Belfast Telegraph

Ricciardo eyeing Monaco glory to make up for one that got away

By Philip Duncan

Daniel Ricciardo will line up on the starting grid for tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix firmly in the belief that Red Bull owe him a victory on Formula One's most famous streets.

All eyes are on Red Bull after Ricciardo cemented their status as the pre-race favourites by posting the fastest lap ever recorded in Monte Carlo en route to completing a practice double on Thursday.

Ricciardo (28) is yet to open his account at his adopted home, but should have taken to the top step two years ago.

The Australian was controlling the race before his pit crew botched his stop. He went in, Red Bull were not ready with his new tyres, and the ensuing delay allowed Lewis Hamilton to steal the victory. Naturally, the usually laid-back Ricciardo was seething.

"Yes, I do feel I am owed a win," Ricciardo said. "But I have got to earn it. It is not going to happen without me putting the effort in. It is not going to happen because it should have already."

The slow-speed nature of F1's blue-riband event is one that plays to Red Bull's strengths. Ferrari, in the spotlight here after it was revealed they are being investigated by the sport's governing body for an alleged breach of engine rules, will be strong too.

But for championship leader Hamilton, who holds a 17-point lead over Sebastian Vettel, tomorrow's race may prove a case of damage-limitation. He was off the pace last year and finished only fourth in practice.

Indeed, Mercedes, who can count the Monte Carlo venue as one of their bogey tracks, arrived here insisting Red Bull would be the favourites.

"They are trying to take a little bit of pressure off them and on to us," Ricciardo added. "I would love to have this feeling going into every race, that we really genuinely believe we've got a chance to win.

"It's exciting. I feel one got away from me a few years ago, and now I'm ready to win."

FIA president Jean Todt touched down in Monaco yesterday amid allegations that his former team Ferrari have been bending the rules.

Vettel won the opening two rounds and rivals believe the Italians have been gaining an unfair advantage by deploying more engine power than is permitted. The FIA have demanded Ferrari run a device on their engine this weekend to ensure they are sticking to the law book.

Belfast Telegraph

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