Both the Scuderia Toro Rosso boys have been impressive all weekend, the standard of their driving belying their rookie status here and it was the same story in qualifying. In the first part of the session, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz were third and fifth fastest respectively to comfortably go through to Q2. This time they were sixth and eighth, meaning that yet again both our cars were in the top ten shoot-out. In the final stages, our Spaniard had the upper hand over his Dutch team-mate to claim eighth spot, while Max was tenth. Of course, the penalty means Verstappen is promoted to ninth spot on the clean side of the grid, but given the circumstances, that hardly constitutes a silver lining for Carlos’ cloud.
With overtaking extremely difficult, Carlos will find life tough and even if the STR10 is clearly comfortable on the streets of the Principality, clawing his way back into the points will demand something special and a bit of luck. We can expect rather more from Max, who will be starting with the Supersoft tyres with which he finished Q2. For everyone, the most obvious strategy on a circuit where track position is everything, is a one-stopper. The only crucial decision is when to switch tyres.
Strange but true, given he is a double world champion, Lewis Hamilton had never been on pole position in Monaco. Today, he put that right, with only his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg looking likely to pose a threat, but a scrappy last lap from the German means that last year’s Monaco winner had to settle for second place. Sebastian Vettel secured yet another third place for Ferrari and has Daniel Ricciardo alongside him in the Red Bull on the second row. The Australian’s team-mate, Daniil Kvyat is fifth, sharing row 3 of the grid with Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari. Max shares row 5 with Jenson Button in the McLaren.