Ricciardo takes pole position for Monaco Grand Prix

LEWIS Hamilton has predicted Daniel Ricciardo will stay at Red Bull for 2019 as the Monaco GP victor prepares to consider his options for next season.

Winning from pole position on Sunday for the first time in his career, the Australian drove for almost two-thirds of the race with a auto down on power due to problems that emerged on lap 28.

Sebastian Vettel - who won the race past year - crossed the line in second place while championship leader Lewis Hamilton was one place behind him as the gap at the top closed by three points.

In the championship, the Red Bull driver now sits third once again with Hamilton still leading Vettel by 14 points ahead of the next race in Canada in two weeks time.

"Unf*****believable", Ricciardo's team boss Christian Horner said.

Ricciardo's only previous pole had been in Monaco two years ago, when he lost out to Hamilton on strategy and finished runner-up.

Championship rivals Vettel and Hamilton had only praise for an immaculate showing by Ricciardo.

"I had half the power it seemed and I felt like it was going to come to a stop", said Ricciardo.

"Forty laps to go, I was like, Oh God, please".

It is Ricciardo's seventh career victory, his first in Monaco and after winning in China, his second this season.

Annoyed by a loss of power to the 28th lap, Ricciardo was able to calm the ardor of his pursuers without the assurance of his team at the wells. "He just needs to keep his head down and doing what he is now doing". "Negative", came the reply. For lap after lap, he kept the gap. I don't know if that was exciting for you guys to watch.

"We had problems. We had a lot to deal with during the race". "I think we probably need to give something to the fans at the end of the race just to pay the ticket back a little". "Thanks to the team".

"Daniel did a great job today, so super happy for him, but ultimately we were all turned down and just cruising around, making sure we get to the end". The pain of losing the 2016 race in the Principality has never really gone away for the 28-year-old, and his immediate comments - "redemption", "two years in the making" - showed you where his mind was as he climbed the steps to the royal box to receive the winner's trophy every driver covets like no other.

Vettel said it had been a tricky race and "Daniel had the answer at all times".

A largely processional race saw the safety vehicle stay in the pits, with only a virtual safety auto needed in the closing laps.

That was triggered by Sauber's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, the first local F1 driver in 24 years to compete on his home streets, having piled into the back of New Zealander Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso at the tunnel exit.

Kimi Raikkonen completed fourth within the second Ferrari, with Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas in fifth.

For Red Bull, this marks what will be seen as a broadly very positive start to the season, despite the disappointment after their drivers took one another out in Baku, and Max Verstappen's crash in practice that forced him to start from the back of the grid, which he managed to convert into ninth place.

As it turned out, Ricciardo was racing with a almost 2-second deficit.

Ricciardo had already smashed the all-time track record repeatedly in practice before qualifying in 1:10.810.

  • Angelo Rivera