Daniel Ricciardo says his increasing confidence and belief were key to him securing a long awaited maiden pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.
On a weekend that has seen the Australian in superb form at the wheel of the Red Bull RB12 – which this weekend also benefits from an upgraded Renault engine -, Ricciardo produced a peerless lap in Q3 when it mattered to comfortably dismiss the challenge of Mercedes and Ferrari.
Only the third occasion a Mercedes has not qualified on pole position in the last 44 race weekends, Ricciardo's maiden effort also marks a first pole for Red Bull since its title-winning year in 2013.
It also comes after Ricciardo suffered bitter disappointment during the Spanish Grand Prix when a strategic error prevented him from scoring an almost certain win. Indeed, with this firmly in his mind, Ricciardo feels he was due some worthy fortune.
“I knew coming into the weekend we would have a shot at it and it looked good from Thursday and I sort of had it in my mind coming into the weekend and I think also after Barcelona I felt like… The last few races I felt like I had been driving well but hadn't quite got maximum rewards.
“I came into this weekend with, I would say, a lot of confidence, a lot of belief that I could be in this position now. I'm very happy to have fulfilled that and it feels good, I've always enjoyed this place. The car is good, we've got a good package behind us and it's nice to make the most of it.”
Though wet weather has been forecast for the race, Ricciardo has nonetheless opened up his strategic options after setting his fastest Q2 time on the super-soft.
“We will see tomorrow if it works. The plan was to go out on the super-softs in Q2 and try and at least do a good enough lap time with that and we had the time on our side and let's try and see what the super-soft can do and we feel this maybe opens up options for the race tomorrow and we did a good lap on that.
“It set us up well for Q3 as well knowing that I had the ultra-soft and I think I was able to maximise that and do the laps so let's see. I think today we are sitting pretty, hopefully it turns in our favour as well tomorrow.”