You never know! - Vettel and Hamilton joke about potential Ferrari link-up

Max Verstappen's Monaco Grand Prix practice crash was "unnecessary" and caused by impatience, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko says. Really delighted for the pole but we should have had two cars up there and it's frustrating with such a fast vehicle not to have both cars on the front row of the grid.

After three races without a podium finish, last year's victor and fellow-four-time champion Vettel said he is not feeling undue pressure to bounce back with a win.

"That's 50 per cent done", said the big-smiling Australian.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton's difficulties continued as he could manage only fifth, the best part of half-a-second down on Ricciardo, with Valtteri Bottas sixth in the other Mercedes.

Just 0.005secs separated Hamilton - provisionally in second - and Raikkonen, with Vettel in between, but the German leapt in front of the Mercedes driver with his last lap.

The 20-year-old Dutchman ended a torrid streak - which saw him collide with Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo - by finishing third at the last round in Barcelona a fortnight ago. "Why our auto doesn't like to be quick around the corners in Monaco, we haven't found out yet".

"I've done everything I can so far so let's finish this job".

"We knew we wouldn't be the quickest here, just did the best we could", Hamilton said.

Verstappen's mechanics worked furiously to fix the damage on his Red Bull, but they failed to turn his auto around in the two-hour gap between practice and qualifying.

Last month, the Russian GP also considered bringing "grid girls" back, with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak saying "If we can reach an agreement we will revive this tradition".

The on-track action was frantic.

Hamilton starts P3 on Sunday afternoon, with Vettel and Ricciardo sitting on the front row.

Of the Q3 runners, only the Mercedes drivers attempted an alternative strategy by using ultrasofts for their first runs in Q2.

Ricciardo has utterly dominated track action at Monaco this week, topping all three practice sessions and then set a new Monte Carlo track record in Q3. The gamble had failed.

The contract, if it materialises, promises to be colossal, worth an estimated £120 million until 2021 and nearly certain to take Hamilton, 34 next January, through to the end of his F1 days.

Nico Hulkenberg and Stoffel Vandoorne took 11th and 12th respectively, beaten by their Spanish team-mates, while Williams' Sergey Sirotkin impressed in Q1 but fell to 13th in Q2.

  • Julie Sanders