Monaco Grand Prix: Ricciardo seizes first Formula One career pole

Red Bull driver to lead current leader Rosberg and incumbent champion Hamilton

Reuters May 29, 2016
Ricciardo came to Monaco with a new and more powerful Tag Heuer-branded Renault engine. PHOTO: REUTERS

MONACO: Australian Daniel Ricciardo seized the first pole position of his Formula One career at the Monaco Grand Prix yesterday with world championship leader Nico Rosberg joining him on the front row for Mercedes.

“High time,” shouted the Red Bull driver over the team radio after being told the news. 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.

Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton qualified third, a remarkable recovery after his car suffered a fuel pressure problem at the start of the final session and had to be pushed back along the pitlane.

Monaco Grand Prix: Ricciardo prays heavens don’t open up

Ferrari’s Vettel will join the Briton on the second row for the season’s showcase race, where the harbour-side track winds through twisty metal-fenced streets and overtaking is extremely difficult.

While Ricciardo celebrated, there was disappointment in the other half of the garage with 18-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen crashing in the opening session.

The teenager, whose victory on his Red Bull debut in Spain two weeks ago made him the sport’s youngest winner, will start in the back row.

Hamilton’s hopes of pole suffered a big blow at the start of the final 12-minute session when Mercedes told him to stop at the end of the pitlane as he headed out.

Verstappen becomes youngest ever F1 winner in Spain

Mechanics ran to recover the car, which was fixed in a frantic flurry of activity in the garage. He then had to abort his first attempt at a quick lap, slowing to avoid being caught in traffic, before setting the third-best time.

Hamilton is 43 points behind teammate Rosberg, who started the season by winning four races in a row. Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified fifth for Force India.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2016.

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