Daniel Ricciardo earned his first F1 pole in his career as he emerged the fastest in the qualifying session in the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday. But the task ahead for the Red Bull driver is going to be tough as Mercedes' drivers – Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton – will try their best to overtake Ricciardo in Circuit de Monaco during the race on Sunday. Rosberg and Hamilton will start from second and third position in the grid.
It was not a huge surprise to witness Ricciardo drive fantastically and take pole, as he looked in a amazing form during the practise session as well. The Red Bull driver has been one of the most consistent drivers this season and was confident ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
"I knew coming into the weekend we'd have a shot at it and it looked good from Thursday. Yeah, I sort of had it in my mind the whole time coming into the weekend. I think also, after Barcelona I felt like... the last few races I feel like I've been driving well but haven't go maximum reward, so I came into this weekend with a lot of a confidence and a lot of belief that I could be in this position," F1's official website quoted Ricciardo as saying.
It would take some doing from the Mercedes drivers to get past Ricciardo, as overtaking is one of the most difficult jobs in the Monaco Grand Prix with its tough circuit.
However, it was another disappointment for Hamilton, who ran into technical problems once again in Monaco, and the driver will be keen to forget about it on Sunday. Such engine problems have made it difficult for the defending champion, who is yet to win a single race in 2016, to show his class in F1 season.
"It was a difficult qualifying; I don't really know what to say at the moment. The good thing is that I did get out to do a lap at least. It wasn't as bad as some of the races have been in that respect, with the engine problems. I'm grateful to be up in third. Obviously pole was there for the taking I think, but nonetheless I will do what I can in the race tomorrow to salvage what I can from today's result," Hamilton said.
Though Hamilton might have suffered some problems in the season, his team mate Nico Rosberg has been in a stupendous form, winning the first four races of the season. The German has been in solid control of his car, and will give a stiff challenge to Ricciardo.
Rosberg knows how to win Monaco Grand Prix, as he crossed the chequered flag first in the last three seasons. He is gunning for his fourth straight Monaco Grand Prix victory. The Mercedes have faced competition this season from Red Bull, who have been fast, but Rosberg will use all his skills and his car's pace to beat Ricciardo in the Monaco Grand Prix.
"They (Red Bull) have done a very good job in recent races. They've progressed very quickly and now another big step with the engine. We always expected them to be a tough competitor but we did see Ferrari as our closest competitors and now we need to question that. Of course Monaco is a very unique track, so let's not come to any conclusions here – but for sure it's them, Ferrari and us. We all seem to be very close here and hopefully the next race we'll be a bit further ahead again," Rosberg said.
Though the fight for the Monaco Grand Prix win will lie between Red Bull and Mercedes, one cannot rule out Ferrari, whose Sebastian Vettel will start from the fourth position in the grid, and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen at sixth. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who was sensational in the qualifying, will aim to attain maximum points in Monaco Grand Prix.
Where to watch live
Monaco Grand Prix is scheduled for a 2 p.m. local time (5.30 p.m. IST, 1 p.m. BST, 8 a.m ET) start.
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