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Daniel Ricciardo: Pole down to 'big Australian balls'

ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo always felt a maiden Formula One pole position was achievable in Monaco and believes it was more down to "big Australian balls" than Renault's new engine.

Ricciardo has looked confident all weekend in Monaco and topped Thursday's second practice session by six tenths. It appeared he had dropped off that pace on Saturday until Q3, when he went top with a superb 1:13.622 lap which neither Mercedes driver could beat in the final moments of the session.

Though he has Renault's upgraded in his Red Bull this weekend Ricciardo thinks pole was me down to his own bravery, something which was especially clear to see through the final sector.

Asked if pole was more down to the new engine or 'big Australian balls' he smiled and said: "Big Australian balls!"

He went on to say: "I think I will probably sleep easier tonight. I think the whole week has been a lot of anticipation, a lot of excitement... Monaco has always been a good race for me in previous categories. Yeah, it's a good day."

Ricciardo admitted he had a feeling he could get pole position coming into the weekend and thinks it is just reward after failing to maximise his results in recent races, including Spain, where he felt Red Bull's strategy cost him a victory.

"It's definitely a special place. I knew coming into the weekend we would have a shot at it and it looked good from Thursday and I sort of had it in my mind coming into the weekend and I think also after Barcelona I felt like...

"The last few races I felt like I had been driving well but hadn't quite got maximum rewards. I came into this weekend with, I would say, a lot of confidence, a lot of belief that I could be in this position now. I'm very happy to have fulfilled that and it feels good, I've always enjoyed this place. The car is good, we've got a good package behind us and it's nice to make the most of it."

Ricciardo will line up tomorrow on a different set of tyres than the next nine cars after Red Bull sent him out late in Q2 on the super-soft tyres. The top ten start the race on the tyres used to set their quickest time in the middle session.

The strategy call might mean nothing if the rain falls as forecast on Sunday afternoon but puts him in an even stronger position if there is a dry race.

"The plan was to go out on the super-softs in Q2 and try and at least do a good enough lap time with that and we had the time on our side and let's try and see what the super-soft can do and we feel this maybe opens up options for the race tomorrow and we did a good lap on that. It set us up well for Q3 as well knowing that I had the ultra-soft and I think I was able to maximise that and do the laps so let's see. I think today we are sitting pretty, hopefully it turns in our favour as well tomorrow."