The growing animosity between the two Mercedes drivers plays perfectly into the hands of Red Bull Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, who line up on the second row of the grid for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
While the Silver Arrows staged yet another front-row lockout in qualifying, the two RB10s were hot on their heels with the team’s most competitive qualifying performance of the season. Ricciardo qualified less than four-tenths slower than pole-sitter Rosberg, with Vettel just one-tenth behind despite suffering from issues with his ERS.
“I had some problems in qualifying today. Somewhere in Q1 we lost ERS, so basically the electric power to discharge the car and we didn’t get it back,” he said afterwards.
“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.”
While Vettel’s qualifying performance was all the more impressive given his power disadvantage, that should take away from Ricciardo’s effort either, with the Australian continuing his impressive start to the season by qualifying third-fastest.
Nonetheless, the Perth-born driver was left frustrated with his performance, having felt a front-row start would have been possible were it not for a mistake on on of his flying laps in Q3.
“I think all three of us don’t seem to be too pleased. We left a bit on the table,” he said in the post-qualifying press conference.
“I fought the car pretty hard in qualifying, trying to find a bit more from it. I was getting around it OK but just coming up to Turn 8 I lost the rear completely on the exit. The lap was pretty much gone after that.
“It’s frustrating. We could have been much closer, so I’m a bit disappointed.”
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