14.056 – to secure his place in the pole position shootout, with team mate Rosberg almost half a second off.

Daniel Ricciardo made an interesting call to set his Q2 times on supersoft tyres, finishing the session three tenths off the pace and putting him on an different strategy for tomorrow’s race, should the race prove to be dry.

As often the case in Monaco, Williams struggled for pace once more. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa visibly struggled for grip, with Bottas just missing out on Q3 by two tenths and Massa only setting the 14th quickest time.

There were mixed emotions for McLaren as Fernando Alonso secured his second consecutive Q3 appearance, while Jenson Button struggled to match the pace of his team mate and was eliminated in 13th position.

Esteban Gutierrez out-qualified his Haas team mate Romain Grosjean, while Kevin Magnussen was the last driver eliminated in 16th, but remains under threat of a post-qualifying penalty.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’15.273
12 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1’15.293
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1’15.352
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1’15.385
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1’15.571
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1’16.058


There was drama the moment the lights went green at the end of the pitlane when Lewis Hamilton reported a major loss of power on his way out of the pits. The world champion stopped his Mercedes before leaving the pitlane, allowing his team to push him back into the garage to attempt to fix the apparent problem.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first of the pole position contenders to attempt a lap and stunned the principality by posting a 1’13.622 – almost three tenths faster than Rosberg’s subsequent lap and a full second ahead of the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen.

With his engine concerns apparently addressed, Hamilton only had time for a single run to attempt to snatch pole. But despite starting multiple laps, Hamilton only ran a fully representative time in the final minute of the session and was ahead in sector two before losing three tenths in the final sector to set the third quickest time.

Sebastian Vettel could not improve and was audibly frustrated on team radio as he finished the session fourth. Nico Hulkenberg put in a great lap to secure fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who will receive a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox.

Top ten in Q3

1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’13.622
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’13.791
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’13.942
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’14.552
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1’14.726
6 Kimi Raikkonen* Ferrari 1’14.732
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1’14.749
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1’14.902
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’15.273
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1’15.363

*Raikkonen will start 11th after a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change

2016 Monaco Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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123 comments on “Ricciardo on pole, Verstappen crashes in frantic Monaco qualifying”

  1. Uzair Syed (@ultimateuzair)
    28th May 2016, 14:21

    What a brilliant lap from Ricciardo. That was surely one of the best laps around Monaco that I have ever seen! Hopefully he can win tomorrow.

    1. He’s done the lap, RB the tactic and now they need to get the start right. Dry race, and it’s done and dusted. Starting on the ss will give him above all the chance to undercut anyone if that’s the case as he’ll be able to use a US for the 2nd stint.

      1. It would work in reverse in a dry race those on ulira soft pit 1st to new supersoft and undercut him as he would have to run longer by starting on supersoft as if he pitsaid with everyone else he has to do the rest of the race on ultra soft. In a dry race he will get undercut by at least Vettel and the Mercs then have to overtake them all in his final stint.

        1. No Markp. Rb’s idea is if they need to undercut they can use the faster US to clearly undercut the field and then use the circuit to hold the lead till the checkered flag. The other possibility is to run as long as possible before a vsc or safety car period. The last possibility is to run the ss as long as possible before hypothetical rain. In the end RB is safeguarding and strengthening their chances of winning by racing the ss first, the only drawback is the start.

          1. And it’s the shortest run to the first corner on the entire calendar at just 150m.

            Looking good

          2. 50 odd laps on ultra soft? Going to be a great race. After qualifying no surprise if the grin wins but also no surprise if he ends up 4th. At this track I see what they did as nothing but compromising. We will all know tomorrow. The point about waiting for the rain is the only advantage I see as if it comes halfway through the race it would allow 1 less stop.

    2. yep and show the other guy who’s boss after missing a well-deserved win last race.

    3. I like this new Ricciardo, he means business more than ever. Max arrival to the team may be one of the best things to have happened to him. Smiles have disappeared a bit, but I never seen him this focus, he was eyeing this pole since the weekend started.

      I loved his eagerness after qualy “It is my “f word”ing time”

      I am expecting a show tomorrow

      @ultimateuzair I recommend you to see the on-board if you haven’t done so, you can find it on F1 oficial facebook page (yes this is not a joke) or in their website (are they trying to engage with us now?)

    4. He seems to be able to put in brilliant laps at ease lately, he’s high with confidence!

      Go Ricciardo!!! Love his celebrations when he wins! Here’s hoping he does tomorrow

      This guy has an amazing future, I hope red bull see that and don’t only focus on max

  2. Let’s hope that starting on the supersofts isn’t gonna cost Ricciardo victory. If the others can pit way earlier and get out in clean air while abusing their new tyres, it could be that Ricciardo rejoins behind, and as we know, track position is king around here. I think the best Ricciardo can do is pit a few laps after everyone while their tyres are a bit cold and just relax (well, as much as you can while driving 200mph in Monaco) for the rest of the race with superior tyres and a better car.

    1. The bulk of the race on ultra soft tyres though? If most pit say lap 15 and he follows soon after is 50 laps on ultra soft possible or would he have to go to soft tyres?

      At most tracks starting on a harder tyre out front is great as he may do 1 less stop but here all will do 1 stop in the dry. I think in the dry he will be 4th tomorrow.

    2. I think the smart thing to do now he’s on pole would be to put him on Ultra-softs. Starting on SS gives biggest risk of undercut.

      1. He has to start on super soft as his best q2 time was on supersoft.

  3. Mercedes better fix these problems because both cars today had high fuel pressures and Lewis’ didn’t start. We are starting to get annoyed with these problems even though Nico has not received anything yet but if this continues, surely it will hit him which I do not want. Good job for them to get Lewis’ car started but it surely cost him a chance for pole because he only had one run. Even though I am a Lewis fan, I wouldn’t want his teammate to run into problems because I support the entire team ever since JB and him became teammates. Good job to RIC but honestly… we missed a little spice there when Lewis was off because it was between him, Nico and Daniel.

    1. Lewis seemed to have it in him to grab pole – he had just one flying lap in q3 and only missed out in the last sector.
      It’s weird that whenever there’s a marginal situation with the two Mercedes, it’s Lewis’ car that goes over the edge and breaks down while Nico is merely reported to have had ‘the same problem’ minus the breakdown.

      1. Of course it’s strange, but I am never like the bandwagon and other fans who think about the conspiracy theories. I was hyped when Lewis did a 19.3 in the 1st sector because I knew that he could nail the 2nd sector because that was where he has been quick here but unfortunately, he messed up the 2nd sector by the way I saw it at the chicane after the tunnel and even more in the final sector. This track you cannot do a “do and die lap” unlike other tracks. But we must give credit to Mercedes for making the car start. Otherwise, it would have been P10. LOL

        1. 19.3 S1 great but why did he circulate so much, he did like 4 laps on those tires before setting a hot lap!

          1. I am guessing he did that on purpose. Since the Ultra soft takes 2 laps to warm up, I guess he waited for the last second run. Nico nearly had Ricciardo. But it’s not over yet. A safety car here and a crash and even rain can flip the order rapidly just like Hungary 2014 and Monaco 2015…

          2. He had a fuel pressure problem. They might have loaded him with more fuel than normal to help alleviate it so he had to burn some off before going for a flying lap.

          3. he was obviously fueled for 4 laps. Getting a rhythm and getting the space are important, but it was a gamble, a gamble that wouldn’t have been necessary had Lewis been given the same level of reliability as his teammate.

            It matters not about conspiracies, results speak for themselves, and it’s clear Mercedes F1 have issues they don’t care about fixing. Especially when it comes to Lewis side of the garage, 3 years running.

            Time to start thinking about giving the crew chief position to someone else who is responsible and competant enough not to let a car go out thats having fuel pressure issues. Maybe even having two crew chiefs to keep everyone in check might be a possible solution. Clearly the ball is being dropped, whether it’s cars burning up, brakes not working, hose clamps not being installed properly, fuel pressure issues not being addressed inside the garage,etc …..

            The only thing that is certain is Mercedes/Toto/Lauda/Corporate will cry #BothCars when ever Lewis gets screwed over by reliability.

        2. Well if Mercedes did their homework properly then the car wouldn’t have had the problem to begin with. They’ve had way too many issues all on the same car.

        3. Mercedes quick in s1 because of engine power.. ricciardo had it in the bag mostly in sector 3.

      2. @rantingmrp
        ‘he had just one flying lap in q3’
        That’s not quite right, he had 4 flying laps (6 laps in total). He aborted his first attempt because of a mistake, and his second attempt was a bit too scruffy in the third sector. It’s not like he was denied a chance, he just didn’t put a flawless lap together.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          28th May 2016, 20:33

          I think what is meant is that all other drivers did two sets of laps in Q3 – go out at the start, refuel and change tires, and go again. Hamilton only had one group of laps.

          1. @mbr-9
            Yes, that’s probably what he meant, but the wording – and therefore the implications – were a bit off. We’ve seen during the Free Practices that, even with the Ultrasoft, tyre wear is so low that it’s possible to push for several laps before the tyres start losing performance by any meaningful measure.
            Lewis did have two shots at a quick lap, but he abandoned his first attempt so early after a mistake that he hardly put any strain on his tyres before his final attempt. By that time, his fuel load had also dropped to the same low level, providing him with near-perfect conditions. He didn’t convert these into a perfect lap, but that’s not really the circumstances’ fault.

            In fact, it’s no-one’s fault. He qualified in P3, somewhat lower than what was possible, but not enormously so. He did have an issue at the beginning of Q3, but that didn’t really affect his chances, except maybe for the mental side. Both Ricciardo and Rosberg outpaced him with their first attempts, they’re going to start ahead of him, and that’s it.

  4. My prediction is screwed but at least I could guess the pole up to .032s :)

  5. The big question; How many laps will the US tyre last before it is slower than an SS tyre ?? and if DR gets a good start how far down the road will he be when the US cars start to pit ?

    1. Brundle said at around 3-4 laps… But I am not sure, I think it can be longer… But the start is not long here and Ric will be looking his mirrors and even behind because he’s the only one on supersofts..

      1. Yep, but he drives a very wide car does Dan.

        1. and Hamilton has had bad starts this year, and Ferrari good starts. it might be a mess in turn 1, and then the predicted rain….

    2. One thing to remember is that a safety car is likely to come out even without rain. If someone dumps carbon bits on the track in the first 5laps and everyone goes in for SS tyres then I think Danny is sunk.

    3. I’d love to see Dan winning in any circumstances but it looks like it’s going to be tight, tough and interesting http://www.yr.no/place/Monaco/Other/Monaco/hour_by_hour.html

    4. And where will the US cars come out after they pit? If there is any threat of rain then most non-Q3 qualifiers will start on SS or S to defer the need to pit early. And 25+ seconds to change tyres mean the top 10 will come back well back in the pack while Danny Ric keeps extending and, he’ll be hoping, building up a huge lead to pit at his leisure.
      Nice work DR and RB.

  6. In a dry race, the main risk I see to Ricciardo is his start, with Rosberg alongside on a softer tyre. I appreciate that it’s a short run to St. Devote, but even so it must be a risk.

    1. Right, also, I guess Ferrari might use KR to cover the RBR tyre strategy now he is p11.

      1. @hohum How’s that? He has to start on the US. It’s not because you get demoted out of the top 10 because of a penalty you suddenly get to choose your tyres. Whoever is in P10 now still has that right though.

        1. That would be Alonso @xtwl,and indeed you are right, what @hohum is not an option for Kimi.

          1. Betty Swollocks
            29th May 2016, 0:48

            Fernando starts p9 thanx to Raikks transmission replacement.

    2. And also the Mercs wont slow DR down if they do get ahead and he’ll be placed to take the lead when they pit, assuming the SS is good for a decent number of laps.

    3. yup if it’s wet, RIC should have it in the bag, he will have as good power on the start and probably better handling, and the first turn isn’t far up the road. Hope for rain, it will make Nico’s position tenuous.

      1. Even with light rain at the start they’ll probably do it under safety car which will favour Danny Ric with track position at least. Medium to heavy then there will be a delay until they then start behind the safety car, in which case ditto.

  7. I don’t understand the strategy with SS. Let’s say Ric doesn’t lose the start, due to lower traction of SS.
    The will run up to Lap 15 probably within a sec of each other. Then Rosberg switches to SS and with each lap Ric will be losing time since new tires will be quicker.

    Or are Rebull thinking there will be no way for Rosberg to pit and come out in clear air to undercut Ric?
    There clearly isn’t any advantage having US vs SS at the end of the race and not have track position because it’s just not enough to overtake.

    1. Pff…. that’s a tough one. Ricciardo doesn’t have a rear gunner this time and I am sure one of the Mercedes, which ever has track position over the other, will try to undercut him, but it’s unlikely because of the SS tyres that RIC has. What I am seeing is that, if RIC somehow manages to stay in front after turn 1, then Mercedes will do exactly what you said. Pit both of them and then close the gap so that by the time RIC pits, he will be jumped. I am not sure of this as there is not any advantage, using your own words, between the purple and red tyre. However, you forgot about something.

      RAIN. If there will be rain tomorrow between those laps where the Ultra soft runners need to pit, Ricciardo could stay out longer and pit when the conditions change to intermediates, which would mean that if the Ultra soft runners pit and put dry tyres again just as the rain comes, they would have to pit again whilst RIC will only pit once in comparison to 2 by the Ultra soft runners.

      1. Or Ricciardo might get jumped at the start and then the rain comes early and every drivers pit at the same time and after that it’s impossible to overtake in the rain in Monaco.

      2. If there is rain there will most likely be safety cars and when that happens it’s very hard to predict the outcome.
        I don’t think red bull were thinking of rain when they made that decision.

    2. @ivan-vinitskyy There are several reasons for this. If Ricciardo is first, one thing he could do is drive slower than would be expected in order to bunch the field up, and so that in the case of a safety car or the Mercedes running out of tyres, they will rejoin behind those who started from 11th onwards, and thus get bunched up in traffic, which leaves Ricciardo with a free track. Moreover, since the Supersoft becomes faster than the Ultrasoft after about 6-7 laps, Ricciardo could just go for it and build up a gap of several seconds before the Mercedes pit. And one thing which must be noted is that in Monaco, it isn’t like any other circuit, in that the undercut is actually a disadvantage, as it takes 4-5 laps to warm up the tyres and thus the guy on older tyres usually gains an advantage (something Alonso has used many times to his advantage), and so Ricciardo wins out in that situation too. However, don’t also forget about the threat of rain. The ultrasoft can run for about 15-20 laps I think. The supersoft around 35-40. Thus, if the rain starts falling mid-race, Ricciardo is in the prime position to make 1 less stop and he will have the race in the bag. That’s why Red Bull have very cleverly done this, and I hope that it works out. Fingers crossed!

      1. “Supersoft becomes faster than the Ultrasoft after about 6-7 laps” – that’s not true, wishful thinking
        “it takes 4-5 laps to warm up the tyres” – again not true, only taken Ric 1 hot lap to warm them up in Quali.
        bunching the field up also works against Ric, he too has to pit and come out ahead of other SS starters.
        “if the rain starts falling mid-race” – gambling on rain at a very specific time is a stupid risk to take for someone starting P1.

        I understand you’re his fan but the above doesn’t really explain the strategic decision by the team to put him on SS. They should have put him on the same strategy as everyone else. When he loses the run the first corner tomorrow, and/or then gets undercut by other US drivers it’ll be embarrassing for RedBull. Pole is king, he has it, why try to be clever?

        1. 1. It is true that the supersoft does become faster than the ultrasoft during the race as they only have a difference of 0.4-0.5s between them and the much faster tyre wear of the ultrasoft makes it much slower after a few laps. We saw that for example in Australia with Ferrari on supersofts and Mercedes on mediums

          2. It does take 4-5 laps to get the tyres warmed up in the race. It has been a constant occurence in Monaco ever since the Pirelli era started and like I mentioned, people usually tend to favor the overcut rather than the undercut for that very reason. Look at the 2012 race for example. By staying out 2 laps more on older tyres, Alonso gained 3-4 seconds on Hamilton, and Vettel, who started on the prime, was pulling away from the leaders who already pitted.

          3. If the rain is expected to fall anytime during the race, the chances of it falling between laps 15-50 are probably the greatest due to the range

          4. I’m not a Ricciardo fan. I like him, but I’m not his fan.


  8. Ricciardo just nailed it. As for Max, it’s another example of Hero to zero.

    I’m quite surprised Hamilton suffered another engine glitch. Again! Mercedes should do better job at reliability. Still he did a brilliant lap when it was terribly intense situation.

    1. Hamilton had 3 laps to warp up, and didn’t do as good a lap as ricciardo who had one lap to warm up.

      1. Hamilton had gremlins in his engine when he did that lap and the additional pressure of just one clean run, and Ricciardo had the luxury of having at least two runs to get it right, hence far less pressure on him. Under the circumstances, Hamilton did exceedingly well.

    2. It is disappointing to be starting at the back of the grid, but it doesn’t mean a good points finish isn’t possible, just that it is much more difficult.

    3. @eggry
      Ricciardo nailed it while Max just pulled a Pastor. Pulled off a brilliant win in Barcelona followed by a shambolic quali performance in Monaco.

      Danny Ric on the other hand, has been the driver of the season for me. I thought he deserved the Spanish GP win as much, if not more than Max, and today, he really threw down the gauntlet at his teammate and the Red Bull squad. Hat’s off to him! Dan is the man.. what more can you say?

      Regarding Mercs, it’s pretty frustrating to see Lewis’ one hand tied behind his back all season. I’m hoping his fortunes change on Sunday, and it would be great to see him finish in front of Rosberg. Honestly, I think Lewis would have taken the pole today if he had a clean session in Q3. There was too much pressure on him for the single run, and while he nailed the first two sectors, he messed up the 3rd sector and missed out on that pole. Tough luck for him! But he needs to keep his chin up and keep fighting

  9. some people even managed to upload Daniel’s lap on YouTube right after qualy, but meeeeeeeeeh they’ve been deleted by FOM already ._.

      1. Thanks Rulie, no muss-no fuss, looked easy.

      2. that video reminded me of vettel pole laps in the red bull, which has always had less power then merc/Ferrari, even in v8 era, just sensational downforce and commitment from the driver. I’m sure the new engine upgrade helped though, the Red Bull is about 4 seconds faster then last year, while Mercedes is only 2 seconds faster.

      3. @ruliemaulana Thanks man! shame they don’t show telemetry though

      4. Wow, what a flawless drive through the casino section! Really impressive how tightly he clings to the inside of the left-hander, and how docile the car looked at the exit of Ste Devote and the Casino right-hander. His exit of the swimming pool section was a bit scary, though. Outstanding tackling of Antony Noghes as well. It was only possible to tell that he was driving on the edge in the harbour chicane, the swimming pool section and at the exit of Antony Noghes, although every single corner can be scary. This shows what a great job he did.

  10. Lee Porcelli
    28th May 2016, 14:51

    Great lap and super strategy on paper starting on super soft types. Really answered the armchair critics. Go Daniel.

  11. Fikri Harish (@)
    28th May 2016, 14:55

    It’s impossible to tell for sure whether it’s a Ricciardo pole or a Red Bull pole thanks to Verstappen’s mistake but I do believe that future historians will mark 2014 as the year when the best driver mantle passes from Alonso to Ricciardo.
    Even though I also think that Dennis was delusional in saying that McLaren will succeed Mercedes as champions, a part of me hope that is indeed the case, just so Alonso can finish his career on a high.

    By the way, am I the only one taken aback when the Sky team proclaimed that this is actually Ricciardo’s maiden pole?

    1. @fihar To be fair, Ricciardo’s never had a car to fight for pole at anytime in his career (until now of course).

    2. When has DR previously had a pole in F1?

      The official F1 instagram also posted it…

    3. Ricciardo is certainly an elite driver, but has achieved very little so far in his career and has a lot to prove before he can be mentioned in the same breath as Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso.

    4. @fihar Ricciardo has three meager wins and this is his first pole indeed, he’s a long way off Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. I don’t know what you are smoking mate.

      1. @xtwl Certainly superior to Vettel since he completely, utterly outclassed him when they were teammates.

        1. @liongalahad Not even worth responding to…

          1. @xtwl it’s because you have no response. Hard facts are not questionable. Never in history a multiple world champion was humiliated by a team-mate like Vettel was by Ricciardo in 2014.

          2. @liongalahad Then I’m really wondering what you think of last year where Kvyat scored more points than Ricciardo? One season together says nothing, especially not if the situation we has in 2014 where Ricciardo came from a dog of a car to possibly the best chassis and Vettel who had to basically adapt his entire driving style to the new cars…

          3. @xtwl Kvyat scored more points but didn’t have a better season than Ricciardo. Whenever they had a clean race with no accidents or mechanical issues or punctures, Ricciardo was steadily ahead. If you remember well, F1fanatic best drivers of the year classification put Ricciardo much ahead of Kvyat for a reason. Only who didn’t see the actual races, or don’t remember them, and only watch the points at the end, can say Kvyat did a better job than Ric in 2015.

            One season says a lot. One race alone says nothing, but a whole season where you constantly qualify better and race better than your teammate, says a lot in my book. I have no memory of a multiple world champion being beaten so clearly by a team mate in the history of F1, or at least in modern F1, but maybe you can help with that? For me, 2014 was the result of Vettel not being quite as good as many think (and as record books say), especially in adapting to changing cars etc, and Ricciardo being an absolute world class driver, on a new car and a new team, beating a 4-time champion, and clear leader of the team, fair and square. Everything else it’s just an excuse.

          4. @liongalahad Oh, so you do read a proper analysis of the season. Then it just baffles me you completely ignore the four seasons where Vettel won the championship and use 2014 alone to say Ricciardo is better. Even in 2015 when Vettel was back to form he easily wrecked Kimi in the same way Alonso did in 2014. In my book you’re not at all a fool in saying Ricciardo is a top driver, and among the best on the grid, and he’ll become even better now he has a teammate pushing him. You are making a fool out of yourself claiming he is better than Alonso though. Because saying that implies you think he is the best on the grid which he really isn’t…

            @truegrit Uhm, no. Don’t come at me ignoring facts, I’m the one who looks at more than one season and the bigger picture whilst all you do is look at 2014 and close your eyes for all that has happened before and after. I’m not denying Vettel got beaten by Ricciardo in 2014. But the results flattered Riciardo quite hard AND one season cannot be a benchmark for two drivers. They develop and grow, Vettel his 2015 was much more impressive than Ricciardo his 2014 for example. Hence he was voted driver of the year on this very site.

          5. @xtwl I have never said Ricciardo is better than Alonso, I have no facts to support that. I am simply saying he is better than Vettel, judging form the only season they were teammates. Same as Hamilton and Alonso in 2007, they were tied at the end of the season, hence I judge them very close, with Hamilton being a better wheel to wheel driver, with a stronger qualifying skill, and Alonso better at getting the best from the car at all conditions and more consistent, but overall I judge them very close.

            Of course, if Ricciardo goes to Ferrari and Vettel destroys him, I will change my opinion, but at the moment, based on what I have seen, I think Ricciardo is a better driver then him, simple as that

        2. @liongalahad you tell em lad +100

          1. @xtwl you somehow ignore the facts when it suits your argument. Fact: Vettel got owned by Ricciardo in 2014. Last year regarding Kyvat it’s been analysed to death and Ricciardo had more mechanical issues and DNF’s as a result than his teammate. Also, I think Kyvaat being dropped by his team should explain all you need to know as to who is the better driver.

      2. Uzair Syed (@ultimateuzair)
        28th May 2016, 16:46

        @xtwl Ricciardo destroyed Vettel in 2014, and won Hungary and Belgium on merit. I think that he’s certainly on the level of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, and definitely better than Rosberg.

        1. @ultimateuzair How did he won Hungary on merit? He was miles behind Alonso, Vettel and Rosberg when the SC came out. If that SC hadn’t come out Ricciardo wouldn’t even be near the podium. Surely Ricciardo has beaten Vettel in 2014 but that is as relevant in rating drivers today as Alonso and Hamilton in 2007. One season says nothing, all drivers have their lesser seasons (Alo 2007, Vet 2014, Ham 2011). On the contrary you have pairs who have been together over a longer stint making it valuable information. (Ham/Ros Mercedes, Vet/Web Red Bull, Mas/Alo Ferrari, But/Ham McLaren)

          In all honesty I rate Ricciardo high and he will become better but he has yet to prove being the consistant champion material that Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel have proven to be. Kimi is hard to put next to these men as his prime is long gone but if we remember him as in 2003-2005 he would surely still be among the top today. Rosberg is proving himself to be a tough pair of hands against Hamilton although losing out in the past two seasons. He surely has qualities where he is better than Ricciardo too, wheel to wheel not being one of them.

          Naming him as the best driver on the grid is even another category to far.

      3. Not to mention Button and Kimi, hell you may as well throw Rosberg into the equation…

      4. @liongalahad & @ultimateuzair
        Until Ricciardo has sustained consistent success over multiple race seasons at the business end of the grid, he can’t be considered “the best driver” above future legends like Alonso, Hamilton etc.

        1. Guybrush Threepwood
          28th May 2016, 21:59

          Ricciardo was able to sustain greater success than Vettel in 2014 for the whole season and Vettel has won more WDC’s than anyone on the grid…

        2. Exactly. Wake me when he starts piling up the pole positions like LH or SV. This is his FIRST

    5. @fihar
      2014? Definitely the year when Ricciardo’s star began to rise.
      Better than Alonso? Let’s not forget that 2014 was also the season during which Alonso humiliated his team mate Räikkönen, outpacing him in virtually every session and outscoring him 3:1. That’s the same Räikkönen who’s only slightly off Vettel’s pace so far in 2016. I agree it would be interesting to see how Alonso and Ricciardo compare in a competitive car, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Alonso came out ahead. If he ever gets a competitive ride ever again, that is.

      1. “the same Räikkönen” you say. I say hardly.
        Perhaps it would be better to state that Raikkonen after three years in Ferrari is now doing better than when he first arrived. Also I’m not particularly interested in an Alonso-Ricciardo comparison at this late stage in Alonso’s career. I think Ricciardo would out qualify him pretty much every time at this point. Lastly, multiple WDCs are very very difficult to achieve. Just look at Räikkönen who could have had 3 or Alonso 4 or Hamilton 4 already. Vettel has won the title every time he has been in a position to do so. Now that is something to write home about.

    6. He has a long way to go to be best on the grid. Potentially he is but needs to be put to results. Hamilton and Vettel have as many or more titles than he has race wins. He could not win with Torro Rosso when no better than Vergne but another driver did. He was beaten by Kyvatt last year and by a future superstar 18 year old in the same car last race. Potential is there but so far for whatever reason it is not realiased. The grin could take his 1st step tomorrow by winning a race on speed rather than people in front dropping out. Knowing him so far it will be 4th tomorrow.

  12. Sometimes it makes sense to go out early and bank a lap. Cool dude last few minutes stuff is risky and we see the result now and again. DR put that pole in really early so if anyone else was really faster they had loads of time to sort it out and they couldn’t. Pressure pressure pressure.

    1. @blik What a banker that was though!

    2. like enough time to coast around in Q3 for 4 laps?

  13. FINALLY a driver result instead of a car result in F1!! KUDOS to Ricciardo, he can be the best in this sport – he beat Vettel 4 time WDC, he won the only races when Mercedes couldn’t in 2014, he is the only driver to beat his teammate in every qualifying session this year. in a car equal to Mercedes, I think he would regularly beat Hamilton and Rosberg.

    1. Redbulls chassis doesn’t count as ‘car’ ?

    2. What you on about? It was a car result. lol. The chassis of the Red Bull is more suited to this track than the Mercedes one.

      1. @foreverred Some people really are on drugs…

  14. It’s a shame Nico had the same fuel issue as Lewis, but i guess Nico manged to cope with it better. Both of Nico’s laps in Q3 were faster than Lewis’. I guess the driver does make a difference, one has won Monaco three times in a row and the other hasn’t won since 2008.

    1. I think you should change your username to ‘Lauda’ :)

      1. Does anyone actually believe these Nico also had issues statements anymore?

    2. Nico was in the garage and his mechanics/crew dealt with it, Lewis was let out with fuel pressure issues. It had nothing to do with Nico doing anything, unless he spotted the problem by himself and warned his crew.

    3. Nico didn’t miss the first half of the session because of the problem. Lewis was forced to do 4+ laps on the tyre and only one lap pushing.


    4. David Jones
      28th May 2016, 15:41

      It’s also a shame that Nico got two flying laps and Hamilton only got one. Also if you watch Hamilton’s onboard his engine really didn’t sound healthy. Nico’s sounded fine. I don’t really see the point you are trying to make, bar trying to put some spin and making Nico look somewhat “superior” to engine fault management.

  15. I just looked at last year tyre strategies and the longest stint anyone could get out of the Supersofts was 42 laps by Will Stevens, even so a 2015 Manor isn’t exactly a standard for comparison here. So drivers tomorrow are going to have to make the Ultrasofts last for about 35 laps to see an Ultrasoft-Supersofts strategy work. Is it possible?

    If it isn’t, then I wonder how many drivers are still having a spare set of Softs. Will anyone play it safe and go for an Ultrasofts-Softs strategy? But if Ultrasofts-Supersofts can’t get to the end of the race then so can’t Supersofts-Ultrasofts, and then Ricciardo is in a tough position.

    But that is if the race is completely dry, rain is expected tomorrow to completely shake things up. Not to mention safety cars and crashes can come at anytime and make or break teams’ strategies.

    This is why we love the Monaco Grand Prix, not too many overtakes, but anything can happen here.

    1. Don’t forget that the US should last longer at the end than at the start due to lighter car and more rubber on the track.

    2. I believe they must use two compounds, not necessarily the ultra, so RIC could use SS-S and have tyre life to spare.

      1. Yes, he can. But others will be doing Ultrasoft-Soft, with the Soft lasting up to 62 laps last year, I can see no problem with this strategy. Without fast tyres at the start, he might lose position, and the just to have the same tyres as everybody else at the end, granted, with more life in them, but at Monaco I doubt it will mean much.

    3. @ducpham2708
      Last year’s Supersofts were durable enough for much more than just 40 laps. Will Stevens’s tyres showed no signs of losing any grip. He started his stint with a low 1:23 in lap 37 (he had some slower laps before that due to traffic), his fastest lap of the race was in lap 58 (1:22.6), and he was still lapping in the mid/low 1:23s at the end of the race, putting in a 1:23.0 on lap 75, with 41 laps-old tyres.

      The same goes for the front-runners, who all pitted around lap 36, triggered by Vettel’s early stop. Their lap times were still getting faster at that stage, so tyre wear wasn’t the reason for the pit stops. The only driver who seemed to experience significant tyre wear was Lewis, whose lead was slightly decreasing in the laps before the pit stop.
      I guess that if they’d had to use the Supersofts for as long as possible, we might’ve seen stints of 50+ laps before the tyres really started to suffer.

      So I think it’s an easy one-stopper tomorrow if you use the Supersofts at the start. If it’s possible to do 10 qualifying-like laps with them before they lose more than a couple of tenths per lap, it should be feasible to nurse them till lap 30, maybe even more. The last 48 laps shouldn’t be too much of a problem, either.
      However, Ricciardo will have to drive rather slowly after surviving the first lap to avoid sliding too much. They’ll probably need a few laps of very smooth driving before reaching their temperature window.

      If he succeeds in doing that, he’ll have to think about his vulnerability during the pit stop window. He’ll be targetting lap 45 for his one and only pit stop, which is some 10 laps later than his closest competitors. If he’s not on the pace in these 10 laps, he might lose the race. So it might be a valid strategy to drive very slowly during the first stint, bunching up the pack behind him, saving his tyres and making the undercut unattractive (because an early pit stop would get you stuck in heavy traffic). Then wait for his opponents to pit, only picking up the pace from then on. Then keep pushing as long as his lap times are competitive.

      Of course, his life could get easier if he has the pace to drive away from the Mercs. But to be honest, I don’t know if he can pull that off. His first priority should therefore be a good defensive strategy.
      Or rain, at which point all these strategies become completely irrelevant.

  16. Black n Blue
    28th May 2016, 15:08

    Absolute stellar lap from Ricciardo. It’s amazing we’ve had to wait so long to see him stick it on pole, but I suppose that’s the nature of Mercedes’ dominance these past few years. You could never quite tell whether the Mercs had been sandbagging or not, especially with Hamilton going for a sequence of warm up laps in Q3. Refreshing to see a Red Bull on pole. They’ve got one hand on the trophy as we speak…

  17. This might sound like a dumb question but does Ric need to use ultra soft at least once in the race?

    1. No, according to the new 2016 tyre rules, you have to use 2/3 dry compounds in the race, except for rain occurences.

      1. @ducpham2708 so the answer is yes, unless he uses softs, which he won’t.

        1. As I have said on the comment above, that’s not so sure. We still have no idea whether you can make it to the end of the race with a set of Ultrasoft and a set of Supersoft, and of course nobody’s going to two-stop, you can’t make up a pit stop time here at Monaco. So he might have to, considering that he still has one set of spare Softs.

        2. @liongalahad The questioner didn’t ask for an opinion on whether he will use the ultrasoft, just if he has to. The answer is no, he does not have to.

          He does have to use either the ultrasoft or the soft if it remains dry through the race (if it rains he doesn’t have to use either).

  18. What a lap by Ric! Probably the best pole lap I’ve seen in a little while, anyway, for the race, he probably put himself at risk of starting on super-softs while others around him are on the ultra-softs, so he has to be aware of Ros at the start or he’ll be staring at Ros’s back all race.

    Honorable mentions to performances from Hulk, Alo and the ToRosso’s. Add the fact that tomorrow could be a wet race and we have the ingredients of what could be an interesting race.

  19. Amazing lap from RIC
    shame on MERC
    lazzy FER
    And looks like RIO have done his homework to cope WEH on manor. Credit for his focus to deal with money n politics pressure

  20. Wow, what a lap, flat through parts of swimming pool area, just electric.

    Pretty sure that is as fast as that Red Bull would go. Senna like.

    Mercedes on other hand had some Q3 reluability dramas on both cars… Hamilton for sure was in fight for pole under more ideal circumstances. He did like 3 warm up laps. Poor. Nico again got the job done against his Championship competitor.

    Ferraris, ok but just way slower. It just shows how good chassis RBR now have. After 2 years of trailing, they are now slightly better than Mercedes in slow stuff.

    We will see what Race brings. If Mercedes drivers cooperate, they can stop RBR win. By that I mean, sacrificing one, to grab lead and hold up Riciardo.

    But not sure LH and NR are capable of such cooperation.

    Start will be crucial. At best Nico can take him in to T1, after that no way past that Red Bull. Daniel was amazing in all breaking areas, where one could hope to overtake, and will likley have speed advantage in the end on any restarts or anything similar.

    1:0 for Red Bull.

    Anything else? Max, will likeley have a cracking race from the back, we might see some magic and crash qround P8.

    1. None of us know if Hamilton was actually fuelled and briefed to do 3 warm up laps with lap 4 the hot lap. It looked that way to me from up in Tribune K, it was clear his final lap was the only one he was pushing through the section I could see, and the speed they carry through Tabac makes it very obvious. Overall a good recovery by him.

      Absolutely stellar from Ricciardo though.

    2. “Senna like” – when I saw onboard footage of the pole lap it was the first thing that crossed my mind. Awesome Dan!

    3. @jureo Yeah such a classic lap. Rarely get a buzz like that from watching even the replay.

      Disagree Hamilton would have beaten as he was on Rosberg’s pace Q1 and Q2.

  21. solid drive by Carlos Sain once again, not far away from Ferrari

  22. To the Max !
    28th May 2016, 18:52

    That RB12 is a serious good chassis, the way Ricciardo was able to drive it was marvellous. Verstappen being caught out by how much grip he all of sudden had is another showing about how good it is.

    Good job by Ricciardo, and Verstappen still needs a bit more experience with driving that beast on the limit.

    1. https://twitter.com/redbullracing/status/736626952644222976

      Great self reflection on his run today from Max ;)

    2. “Verstappen being caught out by how much grip (…)” Exactly! He expected more understeer from the car but that girl goes where you tell her. Hitting the barrier at apex!? Ugh.

  23. This great RBR result makes me shout: FORMULA 1 IS ALIVE AGAIN!

  24. the start will be crucial. if it stays dry, ricciardo will have less grippier tyres than rosberg. and as we’ve seen in the gp2 races, the pole-sitter never got off to a good start. i think rosberg may get ahead before saint devote if he gets a good start.

  25. Alonso beats Button yet again. I think Jenson is the most overrated driver on the grid, frankly. Even Vandoorne – fresh in the car and off a long flight from Japan – left him in the dust.
    When will McLaren let him go and give that drive to Vandoorne?

    1. 9 seasons without a championship and over three years without a single GP win. I’d say Alonso would give Button a close battle in any fight for most overrated.

  26. I remember Hamilton having same kind of “great” qualifying result. After that he screwed up his race.

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