Red Bull Racing looks to be in ominous form after Daniel Ricciardo completed a clean sweep of both Thursday practice sessions for the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.
After setting the pace in the day’s opening practice session, the Australian was once again in fine touch around the 3.337-kilometre street circuit, breaking its unofficial lap record.
He and teammate Max Verstappen were the pacesetters throughout the session, with the Dutch youngster – who escaped sanction from the FIA Stewards for reversing back onto the circuit after trip off-track in FP1 – moving to the top of the timesheets in the opening twenty minutes with a 1:12.468 on the Hypersoft Pirelli tyres.
He worked down towards a 1:12.071 effort on the same tyre set and was on course to go even quicker then the session was red-flagged at the 25-minute mark.
The culprit was a loose drain cover on the short straight between Casino Square and Mirabeau, which was quickly welded back in place under the watchful eye of FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.
Fifteen minutes after its stoppage, the pit lane was opened once more. Despite battles with traffic, Verstappen further improved to a 1:12.035 on a fresh set of tyres, but his run was brought to a premature end when he pitted to check for front wing damage after clipping the rear of Romain Grosjean’s Haas at the hairpin.
Ricciardo had his own battles with traffic and performed his qualifying-style run much later than most. He broke through the 1m12s barrier, clocking a 1:11.841 with a little over 20 minutes remaining to move to the top of the timing screens.
With another Red Bull Racing 1-2 result, Sebastian Vettel finished the day third-quickest but almost four-tenths of a second off Ricciardo’s ultimate pace. The German and Ferrari teammate Kimi Räikkönen sandwiched Lewis Hamilton in fourth place, with all three covered by barely 0.1 seconds.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was next up in sixth-fastest, just 0.099 seconds slower than Räikkönen.
Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg claimed ‘best of the rest’ honours in seventh place, although he was over a second off Ricciardo’s pace with an identical power unit.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne was an impressive eighth-fastest in the Renault-powered McLaren, one spot ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard’s compatriot Carlos Sainz Jr. was tenth-fastest.
Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley shrugged off speculation that his seat was in danger by going eleventh-quickest in the Honda-powered STR13, just 0.022 seconds off Sainz Jr.’s pace. The New Zealander survived a scrape against the Sainte-Dévote barriers exiting the corner.
Teammate Pierre Gasly was fourteenth-fastest, with the pair sandwiching the Force India duo of Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon.
Williams rookie Sergey Sirotkin finished 15th-fastest, chased by Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Charles Leclerc (Sauber).
As is tradition in Monte Carlo, the Formula 1 field will have a ‘rest day’ on Friday before getting back on the Circuit de Monaco on Saturday morning for Free Practice 3 and Qualifying.
|FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:11.841||33|
|2.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:12.035||+ 0.194||41|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:12.413||+ 0.572||42|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:12.536||+ 0.695||34|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:12.543||+ 0.702||36|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:12.642||+ 0.801||38|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:13.047||+ 1.206||30|
|8.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:13.077||+ 1.236||40|
|9.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:13.115||+ 1.274||42|
|10.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:13.200||+ 1.359||34|
|11.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:13.222||+ 1.381||47|
|12.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:13.370||+ 1.529||39|
|13.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:13.382||+ 1.541||47|
|14.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:13.410||+ 1.569||32|
|15.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:13.547||+ 1.706||44|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:13.572||+ 1.731||41|
|17.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:13.575||+ 1.734||45|
|18.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:13.763||+ 1.922||37|
|19.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:14.011||+ 2.170||34|
|20.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:14.173||+ 2.332||46|
Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing