Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Monaco, 2018

Ricciardo dominates qualifying in Monaco for second pole position

2018 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying

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Daniel Ricciardo was in a class of one throughout practice for the Monaco Grand Prix. Having headed all three sessions before qualifying began, he completed a faultless job by heading Q1, Q2 and Q3 to take the second pole position of his career.

He was aided by team mate Max Verstappen crashing his car during the final practice session. Verstappen was unable to run in qualifying and is set to start last.

Sebastian Vettel pipped Lewis Hamilton to the second spot on the front row with his final run.


Shortly before qualifying began the FIA announced Red Bull had changed the gearbox on Max Verstappen’s car following his crash in final practice. This boded ill for the driver who had been quickest when he went into the wall five minutes before practice finished. Sure enough, the team weren’t able to finish the repairs to his RB14 in time, leaving him last on the grid with an impending five-place grid penalty.

The track improved rapidly throughout Q1 which meant the final minutes of the session were stressful for the drivers towards the front of the midfield. They were inadvertently helped by Charles Leclerc, who shortly after vaulting into the top 10 went off at Sainte Devote. That brought out the yellow flags and disabled DRS, preventing several drivers from improving in the final sector.

Among them was Brendon Hartley, who also complained about a close encounter with Sergio Perez’s Force India. The Toro Rosso driver narrowly missed the cut having been seventh-fastest in final practice.

Lance Stroll and Marcus Ericsson, both of which had looked slower than their team mates in practice, also missed the cut. Kevin Magnussen was the slowest driver to set a time, meaning the five drivers who dropped out in Q1 all came from different teams.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’13.179
17Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’13.265
18Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’13.323
19Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’13.393
20Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer

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Could one of the top teams steal an advantage by getting through Q2 on a set of ultra-soft tyres? Red Bull’s pace advantage made them the likeliest suspect but their only remaining driver in the session, Daniel Ricciardo, stayed on hyper-softs from the word go.

Instead it was Mercedes who tried to gain a starting position on the harder, but strategically advantageous tyres. However it was clear from the early running that they didn’t have the pace and both drivers soon joined the rest on hyper-softs.

Ricciardo was comfortably quickest once again while a late improvement from Raikkonen made him the first of the two Ferrari drivers. The Force India pair led the midfield.

The session’s biggest surprise was Nico Hulkenberg’s failure to reach Q3. Carlos Sainz Jnr made the cut for Renault and Pierre Gasly took his Toro Rosso into the final 10, having left him team mate behind in Q1.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Nico HulkenbergRenault1’12.411
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’12.440
13Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’12.521
14Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’12.714
15Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’12.728


The identity of the pole sitter never really looked in doubt. Ricciardo’s first lap was a masterpiece of controlled aggression which delivered the first ever sub-71 second lap of Monaco. Nonetheless he went out to try and best it, and fell short by just three hundredths of a second.

It didn’t matter as no one else was able to break the 1’11 barrier. Hamilton produced a superb first lap to lead the Ferraris, and look on course to hold the position until the final sector of his final lap. There the Ferrari’s superior tyre life seemed to tell and Vettel reasserted himself to take second.

Nonetheless Hamilton beat the other Ferrari of Raikkonen. Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of an impressive Esteban Ocon. The Force India driver led the midfielders, all of which only had one run on new tyres in Q3.

Top ten in Q3

1Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’10.810
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’11.039
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.232
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’11.266
5Valtteri BottasMercedes1’11.441
6Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’12.061
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’12.110
8Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’12.130
9Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’12.154
10Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’12.221

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2018 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Ricciardo dominates qualifying in Monaco for second pole position”

  1. What’s up with Vettel driving to the pits after qualifying?

    1. I heard he had to take a dump.

      Lewis was worried.

  2. Mighty. ‘Dominate’ is just a perfect word.

  3. Hope he gets the win that eluded him in 2016. He deserves it. Second time he’s dominated the place.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I hope he nails it this time.

    2. Fernando, Lewis, Ricciardo – top 3 drivers in the world.

      1. Lewis, Seb and Dan you mean.

        1. No, he means Fernando, Lewis and Ricciardo.
          I would say he’s right. Even the order is correct.

          1. I would disagree, as Fernando never actually beat Seb or Lewis to win a title, and is at the wrong end of his career compared to the other three.

  4. If think we can now put Ricciardo into the category of superstar (if he wasn’t already)

    1. I wouldn’t go that far.
      IMO, he’s very good, but still has a lot to prove.
      His dive bombing technique is risky – borders on careless at times. VES often out qualifies him – only his stupidity keeps him from finishing ahead of RIC.
      I do hope RIC wins tomorrow though.

      1. I am not sure how you can describe Ricciardo’s late braking passes careless. Risky, sure, but not careless. Careless is Max. The Ricciardo passes I have seen he managed without even momentarily locking a wheel. Just unbelievable judgement. Ricciardo has been a great driver in a good but not great car. Lets see what he can do when he gets something comparable to Hamilton at less suited tracks than Monaco. He also needs to demonstrate the ability to lead and control a race from star to finish. We might not need to wait long to find out.

        1. I think risky is more correct now that you mentioned it and I’ll add impatient at times.
          Alonso has endorsed him which says a lot.
          It would be fun to see him at Ferrari alongside Vettel.
          I think it would be closer than when they were paired at RBR. I hope it happens. Marko doesn’t deserve him!

          1. I think if Vettel had stayed at RBR, he would have got on top of the car better the second year. The new regs made the cars very tail happy and he has explicitly said he wants a planted rear end, and eventually the cars started coming that way. The competition between the two would have been awesome. Vettel and Ricardo have diced many times and I can’t recall any time either of them cried foul about the other. Even in Mexico when Vettel defended hard, Ricardo said he’d have done the same and didn’t feel hard done. Ricardo wasn’t grumpy about Vettel’s pass when they bumped wheels in China. Ricardo and Vettel at Ferrari together would be stellar, so long as Ferrari really let them race.

            I can’t agree that Ricardo’s passes are especially risky. Every defended attempt to pass is a risk. To figure how well a driver does in judging risk, you have to go to percentages of success. Daniel doesn’t crash himself or others out very often, and he pulls off passes quite a lot. I think where he really shines is he knows his competitors well and knows how to approach most other drivers when judging risk. He reads their driving style well, watches for his moment for several laps and doesn’t hesitate when the opportunity comes. This is what Max needs to learn. Right now he is fast and brave, but he goes in hard and dry and it bites him.

  5. That was one of the best qualy sessions I’ve seen in years!

    Dan the Man shows what a superb driver he is.

  6. Imperious – I love the way Keith used that to describe Dan’s lap in the live feed.

    1. He delivers with unbearable ease. I like his driving style! It’s so smooth. In FP3 when he was faster than Max only by one thousandths he was talking to his engineer while doing first sector. Imperious and bloody amazing.

  7. Today was deja vu for me, I was in Monaco 2 years ago when Dan got his first Pole and Max made the same mistake. Of course saw Red Bull forget how to grab any tyres :(

    Very happy Daniel grabbed that pole position and really hope he takes that to a win- if he races well it will be most deserved.

    I do fell sorry for Max, I know it was his mistake and he cant blame the Renault at all, but he cant catch a break. As a Dan Ric fan many might think I would be happy with this as he is ahead of his team-mate but I love the great battle between Dan & Max so would rather see them lock out the front row, then Dan win LOL.

    Max will now cope more crap than ever, probably mainly through those who know a little or none about F1, one twitter comments Crofty read on Sky (that he rebuffed right away) was “Max is nowhere good enough to be in F1” I laughed out loud!

    1. @garns Ditto, I was also in Monaco in 2016 and really hope Ricciardo can convert this pole into a win. I can’t feel sorry for Max as he is his own worst enemy! I am sure he will look back on 2018 as a formative season for him, he has really cost Red Bull points this season and looks on course to be beaten by a car consistent Ricciardo again over the season.

    2. @garns Now that I think about it; Yes, there indeed are a few similarities between this season’s and the 2016 Monaco GP weekends concerning the RBR-drivers, so hopefully, that isn’t going to lead to the team messing up Ricciardo’s pitstop as they did two years ago or anything, LOL.

      1. @ju88sy
        Where did you sit mate? We got the wet start then dried up from there. We were at an apartment level 6 on the main straight for Sat & Sun, but on a yacht on Thurs and Friday (no F1 Friday so mainly so having the beers LOL)

        I don’t think Max is his worst enemy but maybe have been bought up to be the Wunderkind- its not his fault, just how his life went (few of us will even contemplate what this is like), now things not going how they planned.

        I had a few beers with Jos in Sepang last year (Well I had beer, he drank something else) and many don’t like him but I found him quite open and honest and spoke on how Dan is good for Max, not for his driving, but being a good ‘older brother’ and helps him see a casual side of f1 (that Jos cant do really) but I was surprised to honest.

        @jerejj – don’t say that mate, Dan will get the lead and win this one :). I hate the word “deserve” in F1 as no-one deserves anything, but I will used “Really bloody hope” and hope Daniel gets this win.

        1. Robin Bollen
          27th May 2018, 8:08

          What about RB making first and second drivers, being Max the second like Fer and Merc do? Just to show him that you need to collect points and not just try to be faster than your team matte.

    3. Yes, the guy can drive fast, he shows promise. Fifteen more years of karting and stuff and he might get ready for F1

      1. When a driver’s ability starts to deteriorate due to age decline!

    4. @garns, A balanced conversation at last, as an Aussie I naturally back DanR, but I think MaxV is working to a plan, ie he wants to win every statistic in order to build the legend of ultimate greatness, unfortunately for him he is up against an equally talented teammate so has to take greater risks to achieve his goal, I’m not keeping score but those that are don’t care if a gridplace is achieved by only 2 thousandths of a second, they just count the number of times he finished ahead. SebV was the same in his early years.

  8. It’s the guys 2nd pole position, not the 2nd coming of Christ

    1. @sjzelli
      “2nd coming of Christ” – Sorry not sure what you mean mate??
      Are we talking Dan’s pole?

    2. It was a dominant pole position, and he’s been dominant in every session.

      What’s your point? He’s deserving of praise.

      1. @crunch, the point is simple – he is not German and therefore SaraJ despises him for that reason alone.

      2. when did 2 tenths become dominant? and since when does pushing your car from practice 1 when all the other top teams are cruising mean anything?
        give me half a second or close to a second before you call his performance dominant sheeesh

    3. @sjzelli ….don’t quite see your point there at all.

    4. Michael Brown (@)
      26th May 2018, 21:27

      High qualities of salt detected

      1. I agree with Saraj Completely and i’m not German.This is his second pole ever…. all he does week after week is run his mouth and fail to deliver week after week….
        Most of his race wins are due to Ferrari and mercedes having one issue or another.. IMHO he is a fraud when it pertains to him being one of the upper teir drivers in F1.

        1. Melchior (@)
          26th May 2018, 23:53

          Lol….Your opinion is funny

        2. If ricciardo fails to deliver, f1 is full of failures!

        3. Mark- off you go troll

  9. @keithcollantine

    A small error in the text guys…..

    “Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of an impressive Esteban Ocon.”

    Try 5th :)

  10. @garns That must have been a great spot for Sat and Sunday! We were sat in Tribune K with a view to the exit of the tunnel, through Nouvelle Chicane and around the swimming pool. Watching the car control of the drivers through Tabac corner in the wet was something else.

    Friday we walked the track several times and soaked up the atmosphere and beer :) drinking on the track propped up against one of the Armco’s was a very unique experience.

    Interesting comment on Max and Jos’s view of Ricciardo.

    1. @ju88sy
      Nice- I think Tabac is the best corner, but the lead into the swimming pool is something else.
      Yes it was great, but expensive. The yacht was great but not when I am looking for lap times. Monaco is more of image than F1- same as all races isn’t it! Don’t go a yacht if you love F1.

      Max wasn’t there just Jos. I asked Jos “are you going Red or Silver next year”, this was in Malaysia just two weeks before his new contract. He said “no, staying here, you are Australian aren’t you, Daniel should too”. The way I saw it was he liked Daniels influence on Max (they do seem to have heaps of fun, which is cool) but maybe though Max had Dan covered so wasn’t so worried in that regard.) He was a really nice bloke hey!

      Had a few drinks with Brundle (don’t ask about the Zakspeed), DC (Best ever) Mark Webber (top bloke) – great night! Malaysia needs to come back lol

  11. With DR history of only winning outside the top 6, I wouldn’t bet on a win this time. Tbh he only had 1 decent shot on a win from further up the grid and that was Monaco 2016. Let’s hope it’s a relative normal race for him tomorrow.

    1. “Tbh he only had 1 decent shot on a win from further up the grid and that was Monaco 2016”

      I think you just cancelled your first sentence. I reckon Dan’s a safe bet. Obviously would be the bookies favourite by a country mile. Anyhow if he was an ordinary driver he wuld have had zero wins from lowely grid positions.

      I’d agree with the comment above that Daniel Ricciardo is one of the top three drivers right now. I think Ricciardo lost his mojo with uncompetitive machinery in 2015 and 2016. But to his credit Max has given him a hurry up but Dan has moved to another level – as has Red Bull and Renault.

      As far as Max is concerned, his meteoric rise at such a young age has finally seen him elevated to the level of his ability. He has a genuinely mega quick teammate now and can’t just assume he is going to wipe the floor. I think the crashes are an outcome of the pressure Max feels from Dan’s driving. Someone needs to get in his ear and explain its no disgrace to finish behind Dan occasionally.

  12. Am I crazy or did F1 upload the wrong lap on its Youtube channel? As the lap begins, info shows the actual pole time as RIC’s best. How’s that possible if he is yet to set that time? I believe they’ve uploaded his second attempt in Q3 instead. Am I wrong?

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      26th May 2018, 21:28

      It could just be an edit, I think they’ve done that kind of thing in the past.

  13. Alonso is a joke. A fraud. An imposter.
    1.3 seconds behind the pole setter with the same engine.


    People uk viewers fall far it fo so many years. Embarrassing.

    1. Mclaren Is a shadow of its former self.

      Alonso consistently makes it look better than it is!!

    2. Melchior (@)
      26th May 2018, 23:56

      @myst Mate,he is driving a McLaren not a Red Bull,Ferrari or Merc

    3. I think you may be sarcastic, if not, I have a revelation for you: mclaren’s claim to have best chassis was downright fake, if you doubt it go check hungary and singapore 2017, 1-2 seconds behind on non-power tracks!

      Alonso is actually still driving really well for the car he has and in a red bull would be pretty close to hamilton in the championship atm.

  14. Pleasantly surprised with Force India. Traditionally they have a package that responds better in power-sensitive circuits, but today they were able to show up McLaren, Renault, STR and Haas. Hope Ocon doesn’t get Perez’d (I use that term for Perez utilising an alternative strategy to full effect and securing a podium, like what happened to Hulkenberg several times in 2014-16).

    Hamilton must be thanking his lucky stars Kimi wasn’t quick enough to demote him to fourth. P3 is a great place to start, and has several times been a guaranteed P2 into turn 1, what with the inside, clean line with less distance to cover before Turn 1. Will be interesting to see whatever action unfolds at the start tomorrow.

    Another surprise was Sirotkin, and the fact that he was so much faster than Stroll throughout the weekend on a circuit where drivers can make a difference should be alarming for the Canadian.

    And Max. Dear, dear Max. A lot of people have clipped the inside barrier at the slow Swimming Pool chicane, but he absolutely clobbered it. Max saying he clipped it and mentioning the slow Renault in front just goes to show he continues to look for ways to defend his style of driving, and I’m bracing to hear his comments post-race on the lines of “I’m going to keep on racing the way I always have…” etc etc.

    He’s a great driver with a lot of potential, but he’s beginning to resemble Maldonado and Grosjean c. 2012. I know, Vettel was labelled a crash kid early on in his creer, but the crucial fact here is how early. Vettel got his reputation from Fuji 2007 and a few races in early 2008, and those were his forst few races in F1. Verstappen, 20 years old or not, is a three-season veteran. If age is a factor then RBR should not have signed him when he was 17, because clearly something in his development was incomplete. If it isn’t a factor, then there are no other excuses really.

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