Monaco F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Saturday's Results, Times, Final Grid

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2018

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during qualifying for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 26, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo will start the 2018 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on pole position, but Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen was unable to take part in qualifying because of a gearbox issue, the result of a crash in practice.

Ricciardo was significantly faster than his Ferrari and Mercedes rivals, setting a track record in the final session. Sebastian Vettel will join him on the front row, with Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas completing the top five.

Here's a look at the full timesheets and final grid:

Here are the key takeaways from Saturday's qualifying.

   

Red Bull's Chassis Is on Another Level

On the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, Red Bull had the perfect opportunity to prove how superior their chassis is compared to the rest of the grid. As F1 legend Nigel Mansell noted, the team has some power to make up compared to their main rivals:

Ricciardo's dominance throughout practice and qualifying showed just how big their advantage in aero really is, however. The Aussie blew the competition out of the water, and there's no reason why he can't repeat that feat in Sunday's race.

   

Verstappen and Monaco Really Don't Work

The Red Bull duo were in the middle of a great battle in the final practice session and appeared primed to battle it out for pole when Verstappen parked his car up against the wall in the chicane of the swimming pool section, the exact spot where he crashed in 2016.

As Rachel Brookes of Sky Sports shared, it continued a remarkable run of crashes for the Dutchman at the world's most famous race:

Red Bull went to work with nearly all of their engineers on his car but found a gearbox issue just before the start of qualifying, ending Verstappen's day.

   

Track Congestion Remains an Issue in Monaco

Raikkonen and Bottas were involved in a minor incident in the tunnel section during the first qualifying session, with the Mercedes man ruining the Ferrari lap. There was little Bottas could do, however; such is life on Monaco's narrow streets.

There were more incidents as well. Sauber's Charles Leclerc took a wrong turn that brought out the yellow flags near the end of the first session, effectively ensuring his spot in Q2.

While none of the favourites missed out on the top five because of the busy track, there were some close calls. 

   

Mercedes' Gamble Nearly Fails Spectacularly

The Silver Arrows were off the pace early and decided to take a risk to start Q2, sending their cars out on ultrasoft tyres.

With race strategy in mind, it was a risk worth taking, but it nearly blew up in their face―both Hamilton and Bottas were so far off the pace they had to return to the garage and shift strategies at the last minute.

On a congested track, it could have ended in disaster.

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