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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Daniel Ricciardo primed to hit the jackpot in Monaco

Aussie can make up for 2016 heartbreak

Daniel Ricciardo is all smiles after taking pole in Monaco while Sebastian Vettel (left) looks on
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Monaco Grand Prix
Channel 4 & Sky Sports F1, 2.10pm Sunday

The Monaco Grand Prix field begins as a Red Bull sandwich with Daniel Ricciardo having stormed to a masterful pole position while Max Verstappen was unable to take part in qualifying after destroying his car in final practice.

Ricciardo starts as hot favourite to make amends for his heartbreaking 2016 Monaco race, when a certain victory was thrown away by a pitstop blunder.


Top tip
Daniel Ricciardo pole-win-fastest lap hat-trick 7-2

Despite Ricciardo's victory in China it has been a somewhat disappointing season for Red Bull.

That Beijing victory has been the Aussie's only podium finish while Verstappen gained the first top-three finish of his incident-packed season in Barcelona last time.

But Ricciardo has been in a class of his own this weekend. He has topped every track session and set two laps fast enough for pole during the top-ten shootout.

On form he looks unopposable, even if he is beaten to the first corner by Sebastian Vettel, who starts second. But it is a long race which is likely to feature at least one safety car and odds of 1-2 are too short to smash into.

A much more appealing punt is Sky Bet's 7-2 that Ricciardo completes the hat-trick by adding victory and fastest lap to his pole position.

Up to this point in the season the Red Bull's strength has been its pace deep into races, and Ricciardo has set the fastest race lap in three of the campaign's five events. 

The rapid but erratic Verstappen is favourite to set the fastest lap of the grand prix.

He will have a preferential strategy, using the faster tyre in the second part of the race when there is less fuel on board. 

However, starting from the back in the fastest car he may well find himself stuck in traffic all afternoon. It doesn't take a great leap of imagination to see him getting frustrated and trying a desperate overtaking move that ends in tears.

Other markets
Lewis Hamilton without Daniel Ricciardo 9-4

Championship protagonists Vettel and Lewis Hamilton look set for a great scrap if qualifying is anything to go by.

Hamilton briefly looked likely to challenge for pole but his lap went away in the final corners and he was pipped to the front row by German.

Mercedes have struggled to match Ferrari at slow tracks such as Monaco in recent seasons, but that was partly down to the Italian cars being designed to be more nimble.

They have moved away from that design philosophy this year and it looks much closer than the odds suggest.

Hamilton has twice won in Monaco after starting from third on the grid and Vettel looks way too short at 4-11 in the market without Ricciardo.

D Ricciardo pole-win-fastest lap hat-trick
1pt 7-2 Sky Bet
L Hamilton without D Ricciardo
1pt 9-4 bet365

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He has topped every session on track and set two laps fast enough for pole
E.W. Terms
Sky bet