Lewis Hamilton saw his 2016 woes continue as he suffer yet another engine failure during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, but the reigning champion demonstrated his resolve to qualify third as Daniel Ricciardo delivered on Red Bull’s pace in practice to take pole position.
Hamilton was unable to leave the pit lane at the start of the final qualifying session, reporting a problem with his engine in similar circumstances to his troubles in China and Russia.
However, on this occasion Mercedes were able to fix the issue before the end of the 10-minute session, and the three-time champion appeared to be on his way to pole only to lose time in the final sector to both Ricciardo and arch-rival Nico Rosberg, who will start in second.
Ricciardo took top spot by 0.169 seconds, with Hamilton more than three-tenths adrift of the Australian – who sealed his first ever pole position and Red Bull’s first in more than two years.
It was a disappointing session for Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel unable to mix it up with the lead trio as he starts fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen was beaten to fifth by the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
Carlos Sainz out-qualified his team-mate Daniil Kvyat, with the Toro Rosso’s set to start in seventh and ninth respectively, while Sergio Perez starst in-between the pair with McLaren’s Fernando Alonson rounding out the top 10.
Hamilton was at a loss to explain why his luck keeps going against him "It was a difficult qualifying, and I don't know what to say," he said afterwards. "The good thing was that I could get out and do a lap. I will do what I can tomorrow to salvage what I can from today's result.
"If the car keeps going I will be fighting as hard as I can with these guys. Hopefully it rains."
But for Ricciardo, who sealed Red Bull’s first pole position since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2013, he was delighted with the result after a promising performance on Thursday filled him with condifence for Saturday’s shootout.
"I knew coming into the weekend I had a shot at it," said. "It looked good from Thursday. I think after the last few races, I feel like I have been driving well, but not getting maximum reward. I came in with a lot of confidence and a lot of belief."
The session was red flagged within minutes of starting as the Sauber of Felipe Nasr ground to halt out on the circuit, with the Ferrari engine blowing up in a big way to leave the harbour track clouded in smoke.
Once the stranded Sauber was removed from the track, another red flag soon followed, with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen hitting the inside wall at the Swimming Pool chicane before clouting into the barrier on the exit and tearing the front-right wheel off his car.
The Spanish Grand Prix winner, who looked visibly nervous before qualifying, faces the daunting prospect of starting at the back of the field in a complete contract to his fortunes in Barcelona.
Positions after Qualifying:
1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1min 13.622secs
2 Nico Rosberg(Ger)Mercedes GP 1:13.791
3 Lewis Hamilton(Gbr)Mercedes GP 1:13.942
4 Sebastian Vettel(Ger)Ferrari 1:14.552
5 Nico Hulkenberg(Ger)Force India 1:14.726
6 Kimi Raikkonen(Fin)Ferrari 1:14.732
7 Carlos Sainz(Spa)Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:14.749
8 Sergio Perez(Mex)Force India 1:14.902
9 Daniil Kvyat(Rus)Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:15.273
10 FernandoAlonso(Spa)McLaren 1:15.363
11 Valtteri Bottas(Fin)Williams 1:15.273
12 Esteban Gutierrez(Mex)Haas F1 1:15.293
3 Jenson Button(Gbr)McLaren 1:15.352
14 Felipe Massa(Bra)Williams 1:15.385
15 Romain Grosjean(Fra)Haas F1 1:15.571
16 Kevin Magnussen(Den)Renault 1:16.058
17 Marcus Ericsson(Swe)Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.299
18 Jolyon Palmer(Gbr)Renault 1:16.586
19 Rio Haryanto(Ina)Manor Racing 1:17.295
20 Pascal Wehrlein(Ger)Manor Racing 1:17.452
21 Max Verstappen(Ned) Red Bull 1:22.467
22 Felipe Nasr(Bra) Sauber-Ferrari No Time
Note: Kimi Raikkonen has a five-place grid penalty due to an unscheduled gearbox change and will start 11th.
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