Max starts from the back in Monaco, Ricciardo on pole

Published on 26 May 2018 by Raymond Snip

Max Verstappen will start the Monaco Grand Prix from the last spot. During the qualifying session, the young Dutchman did not start driving to his crash in the third free practice session. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo took the pole position. On the tricky Monte Carlo street circuit, Sebastian Vettel drove his Ferrari to P2 and Lewis Hamilton finished third in his Mercedes.

“I got a little bit caught off guard passing the slow car, which isn’t an excuse, and clipped the inside barrier before hitting the wall", Max explains after qualifying. "It happened so quick after getting a bit distracted and perhaps I turned in a bit too early. Like in China, this was my mistake. It is of course not what you like but unfortunately sometimes it happens. It makes it a bit more painful knowing this is a track that we genuinely had a shot at pole and the win. It was a small mistake that resulted in us paying a big price. That is usually the way in Monaco."

Looking ahead to the race, Max continues: "We know we have pace here but it is so hard to pass and when you get held up there is little you can do.”

Prior to qualifying, Max' car was being worked until the last moment, after he crashed into the barrier at the end of the third free practice session. The weather is beautiful when the lights go green for Q1. Brendon Hartley is out first in his Toro Rosso. Shortly after the start of the session there are ominous reports from the Red Bull camp. It appears that Max’ gearbox also needs to be replaced. This immediately shuts down qualifying for the unfortunate Dutchman. With that, he will start from the back on Sunday.

In the meantime, Ricciardo is setting the fastest time and Kevin Magnussen, Marcus Ericsson, Nico Hülkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Max are below the cut off. When the flag goes down, it’s Brendon Hartley, Ericsson, Lance Stroll, Magnussen and Max who are done after Q1.

At the start of Q2 both Mercedes drivers go out on ultra soft tyres. The rest, however, runs on the hyper-soft compound. With three purple sectors his first fast lap, Ricciardo goes to P1: 1.11.353. With that, the Australian sets the fastest lap ever in the streets of Monaco. After their first run, both Mercedes are below the line. This shows that the ultra soft tyres are not fast enough to get to Q3.

The second run of Q2 starts with both Mercedes, Sergey Sirotkin, Charles Leclerc and Romain Grosjean below the line. On the hyper soft tyres, both Mercedes succeed to reach Q3. Ricciardo shaves off some time of his fastest lap and after the exhaust fumes have settled, Hülkenberg, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sirotkin, Leclerc and Grosjean are eliminated.

At the start of Q3 it’s uncertain who can keep Ricciardo from pole position. The Australian and Kimi Raikkonen go out on track together as last ones for their first run. Ricciardo scores purple in the first two sectors and also his last sector turns purple. With that he goes under 1.11. He is now almost half a second in front of number two, Lewis Hamilton.

In the all-deciding final run, there is no threat to Ricciardo’s pole position. Vettel jumps to P2 at the expense of Hamilton completing qualifying.

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Results qualifying Monaco:

1Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:12.0131:11.2781:10.810
2Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:12.4151:11.5181:11.039
3Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:12.4601:11.5841:11.232
4Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari1:12.6391:11.3911:11.266
5Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:12.4341:12.0021:11.441
6Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes1:13.0281:12.1881:12.061
7Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault1:12.6571:12.2691:12.110
8Carlos SainzSAIRenault1:12.9501:12.2861:12.130
9Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes1:12.8481:12.1941:12.154
10Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:12.9411:12.3131:12.221
11Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:13.0651:12.411
12Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault1:12.4631:12.440
13Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes1:12.7061:12.521
14Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari1:12.8291:12.714
15Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:12.9301:12.728
16Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:13.179
17Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari1:13.265
18Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes1:13.323
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:13.393