Daniel Ricciardo’s dominance of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix continued into Saturday’s final practice session, however the Red Bull Racing team’s joy was tempered by a heavy crash for teammate Max Verstappen.
With Ricciardo and Verstappen securing a 1-2 finish for the team in both Thursday practice sessions, it looked as though Verstappen would turn the tables on the Australian in final practice.
The Dutch driver was on top of the timesheets, with Ricciardo just one-tenth of a second behind after their qualifying simulation runs. After bolting on a fresh set of Pirelli Hypersoft tyres, however, Verstappen crashed out at the exit of the Swimming Pool on his next flying lap.
Perhaps disturbed after coming across Carlos Sainz’s slow Renault as he approached the right-left chicane, Verstappen clipped the inside wall as he turned in. With his right front suspension broken, he hopped across the kerbs and slammed into the wall.
In an almost identical accident to the one he had two years ago, Verstappen’s RB14 suffered heavy damage. His Red Bull Racing mechanics are now in a race against time to repair his car in time for this afternoon’s qualifying session.
His crash red-flagged the session, with the pit lane opening with just three minutes left.
Ricciardo took full advantage and despite concerns his tyres were not up to temperature, the Australian clocked an impressive 1:11.786 to beat Verstappen’s benchmark by just 0.001 seconds.
Behind the two Red Bulls, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished the session third-fastest ahead of teammate Kimi Räikkönen, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only put his Mercedes fifth-quickest.
Verstappen wasn’t the only driver to come to grief during the one-hour session. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas also swiped the barriers, although the Finn’s appeared far clumsier as his contact came when trying to flick-spin his car out of the Sainte-Dévote run-off. His rear wing brushed the tyre wall, causing minor damage that necessitated a rear wing change.
Behind the ‘big three’ teams, Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley was a solid seventh-quickest, ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly.
The aforementioned Sainz finished ninth-fastest in his Renault – despite his own trip up the Sainte-Dévote escape road – while Williams rookie Sergey Sirotkin rounded out the top ten.
Qualifying gets underway at 15:00 local time (GMT +2).
Image via Red Bull Racing
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