Daniel Ricciardo led an ominous opening-day charge from Red Bull as championship front-runners Mercedes and Ferrari were left trailing at the end of Thursday practice at the Monaco GP.
Ricciardo and team-mate Max Verstappen, who was nearly two tenths behind his team-mate on the timesheet, were by far the quickest drivers over a single lap in Practice Two with the first non-Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, a distant 0.572 seconds adrift.
There was little to choose between Ferrari and Mercedes, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton just a tenth further behind Vettel in fourth, but Red Bull appeared to confirm expectations that they could be the team to beat on F1’s slowest and narrowest circuit.
Ricciardo and Verstappen each broke the track’s outright lap record during the course of the session, with the Australian’s ultimately winning out with a 1:11.841 later into P2 than usual.
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While the pace of the three teams over the heavier-fuel race runs was rather closer, the evidence of Thursday suggests Ferrari and Mercedes have work to do on Monaco’s Friday ‘rest’ day to bring themselves back into play in time for qualifying on Saturday.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas completed the top six, with the usual gap back to the head of the midfield.
Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault, but was only just ahead of the McLarens as the Woking team fought back from a difficult opening session. Stoffel Vandoorne was ahead of Fernando Alonso.
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The other Renault of Carlos Sainz rounded out the top 10, but regular 2018 points scorers Haas struggled with their car throughout the afternoon.
More to follow…
Monaco GP Practice Two Timesheet Driver Team Time 1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:11.841 2. Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.194 3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.572 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.695 5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.702 6. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.801 7. Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1.206 8. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +1.236 9. Fernando Alonso McLaren +1.274 10. Carlos Sainz Renault +1.359 11. Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso +1.381 12. Sergio Perez Force India +1.529 13. Esteban Ocon Force India +1.541 14. Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso +1.569 15. Sergey Sirotkin Williams +1.706 16. Kevin Magnussen Haas +1.731 17. Charles Leclerc Sauber +1.734 18. Romain Grosjean Haas +1.922 19. Lance Stroll Williams +2.170 20. Marcus Ericsson Sauber +2.332
The crown jewel in the F1 calendar returns and you can watch the Monaco GP on Sky Sports F1 this weekend, with Saturday and Sunday’s action also on Sky One. Get Sky Sports F1.