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Bull Run on the cards? Ricciardo leads Red Bull practice domination at Monaco F1 GP
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Posted By: Editor   |  24 May 2018   |  4:57 pm GMT  |  132 comments

They have already won once this season, but in what has been touted as one of their best race victory opportunities of the year, Red Bull are looking strong after finishing one-two in both Monaco Grand Prix free practice sessions.

With the high-downforce, low-power demand circuit playing to their strengths, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo set the pace in both practice sessions, with Red Bull showing strong race pace despite an interrupted second free practice session.

Equipped with the new-for-this-weekend Hypersoft tyres, he finished the day with the fastest time of 1:11.841 which was a circuit record and the only sub-1:12 lap time of the day.

Team-mate Max Verstappen set a 1:12.035 to finish two tenths shy of his team-mate but, not for the first time this season, Max Verstappen found himself under investigation from the stewards during free practice.

In the opening 90 minutes, the Dutchman locked up on the approach to Sainte Devote and took to the run-off zone to reduce the chances of making contact with the barrier.

However, the stewards took issue with how he rejoined the circuit.

He selected reverse gear and edged backwards onto the track towards the entry of turn one. Whilst doing this, a Ferrari elected to cut the first corner to avoid the reversing Red Bull. The stewards believed that Verstappen’s reversing manoeuvre warranted further investigation, but eventually decided against any punishment.

No other driver could get within half-a-second of Ricciardo’s time; Sebastian Vettel came closest to disrupting the Red Bulls, posting a 1:12.413, one tenth ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas completed the top six, whilst Renault-powered cars continued to be well represented in the rest of the top ten.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg lead the midfield, but he was closely followed by the two McLaren-Renault’s of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, with team-mate Carlos Sainz completing the top ten.

As expected, the tight confines of the Monaco circuit caught out a couple of drivers. Most notably – and bizarrely – Sergey Sirotkin clipped the inside wall on the start-finish straight and he damaged the right-rear suspension of his Williams.

FP2 was interrupted by an issue which has been seen before on the streets of Monaco; a loose drain cover. This is something which has affected other Monaco Grands Prix in fairly recent history, as witnessed by Jenson Button (FP1, 2016) and Rubens Barrichello (Williams, 2010).

With the clock still running down, the session was red-flagged to allowed welding work to be carried out on the offending cover.

Around fifteen minutes of running were lost, hampering the teams’ preparations for the race ahead. However teams were still able to dedicate many laps to the longer runs.

Red Bull certainly appeared to have upper hand in race trim, too. Of the top three teams, they completed the most mileage on the hypersoft tyres, frequently setting lap times in the low-1:15’s and – towards the end of the stints – setting occasional 1:14-second laps.

Ferrari were a couple of tenths further back form Red Bull’s pace, with Mercedes falling slightly further behind that.

Red Bull didn’t even attempt any laps on anything other than the hypersoft, whilst Ferrari and Mercedes dabbled with the ultrasofts, and even the supersofts. Might they have to resort to alternate tactics to beat the Red Bulls this weekend?

MONACO GRAND PRIX, Free Practice
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m11.841s – 33
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m12.413s 0.194s 41
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m12.413s 0.572s 42
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m12.536s 0.695s 34
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m12.543s 0.702s 36
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.642s 0.801s 38
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.047s 1.206s 30
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m13.077s 1.236s 40
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m13.115s 1.274s 42
10 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m13.200s 1.359s 34
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m13.222s 1.381s 47
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m13.370s 1.529s 39
13 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m13.382s 1.541s 47
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m13.410s 1.569s 32
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m13.547s 1.706s 44
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m13.572s 1.731s 41
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m13.575s 1.734s 45
18 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m13.763s 1.922s 37
19 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m14.011s 2.170s 34
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m14.173s 2.332s 46

All images: Motorsport Images

Who do you think is looking strong in Monaco so far? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1

Where’s our qualifying wrap up James? Too busy watching the Champions League final?

2

Yee Hah! Gooo Danny The New Professor! Clinical pole drive. Now, Pit – don’t forget the tyres!!!

3

I had a hunch Max would hit this corner again. It’s magnetic. Would it really matter if Sainz was there? He had past him, but I guess it put him off. Go Danny Ric!!!

4

Max just wrecked his car in FP3, doing himself and his fans no favour. The condemnation and ridicule will reach new heights.

Max, you do realise that we now have to hope Ricciardo will take out both Vettel and Hamilton in Wehrlein’s accident corner, launching all 3 cars in a stupendously elegant synchronous swimming dive into the ocean, to even partly level the playing field?

5

Like so:

   🦈 🦈 🦈

6

sergey did a monstar lap in that williams expect pole tomorrow

7

We already know Danny Ric will win but I was thinking. Yeah imagine tha? Next year the aero changes and they don’t like it. Hey bigger wings means even more downforce but no cascade elements. The cars will be much better for 2019. We don’t kneed to change the engine.

8

But if they don’t change the engines, the sound will continue to be underwhelming. No amount of overtaking can make up for that.

9

@ JDR…whilst i like your prediction i don’t see how it is so easy to arrive at. Yes, he’s put in some super times i P1 & P2 but Q is the big turning point. With such fine racing tolerances and the randomness of Monaco i can see any one of four/five drivers pulling off a win.

10

No Button this year😂🤣

11

Didn’t get to watch practice until tonight, a couple of things I noticed….There’s a camera on the inside of the hairpin! I have never noticed that before, great shot. Brundle did his usual walk around the track, and did an excellent piece from the gap in the barrier where the service vehicles park on the entry to the Nouvelle chicane. It was brilliant to see as it looked like he was standing on the track with the cars brushing past him! This also provided a perspective of the run down to Tabac that I hadn’t seen before, it really does look like you are heading towards a desd end!

12

At first I thought Brundle was standing track-side! Great perspective and it must take a lot of courage to ‘brake one metre later’

13

Axel, yes I kept thinking he was about to get hit, only at Monaco!

14

Should be a very close qualifying. RB look strong but Mercedes and Ferrari will be loading for bear in Q3. I think the race result is too unpredictable to stick my neck out and it could be down to getting a lucky break.

15

i am keen to see what actually happens trackside rather than listen to predictions..

16

Yet here you are!

17

Then why post?

18

because i like.

19

If the classic correlation made between Barcelona sector 3 and Monaco actually works then Mercedes should be almost on par with RB in the race and Ferrari in the qualifying.

20

No just put the top 3 side by side so Hamilton too.

21

Early days, but Redbull IS looking good!

Would be nice to see a RIC VET front row with RAI and VES on the second one, followed by the Silver Arrows. Hulk definitely the best of the rest.

As for the Sunday procession, lets see who looses concentration and makes the most mistakes ending up in the wall, leaving others to pick up the scraps.

This anachronism is far from my favourite track, but admit the surrounding show is quite spectacular..

22

RB certainly looks good, but it’s Thursday!

Nonetheless, they look as good, comparatively, as they have so far this year.

Any real competition for Merc would be appreciated.

Nonetheless, despite the good showing for RB, we never know anything substantial until Saturday.

The best news is, three teams competing.

23

Dean, so would RB count as ‘real’ competition? As opposed to the fake kind that Ferrari have been providing I assume?

24

Welcome to the most boring race of the year. A parade of fancy F1 cars, with no passing allowed. Oh, the F1 circus will claim ‘excitement’ when some driver losses patience and causes a wrech by trying to do the impossible which is to pass on this track. But, its still boring.

If they want to keep this on the calendar, then they need to convert it to some sort of fastest lap competition. Put one car on the track, let them set a time. Then eliminate the slower cars and repeat. Do that until they get something like the last four cars in a final round. That would at least raise the interest and excitement level up to the level of ski racing. Until then, this is just something to kinda watch and kinda ignore until the Indy 500 comes on later that day.

25

You’re right. We need more races on wide, straight, billiard table smooth aircraft runways.

In fact, I propose that next year they replace the Monaco GP with another Chinese GP at good old Shanghai, but run in reverse.

26

I love it. Shanghai in reverse would be awesome.

Why don’t we pick 10 tracks, & have them run the normal way first, then reverse after the summer break.

Who’s going to be first to ski jump into the pits at reverse Abu Dhabi.

27

Come too think of it…what would happen if some classics were run in reverse? Interesting. Especially Spa. Could Eau Rouge be taken flat?

28

Definitely possible. They would have to reprofile some of the runoffs and there would be fewer opportunities to pass, but I salivate at the thought of Eu Rouge in reverse. That drop at that speed would be ultra scary I think and probably pretty close to flat out in Quali.

29

It must be quite painful for Mclaren to watch.

30

Or I think these new internet rules in Europe

are putting the brakes on this excellent commenting site ! !

31

??? Really? I hope this gets posted.

32

Why would they?

If I understand it correctly (and to be fair I did only have a very quick read so be sure to correct me if I’ve misunderstood it) users in the EU have more control over the data that sites keep and can request that it be deleted.

For JA, I imagine that’s just a bunch of comments and our email and IP addresses.

So if really you don’t want James and his minions to have easy access to your email or IP address and don’t want them to know what you think about F1, it’s easy – Just don’t leave comments.

However if you do choose to leave comments, rest easy knowing that all your data be well hidden in a virtual haystack of Sebee comments 🙂

33

@ Random 79 I’m more concerned that if the new ‘3rd Party insurance rules’ are legislated b the EU that we won’t even have any European races at all!!!! How about that. The only way out of all this apparently is to shift all the European races to England once Brexit is completed. It’s nuts and totally insane if it is to be believed.

34

New 3rd party insurance rules?

Since I’ve met my googling new rules/laws quota for the year I’ll get explanation for that one if you don’t mind 🙂

35

Could be kenneth, but I think more likely it’s something along the lines of the CTP that we have and so would only apply to road legal cars.

36

@ Random79…i can’t help you out any more. I read an article where it was announced that the EU were pressing ahead with new laws governing all wheeled vehicles having to have 3rd party insurance…even on farm tractors! I checked the date to make sure it wasn’t 1st April! If this proceeds then F1 would not survive in Europe…no one would insure the cars and if they did, imagine the costs?

37

Good showing from Hartley too! nice to see.

38

Hey it is a tire management race,

not a motor race.

39

Or is this the “Jump the Shark” moment in F1,

like the Rocket Fuel and One Lap Qualifying Engines, etc,

have crossed the line of cost effective – over managed ridiculousness.

40

Well, how long does a Hypersoft Pirelli last?

41

Stroll will try an alternative strategy and run 76 laps on hypersofts but will have to pit to change tyres with two laps to go and drop from 9th to dead last.

42

Quite a bit.

Dan 25 laps including few quali simulations. Max 20, Seb & Ham 18, Kimi 19 and Bottas 15 all with quali simulations.

43

20 laps on the Hyper. Maybe more but at least that unless the driver frys them.

44

A little longer than a Pirelli Ultrasoft, but not quite as long as a Pirelli Jellysoft (TBA next year)

45

Strong chassis. confirmed

Strong driver lineup. Confirmed

Strong racecraft..(answer on Sunday)

46

Be good to see Hartley keep his speed going until Sunday. Whenever I hear the guy on the team radio, he is always constructive.

47

I want Ricciardo. I hope Ricciardo. The place owes him.

Any day you have over half a second on Vettel, & nearly 0.7 on Hamilton, is a good day.

I like Hulk being best of the rest, but Hartley was a pleasant surprise.

Q1 knockout zone is shaping up as a contest worth watching.

I think both Ferrari & Mercedes will get to where Red Bull are now, but I still think Red Bull will find more, & sit side by side on the front row.

Go Daniel.

48

I am sensing some weird mechanical issue for RIC tomorrow. I really hope I’m wrong.

49

His Mum and Dad have been staying with him since Barca and he’s had some Italian home cooking – so maybe that’s the secret!

50

The Bulls do look good, I’m still confident Vettel will beat them on Saturday but not nearly as confident as I was before practice. Not the first time Red Bull have gone well in practice only to fall back into the pack come Q3, although engine modes will obviously mean less here. Mercs are arguably struggling worse than last year…

51

@ Andrew M Has your confidence been shaken?

52

With the down-force and mechanical grip on those RB cars both drivers will have supreme confidence in getting on the throttle on the streets in Monaco. The pace advantage Merc and Ferrari have will be largely nullified.

Expect a RB P1 and P2 in qualifying.

53

@ Adrian…I get nervous when i read predictions like that. Nothing at Monaco is in any way a given, resultswise. There is no doubt that Ricciardo is in top form but when they are driving with mm clearances…wow, anything can happen. Still i hope that you’re correct and that it all comes to pass.

54

Ken

Dan has been on it all weekend. And as you read this post you’ll accept that 50% of my prediction will has come true. You of little faith! 🙂

55

@ Adrian Hahaha. Yes, sometimes my faith is severely tested. Just knowing how the dice have fallen in the past always makes me reluctant to expect the result i hope for. Seeing Ricciardo’s performance here in Monaco really reinforces the special talents that he has. Monaco is probably the biggest test that they have all year when talent means more than sheer power grunt.

56

Well then expect a 1 and 2 in the race !

Why even qualify. It’s a done deal.

I say – wait. Lets see Kimi R.

Monaco is different.

57

I’m sure RIC would have taken that 2 years ago… pole, fastest car, cruising to victory and then Jos goes and hides all Dan’s tyres!

You just never know what’s going to happen. But go and watch Indy and we’ll let you know what you missed!

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