Australian Daniel Ricciardo will start at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday night (AEST) after enduring another disappointing qualifying session.
A day after crashing into practice, Ricciardo Monaco’s nightmare continued when he was knocked out in Q2 after two laps.
Ricardo McLaren’s teammate Lando Norris finished fifth in fifth place.
“FP3 (Free Practice 3) was just trying to get back into rhythm and speed, and then we made some changes to the car to qualify, and I think we were in a decent place,” Ricardo told Sky Sports.
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“Question 1, I was taking some good steps [but] A few mistakes as well. So I think, putting it all together, it actually looked like we were there – let’s say it’s competitive where it was.
“And then right in Q2 – you see in your delta, you’re not doing what you should be doing with track evolution and all that.”
“In the end it becomes very difficult to feel where the limit is and how far to go,” he said. “I don’t know what the word is. It’s frustrating.
“It’s just confusing – it’s confusing not to do these kinds of natural steps that one should.”
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start at the pole for Sunday’s race.
On his home track, where he cycled from his apartment to the course, Leclerc hopes to finish first and regain a Formula 1 point lead.
Leclerc was supposed to lead the field from the pole at the Monaco Grand Prix – the same position he held a year ago. But he never started the race because he crashed his Ferrari at the end of qualifying and the car could not be repaired in time to compete.
In the previous three starts on the city streets of Monaco, Leclerc has retired twice with crash damage and failed to start. This Sunday, he hopes a win will put him ahead of current champion Max Verstappen in the F1 standings and dispel any curses on the streets of his hometown.
“I’m not superstitious at all,” Leclerc said. “We’ve had a smooth weekend so far and we’re starting at the best possible place. Hopefully we have a clean race and we finally got a good result at home.”
Leclerc was the fastest in two of the three practice sessions, as well as qualifying.
With 30 seconds left in Saturday’s qualifiers, Ferrari locked out the front row as Carlos Sange Jr. qualified for the second, despite spinning in Sergio Perez’s disabled red bull.
“I saw the yellow flag, I realized the car in front of me had crashed and you can’t see where it crashed, so you enter the corner without knowing where you’re going,” said Senge. “I braked harder and was able to clip him to the back of the car. If I could have saved it, it would have been a nice save, because there was no time to save it. But it happened in Monaco.”
It ended an eventful day for Sange, who was fined $ 37,000 for interrupting Lance Stroll during final practice. After receiving what the race stewards called “a gradual misinformation”, Signs came to a halt at the end of the track and followed him.
And, Ferrari team captain Matia Binotto acknowledged that reliability issues were a concern after Leclerc’s engine failure at last week’s Spanish Grand Prix. Leclerc was leading when his Ferrari stopped and reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen won his third consecutive race and took a six-point lead from Leclerc in the standings.
“Reliability is always a concern,” Binoto said. “It’s worrying us, we’re watching what happened.”
The Red Bulls, meanwhile, have squashed an internal drama that could linger after a team order last week that demanded that Perez relinquish his leadership of Verstapen.
Red Bull principal Christian Horner said the team spoke to Perez after the race in Spain and that Perez qualified third in Monaco with teammate Verstappen.
“He’s a great team player, he’s a huge part of our team,” Horner said. “We saw the problems that were obviously there as a Ferrari team, it was a logical thing, not allowing the drivers to fight each other and trying to bank those points.
“We’ve clearly talked through it, the reasoning behind it, which he fully accepted and understood. Now we’ll try and get him into the Ferrari fight this weekend.”
Norris is one place ahead of George Russell for McLaren’s Norris Mercedes. Russell’s teammate, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, failed to improve his position due to the red flag by the eighth qualifier and Perez’s spin.
Fernando Alonso was seventh, Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Okon were ninth and tenth.
Hamilton is on its way to the eighth race without a win, which would be equal to his worst Mercedes race since the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. He has a record 103 F1 wins, even without qualifying without delay he thinks he could have improved his position.
“The red flag cost my last lap, but I don’t think it’s going to be very different,” said the British veteran. “The car there looks pretty bad and we have to take some big risks to get somewhere near the front car time.”
The weather forecast called for rain on Sunday night, and Leclerc wondered what it could do on a familiar street.
“The city tracks are very clever. Wet I’m sure Monaco is tougher,” Leclark said.
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