By Alan Baldwin
MONACO (Reuters) - Daniel Ricciardo looked forward to a good night's sleep on Saturday after securing a long overdue first Formula One pole position in Monaco, the glamour race that every driver wants to win.
The Australian won three races for Red Bull in 2014, his first season with the team, but Mercedes have allowed few rivals to break their stranglehold on qualifying in the last two years.
Monaco, a tight track where driveability matters more than outright engine power, was always an opportunity for Ricciardo after Renault made their latest specification power unit available and he made the most of it.
"I feel it’s been a long time coming," said the Red Bull driver. "I feel it should have come sooner but obviously I’m happy that I’ve done it."
Ricciardo had arrived in the principality struggling to come to terms with the previous race in Spain, won by his 18-year-old Dutch team mate Max Verstappen.
The Australian had led almost half of that race but a strategy switch, to match Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had collided, played into Verstappen's hands.
If the smiling Ricciardo has endured a few sleepless nights since Barcelona, Saturday's pole position promised to make a dream come true.
"I’ll certainly be able to sleep tonight, I think," he told reporters.
"I’ll probably sleep easier knowing that I achieved what I set out to do. The whole week has been a lot of anticipation, a lot of excitement, so obviously the race now is hopefully the more controlled part.
"Anyways it’s cool to get my first pole. Monaco has always been a good track for me in previous categories. I’ve always loved it here. It’s a good day. I’m going to enjoy it while I can and 24 hours from now I’ll hopefully be back here."
The last Red Bull driver to start on pole in Monaco was also Australian, Mark Webber in 2012.
Webber went on to win on the Sunday, his second triumph in the principality after also taking victory from pole in 2010.
"The last few races I feel like I’ve been driving well but haven’t got maximum reward, so I came into this weekend with a lot of a confidence and a lot of belief that I could be in this position now," said Ricciardo.
"I’m very happy to have fulfilled that. It feels good, I’ve always enjoyed this place."
(Editing by Clare Fallon)