Red Bull were coming into this weekend’s Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix as quiet favourites to steal a race victory, with the street circuit much better suited to the Red Bull chassis than most other tracks on the calendar. After the drivers have taken to the Principality for the first time in their 2018 challengers, it’s safe to say that Red Bull are no longer the quiet favourites.
While Free Practice 1 does not always set the tone for the remainder of the weekend, the raw pace demonstrated by Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in this first session will have instilled fear into both Ferrari and Mercedes. The Red Bull pair finished the session with a one-two, Ricciardo just edging Verstappen to the top of the timesheet by one tenth of a second – both drivers on the hypersoft tyre.
Moncao is the Formula 1 showpiece
Unfortunately the session did not go by without incident for Verstappen (a common theme this season), as he is currently under investigation by the stewards after having a minor off at St Devote, then “failing to rejoin the track in a safe manner”. This could potentially lead to a penalty for the Dutchman, at the one race you can least afford to be starting lower down the grid.
Lewis Hamilton could only manage the third fastest time of the session, three tenths off the pace set by Ricciardo, despite being on the same tyre. Meanwhile his teammate Valterri Bottas could only manage a distant sixth fastest time, over a second down on Hamilton and outpaced by Renault driver Carlos Sainz.
Thrills and Spills
Of course the tight twists and turns of Monaco rarely go without incident in any Formula 1 session, and it was rookie driver Sergey Sirotkin at fault somehow managing to hit the inside wall of the pit straight, giving himself a puncture on his right rear tyre. Sirotkin was not the only driver to have a brush with the wall however, after Romain Grosjean was also involved in a minor incident two weeks removed from his exit at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Frenchman brushed the wall, missing the remainder of the session as mechanics needed over 50 minutes to fix the damage.
Fernando Alonso’s McLaren suffered from brake-by-wire issues, causing him to miss most of the session while the sister Haas car was forced to stop early due to a connector issue.
The full timesheets for FP1 are as follows:
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:12:126||Hypersofts|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.154||Hypersofts|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||+1.591||Hypersofts|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||+1.874||Hypersofts|
|Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+1.908||Ultrasofts|
|Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+2.114||Ultrasofts|