Nico Rosberg surprised by Daniel Ricciardo's Monaco GP pole pace

Nico Rosberg says Daniel Ricciardo's pace to take pole position for Formula 1's Monaco Grand Prix came as a surprise in the final part of qualifying

Nico Rosberg surprised by Daniel Ricciardo's Monaco GP pole pace

Ricciardo beat the Mercedes drivers to pole with a stunning 1m13.622s, and while Rosberg eventually got to within two tenths of a second of that time at the end of Q3, he said that by then he knew the Red Bull driver would be tough to beat to pole.

"I was surprised by his time in the first part of Q3, I thought I was looking good with my time," said Rosberg.

"He was three tenths up the road [after the first runs]. I knew it would be difficult to reach.

"I don't think it went away from me - it was never with me.

"He was just quick today, a well deserved pole. I wasn't quick enough.

"Red Bull have done a great job in recent races, they have progressed quickly and now made a big step with the engine.

"They are a competitor - Ferrari is a competitor too - but Monaco is a unique track so let's not jump to any conclusions."

RICCIARDO EXPLAINS TYRE STRATEGY

Poleman Ricciardo will start the race on the super-soft tyre while those chasing him will be on the ultra-soft, after Red Bull decided to have him use the red-sidewalled tyres in Q2.

"The plan was to go out on the ultra-soft on the first run and try to do a good enough lap," said Ricciardo.

"We had time on our side so I tried the super-soft - we feel it opens up a few more options for the race.

"I don't think there is too much difference in pure performance [between the compounds], but it should have a better tyre life.

"It's important to be in clean air here so it could open up a window and give us a bit more freedom."

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Monaco Grand Prix: Problems hit Hamilton and Rosberg in Q3
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