Daniel Ricciardo topped the timesheet in first practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, finishing 0.154s ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen, as Lewis Hamilton took third, more than three tenths of a second off the pace.
Ricciardo jumped to the top of the timesheet in the last half an hour of the 90-minute session, setting a time of 1:12.126 on hypersoft Pirelli tyres. The lap was five hundredths of a second quicker than Kimi Räikkönen’s 2017 pole position time, which stands as the fastest ever lap of the circuit.
The Australian’s time put him 1500ths of a second clear of team-mate Verstappen. The Dutch driver was, however, placed under investigation by race stewards after he reversed back on track following an excursion at Ste Devote, with a Ferrari heading towards the corner at the time.
After a brief period early on with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas running on ultrasoft tyres to set a time of 1:14.37s, Ricciardo took over at the top of the timesheet by two tenths of a second. He and Verstappen then traded times until Verstappen settled into P1 with a lap of 1:12.941.
Hamilton briefly edged ahead of the Red Bulls when he moved to hypersofts later on, but he was quickly bumped from top spot as Verstappen moved clear again, before making a further improvement to 1:12.280. Ricciardo, though, had more in the tank and he snuck past his team-mate in the final third of the session to head the Red Bull one-two.
Hamilton ended the session 0.354 behind Ricciardo and there was then a significant half-second gap back to fourth–placed Sebastian Vettel. The German’s team-mate Kimi Räikkönen was the last man inside a second of the lead Red Bull with the Finn finishing, 0.940s off the pace.
Best of the rest status was taken by Renault’s Carlos Sainz, with the Spaniard best lap of 1:13.456 leaving him 1.330s off the pace. Bottas was seventh in the end, four hundredths of a second further back.
Sergio Pérez finished eighth for Force India with Haas’ Romain Grosjean in ninth place. Tenth position was filled by Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, who recovered well from an early brush with the wall on the start-finish straight.
Elsewhere, McLaren had a difficult start season, with Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso finishing 13th and 19th respectively. Alonso sat out the bulk of the session as the team was forced to change the floor of his car.
2018 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 36 1:12.126
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 25 1:12.280 0.154
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 34 1:12.480 0.354
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 40 1:13.04 0.915
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 38 1:13.066 0.940
6 Carlos Sainz Renault 40 1:13.456 1.330
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 39 1:13.502 1.376
8 Sergio Perez Force India 39 1:13.717 1.591
9 Romain Grosjean Haas 24 1:13.943 1.817
10 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 40 1:13.962 1.836
11 Esteban Ocon Force India 39 1:14.000 1.874
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 46 1:14.034 1.908
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 38 1:14.134 2.008
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 38 1:14.240 2.114
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 37 1:14.291 2.165
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber 39 1:14.521 2.395
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 16 1:14.637 2.511
18 Lance Stroll Williams 43 1:14.782 2.656
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 39 1:15.206 3.080
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 7 1:18.801 6.675