Red Bull Racing swept to the top of the timesheets as practice for the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix got underway, with Daniel Ricciardo leading teammate Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is, however, facing an appointment with the FIA Stewards for reversing back onto the circuit after sliding off at Sainte-Dévote.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was Red Bull Racing’s closest challenger in third-fastest, almost three-tenths off the pace, ahead of the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.

Pirelli Hypersoft tyre compound made their debut appearance at a race weekend and the ultra-grippy rubber proved to be a significant step quicker than the more familiar Ultrasoft compound.

The extra-sticky tyres launched Red Bull Racing to the top of the timesheets, with Ricciardo eclipsing Hamilton’s earlier benchmark lap posted on Ultrasofts.

Ricciardo and Verstappen then traded fastest laps. Verstappen was the first to break the 1m13s barrier, posting a 1:12.941.

Hamilton then switched yo Hypersoft tyres and clocked a 1:12.480 to reclaim top spot, only for Verstappen to nudge ahead by one-tenth of a second shortly after.

The Dutch driver went even quicker with a 1:12.280 but then suffered a major front tyre lock-up approach Sainte-Dévote and slide up the escape road. Rather than performing a flick-spin as is customary, he reversed back onto the circuit. Sebastian Vettel had to take avoiding action in his Ferrari, shortcutting the right-hander by driving through the pit exit zone. The incident prompted an investigation by the FIA Stewards for a potentially unsafe rejoining of the circuit by Verstappen.

Ricciardo then moved back to the top of the timesheets, with his 1:12.126 effort proving to be the ultimate benchmark.

Behind the top five, Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. jumped the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to secure sixth on the timesheets with 20 minutes of the session to run.

Not surprisingly, the session caught out a number of drivers. Kevin Magnussen’s track time was cut short when he pitched his Haas into the wall exiting the Swimming Pool section, while Williams rookie Sergey Sirotkin got too close to the pit wall on the start/finish section and popped his right-rear tyre.

He was able to limp back to the pits for repairs and later returned to the track, posting a time good enough to get the uncompetitive FW41 into the top-ten and give the Grove team a much-needed confidence boost.

Thursday’s second practice session gets underway at 15:00 local time (GMT +2).


FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1 TIMES
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Daniel Ricciardo Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14 1:12.126 36
2. Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14 1:12.280 + 0.154 25
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09 1:12.480 + 0.354 34
4. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF71H 1:13.041 + 0.915 40
5. Kimi Räikkönen Scuderia Ferrari SF71H 1:13.066 + 0.940 38
6. Carlos Sainz Jr Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 1:13.456 + 1.330 40
7. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09 1:13.502 + 1.376 39
8. Sergio Pérez Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11 1:13.717 + 1.591 39
9. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18 1:13.943 + 1.817 24
10. Sergey Sirotkin Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41 1:13.962 + 1.836 40
11. Esteban Ocon Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11 1:14.000 + 1.874 39
12. Brendon Hartley Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13 1:14.034 + 1.908 46
13. Nico Hülkenberg Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 1:14.134 + 2.008 38
14. Pierre Gasly Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13 1:14.240 + 2.114 38
15. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33 1:14.291 + 2.165 37
16. Charles Leclerc Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37 1:14.521 + 2.395 39
17. Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33 1:14.637 + 2.511 16
18. Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41 1:14.782 + 2.656 43
19. Marcus Ericsson Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37 1:15.206 + 3.080 39
20. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18 1:18.801 + 6.675 7

Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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