Infiniti Red Bull Racing once again were the best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes team and locked out row two in Monaco. Daniel Ricciardo will start the race in third position, with team-mate and four-time Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion Sebastian Vettel in fourth.
Ricciardo felt it was possible to get a little more time out of the car but made a mistake on his final run that left him almost four tenths off the pole position time set by Nico Rosberg, but the young Australian hopes to be able to compete with the two Mercedes drivers in the race.
“I think I could have been closer to the front today and I don’t like it when that’s the case,” said Ricciardo. “I made a mistake in the last run in Q3; we were up and I thought it was going well, but then I made a mistake and lost the time I had made. Anyways, there’s no room for excuses here so I’ll just have to learn for next time.
“I would be disappointed not to finish on the podium tomorrow. I think we have the pace to hang with Mercedes, so hopefully we can at least get one of them off the line and maybe do something with strategy and give ourselves a real chance of taking a win.”
For Sebastian Vettel, an issue with the ERS on his Red Bull car during qualifying affected his running, but the German worked around this issue to set the fourth fastest time in final qualifying. He was happy to be on the second row of the grid but he once again got out-qualified by his team-mate.
“I had some problems in qualifying today,” admitted Vettel. “Somewhere in Q1 we lost ERS, so basically the electric power to discharge the car and we didn’t get it back. In the end we ran a different mode, which was fine, but surely not as good as it should be. It was the first time it had failed this weekend, but these things happen. We tried lots of different modes, but at some point you have to just get your head down and get on with it.
“My time was okay but then we weren’t able to improve on the second flying lap in Q3 as there was a yellow flag. I thought we would give Mercedes a hard time today, but we struggled with some things and the gap was too big – it’s still good to be on the second row for tomorrow.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principle Christian Horner felt locking out the second row of the grid was a positive result for the team, especially after the ERS issue for Vettel and the yellow flags affected the drivers’ late-session runs.
“Locking out the second row of the grid is a very positive result,” said Horner. “Unfortunately we had an issue with Sebastian’s ERS today, which wasn’t functioning properly, so we had to run in a slightly down-graded mode for qualifying and that, combined with the yellow flags, meant he didn’t have a chance to improve on his second run.
“Daniel, who has been on it all weekend, did another super job to line up third on the grid and with both Red Bull cars on the second row, we have a good chance to make a race of it with Mercedes tomorrow.”