Daniel will start tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix, the team’s 250th start, from the front of the grid.
The Australian powered to his second career pole position in the Principality. The Honey Badger took the team’s fifth Monaco pole four tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
While the delight at the team’s 58th pole position was clear, the qualifying session was a bittersweet affair and while Daniel will line up at the front of the grid, team-mate Max Verstappen paid a heavy price for an FP3 crash, being forced to sit out qualifying as the team repaired a gearbox issue detected during the rebuild of his car.
FP3 had seen Daniel run quickest (thought just 0.001s ahead of Max) and the Honey Badger was quickly on the pace in Q1. He took P1 with his first flying lap, which netter a time of 1:12.769. The Aussie hit a wall of traffic at the end of the lap, however, and as such the marker quickly bypassed as Kimi Räikkönen moved to the top of the order.
Daniel was quickly back in front, however, finding a gap in the increasingly troublesome traffic to post a lap of 1:12.013. That was good enough to keep him in P1 until the flag fell, and he finished the segment four tenths of a second ahead of Vettel and Räikkönen.
In the final runs, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc went off at Ste Devote and brought out the yellow flags. That compromised a number of final runs and in the end out went Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Williams’ Lance Stroll and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.
Daniel was quickly into the groove again in Q2, claiming P1 with a lap of 1:11.353 that left him clear of Vettel and Raikkonen. Further back, Mercedes took a risk, fitting ultrasoft tyres to their drivers' cars in the hope that the purple-banded tyres would yield enough pace to see them safely into Q3 and allow them to start on the more durable tyre.
The gambit failed, however, and as the segment entered it’s final five minutes Hamilton lay 10th, with Bottas 14th. Mercedes moved both drives to hypersofts and Hamilton blasted to third place with his first flying lap. Bottas followed to take fifth.
Räikkönen and Vettel found more time on their final runs to claim second and third respectively, improvements that dropped Hamilton to fourth ahead of Bottas.
Out went Renault’s Hulkenberg in P11, followed by McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
In Q2 Daniel’s advantage over second-place Räikkönen was just 0.113s and it looked like the Q3 battle for pole might be tight. But any though of that was dismissed in the first runs of Q3. Bottas was first across the line to take provisional pole, but he was quickly dropped down the order by Hamilton who set a lap of 1:11.261. Ricciardo though was flying and when he crossed the line he was 0.451s up on Hamilton and the only man under the 1m11s mark.
The final runs were still to come but it looked like Daniel had laid down a definitive marker. And so it proved. Vettel found time on his second run to climb above Hamilton, but neither could get near the Honey Badger’s first-run time of 1:10.810, which now stands as the fastest ever lap of Monaco.
Behind third-placed Hamilton, 2017 pole position man Räikkönen was fourth ahead of Bottas, Force India’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Renault’s Carlos Sainz and the second Force India of Sergio Perez. The top ten order was rounded out by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.
This is Daniel’s second pole position in Monaco. It’s also his second career pole position.
It’s the team’s fifth pole position in Monaco. Mark Webber scored pole in 2010 and 2012, Sebastian Vettel in 2011 and Daniel was last on pole here in 2016
Daniel’s time of 1:10.810 is the quickest ever lap of Monaco. It beats the old record (Kimi Räikkönen’s 2017 pole lap) by a whopping 1.368s