AFTER breaking the track record on the opening day of qualifying, Aussie F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo is expected to be hard to beat at the Monaco GP.
Ricciardo broke the single lap record at the Monaco track, a fact attributed to the debut of F1’s new hypersoft tyres, a compound predicted to be 0.8s quicker than the ultrasofts.
The hot time forced online bookmaker Sportsbet to move the Australian into outright favourite ($2.88) to take out his second race of the F1 season.
Almost three quarters of the money that Sporstbet hold on the race belongs to Ricciardo, who firmed in from the $3.25 quote prior to qualifying.
Teammate Max Verstappen is on the second line of betting at the $3.30 mark while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ($4.33) and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton ($7) are the only others in single figures heading into the weekend.
In an ominous warning to his rivals heading into the race, saying he believes he can go “even quicker”.
“Having the [new] hypersoft tyre gives us that little bit more grip and it’s pretty cool to be breaking lap records,” said Ricciardo.
“I’m glad that was the fastest lap that anyone has ever done as it felt so quick.
“I think on Saturday we will go even quicker again.”
The record-breaking run of Ricciardo suggests he will be hard to beat once the race rolls around, but the 28-year-old Perth native isn’t counting out his opponents just yet.
“The intention this weekend is to try and win and be dominant,” he said.
“Both cars today ran really well in the sessions and Max and I were fighting for the top spot all day. I think come qualifying, the others will turn it up … but all we could do today was try and top the times, which is what we have done.”
If Ricciardo can maintain the hot tempo he set on Thursday he will be hard to beat, and the pundits agree.
Sky Sports analyst Paul di Resta said the GP is Ricciardo’s “to lose”.
“Danny Ric is looking right in the zone,” he said.
“It’s theirs to lose from what I can see at the moment. Ferrari and Mercedes look like they’re struggling, even on the long runs.”
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