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Monaco GP: Ricciardo leads Red Bull 1-2 in Practice 1

Written by  May 24, 2018

Daniel Ricciardo followed the expected script by setting the fastest time ahead of teammate Max Verstappen as Red Bull installed themselves at the head of the field in Practice 1 at the Monaco GP.

The Australian was a tad slower to get into his stride than his Dutch partner around the streets of Monte Carlo but ultimately produced an impressive 1m12.126s on his second set of Hypersoft tyres to finish a tenth-and-a-half clear.

Lewis Hamilton offered Mercedes some reason for optimism in P3, albeit a third of a second back of the leading RB14. But he was well clear of both Ferraris as they made a very muted start to the weekend with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen almost a full second off the pace in fourth and fifth.

Carlos Sainz was sixth for Renault just ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas as the Finn struggling for pace.

Highlighting how competitive Monaco is, four different midfield teams joined the big three in the top 10 as Sergio Perez was eighth in the Force India, Romain Grosjean survived hitting the barrier at Tabac before claimed ninth for Haas and Sergey Sirotkin recovered from a brush with the barrier coming onto the pit straight to take P10 for Williams.

In a largely mooted session, the main talking was the tyres as the new pink-striped Hypersoft made their first official appearance at a Grand Prix weekend.

While Red Bull appeared able to consistently improve their pace, Ferrari and Mercedes both suffered graining on the fronts.

Should that continue it would certainly put the Milton Keynes outfit in a strong position but it is likely to improve as more rubber is laid on the track with grip evolution over the weekend in Monte Carlo often the largest of the year.

Verstappen also finds himself under investigation by the stewards for reversing into the middle of the track after heading down the escape road at Sainte Devote and causing Kimi Raikkonen to take to the inside of the corner.

Several drivers also had issues with Kevin Magnussen stuck in the garage with just six laps to his name following a problem with his engine.

Fernando Alonso looked set to join him on the bench after a brake issue during his initial tours but it was fixed in time for the Spaniard to complete some running towards the end.

On a weekend when McLaren are hoping to lead the midfield to have Stoffel Vandoorne 15th and Alonso 17th was far from the ideal start.

Other notables include Charles Leclerc, who was seven-tenths faster than Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson as the Monegasque was 16th in his first session at his home race.

Finally, Lance Stroll had very little positive to say about his Williams throughout the session, as the Canadian lacked the confidence to push, despite kissing the inside wall at the second Swimming Pool chicane, and was eight-tenths down of Sirotkin in 18th place.

 

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