F1 Raceweek: Ricciardo set to vanquish Monaco demons
Daniel Ricciardo will be out to vanquish his Monaco Grand Prix demons and claim a long-awaited victory in the principality on Sunday.
After clinching his first podium on the famous circuit in 2014, Ricciardo felt he should have been on the top step in 2016, only for a bungled pit-stop to deny him glory.
The Australian sat with no tyres on the car and lost valuable seconds to Lewis Hamilton, who went on to claim victory and leave the clearly furious Red Bull driver to settle for second.
Ricciardo said he was "screwed" by his team, and he was again frustrated when, a year later, he was released into traffic in Q3 and missed out on a shot at pole position in qualifying.
But this time around he has endured an error-free week, topping the timesheets in all three practice sessions before setting a new lap record of one minute, 10.810 seconds to ensure he will start from the front of the grid.
A motivated Ricciardo said: "There is still a lot of fire in this belly. I've done everything I can so far, let's finish the job [on Sunday]. I'm pumped, it's been a good few days."
VETTEL, HAMILTON NOT OPTIMISTIC
Sebastian Vettel out-qualified championship leader Lewis Hamilton to take the place next to Ricciardo on the front row, but he is seemingly doubtful the Red Bull can be stopped.
"It was expected that Red Bull would be quick here. They have a strong car, they have more downforce than everybody else. At this track we knew they would be strong," said Vettel.
Hamilton regretted a sloppy last sector after being pipped by the German, but sounded resigned to missing out on a third straight win.
"My first Q3 lap I was happy with. My last one I was 0.27s up and then I lost it all in the last sector so I wasn't necessarily happy with that," he said.
"We knew what was going to happen this weekend. It still doesn't feel great, but it's just one race."
VERSTAPPEN'S REDEMPTION MISSION
Having been second to Ricciardo in every practice session, what looked to be a comfortable weekend for Max Verstappen turned into a nightmare.
He clipped the barrier on his exit from the Swimming Pool complex and slammed into the wall during FP3, causing damage to his gearbox that ruled him out of Q1.
Verstappen will start from the back of the grid and faces a huge challenge to work his way through the field at one of the tightest circuits on the calendar.
Team principal Christian Horner branded it a "brutal lesson" and the 20-year-old will need to learn from the costly slip-ups that have blighted his season so far if he is to get in the points on Sunday.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 95
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 78
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 58
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 48
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 47
1. Mercedes 153
2. Ferrari 126
3. Red Bull 80
4. Renault 41
5. McLaren 40
2017: Sebastian Vettel
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg
Conditions are expected to be similar to those in which Red Bull flourished, though winds are likely to be slightly higher.