Roaring Ricciardo’s record-breaking rampage
DANIEL Ricciardo worked his way around the tight confines of the Monaco track and after continually taking time off the lap record, he claimed pole position.
Back at the scene where he claimed his first ever pole position in F1, Ricciardo blitzed the field and will lead from the front when the lights go out on Sunday night.
His time of 1:10.810 not only broke the track record, it completely obliterated it and left the commentary team in awe. It came after he had already broken the track record in practice.
"I've never seen a car produce a 1:10 lap here," Sky Sports commentator David Croft said stunned.
It marks the second time in his career he has claimed the famed pole position with both having come in Monaco.
He'll start on the front row with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel (1:11.039) alongside after he edged out Lewis Hamilton (1:11.232).
"Fifty per cent done, let's do this s*** tomorrow," roared a pumped-up Australian, while Sky F1's Martin Brundle described his lap, on the hypersoft tyre, as "perfect" and like "poetry in motion".
Hamilton will be joined on the second row of the grid by Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn tried several tactics through qualifying to close the gap on Ricciardo.
Talking to David Coulthard following the lightning quick qualifying session, Ricciardo know's the job isn't anywhere near complete yet.
"We've been quickest every session ... I've done everything I can so far, let's finish it tomorrow," Ricciardo said.
Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen didn't take part in qualifying after the Red Bull team weren't able to repair his car in time.
Verstappen somehow crashed under no pressure moments from the end, and left his team the impossible mission of trying to piece together his mangled car.
In the latest incident of a troubled season for the 20-year-old Dutch driver, he locked his brakes exiting the swimming pool section next to the famed harbour, slid across the track and into the barriers.
The right wheel of the car was mangled and the suspension broken. Verstappen looked dejected as he climbed out and walked back to his garage.
Two years ago, he made an identical mistake coming out of the same chicane.
Verstappen will start from the back of the grid for Sunday's race.
"It feels a little bittersweet," admitted Red Bull boss Christian Horner to Sky F1. "It's frustrating with such a fast car not to have both cars on the front row."
UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR RICCIARDO
It's safe to say Ricciardo enjoys the iconic narrow streets of Monaco, the scene of his only F1 pole positions.
But the 2016 event still frustrates the Australian, who was in control of the race before a botched Red Bull pit-stop cost him a maiden Monte Carlo victory.
"There is still a lot of fire in this belly," insisted Ricciardo. "I've done everything I can so far, let's finish the job tomorrow. I'm pumped."
But while pole position is so crucial on such a tight track, Ricciardo has no safety net in Verstappen - whose error through the swimming pool chicane in P3 saw him shunt into two barriers.
It was his fifth Monaco crash in just four entries.
That leaves Ricciardo open to attack from two multi world champions and multi Monaco winners in Vettel and Hamilton, who both admitted they could not threaten Red Bull in qualifying.
"I'm going for the win tomorrow," Hamilton told Sky F1. "Somehow, someway, I'm going to try to switch places with them."
WHO'S LEADING THE MIDFIELD?
Fernando Alonso may have dragged his McLaren into Q3 once again, beating Carlos Sainz in the Renault, but the real stars of the show were Force India.
The team weren't expecting much at such a chassis-dependent circuit, but Esteban Ocon finished the session up in sixth while Sergio Perez was ninth, but less than a tenth behind in a close midfield battle.
Pierre Gasly can also be extremely happy with his efforts, making the top-10 for the second time this season.
Sergey Sirotkin (13th) impressed in reaching Q2 for Williams - with a disgruntled Lance Stroll out in Q1 again - while Leclerc shone at his home race by finishing 14th and ahead of Romain Grosjean, who faces a three-place grid penalty following his Spanish GP crash.
Grosjean is better-placed than Haas teammate Magnussen, however, with the Dane the surprise exit from the first part of qualifying as many drivers were caught out by yellow flags after Leclerc went straight on at St Devote.
Hartley, in particular, couldn't hide his anger due to the potential of his Toro Rosso.
FULL MONACO GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING RESULTS
1 - Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull - 1'10.810
2 - Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari - 1'11.039
3 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes - 1'11.232
4 - Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari - 1'11.266
5 - Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes - 1'11.441
6 - Esteban Ocon, Force India - 1'12.061
7 - Fernando Alonso, McLaren - 1'12.110
8 - Carlos Sainz, Renault - 1'12.130
9 - Sergio Perez, Force India - 1'12.154
10 - Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso - 1'12.221
11 - Niko Hülkenberg, Renault - 1'12.411
12 - Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren - 1'12.440
13 - Sergey Sirotkin, Williams - 1'12.521
14 - Charles Leclerc, Sauber - 1'12.714
15 - Romain Grosjean, Haas - 1'12.728
16 - Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso - 1'13.179
17 - Marcus Ericsson, Sauber - 1'13.265
18 - Lance Stroll, Williams - 1'13.323
19 - Kevin Magnussen, Haas - 1'13.393
20 - Max Verstappen, Red Bull - no time
- with Matt Morlidge, Sky Sports