Red Bull got their Monaco Grand Prix weekend off to a strong start as Daniel Ricciardo led home Max Verstappen in the first practice session.
Ricciardo’s fastest lap time of 1:12.126 was just under a tenth of a second fastest than Kimi Raikkonen’s pole time from last year’s race as teams hope to break the elusive 70 second barrier in qualifying this season.
The session didn’t go by without minor mishaps for both drivers however. Verstappen has been called into the stewards room for reversing back onto the track after an off and impeding Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fifth.
Meanwhile Ricciardo was forced into the pits towards the end of the session with a brake issue. Despite that, early indications are that Red Bull will be predictably quick at a track that relies on downforce and mechanical grip more so than engine power.
Championship leaders Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel finished third and fourth in the session, but Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas struggled for pace in the morning session, finishing seventh behind the star of FP1, Carlos Sainz in the Renault.
Sergio Perez took his Force India to eighth, whilst under-pressure Romain Grosjean was ninth in the Haas. Grosjean looked edgy throughout the session, clipping the barriers twice, perhaps indicating that he may be trying too hard.
Sergey Sirotkin also hit the barriers during his first Monaco Grand Prix practice session, however recovered well to set a strong lap time which put him at the end of the top ten.
Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg were both a few tenths slower than their teammates as they wound up 11th and 13th.
They were split by a decent showing from Brendon Hartley in the Toro Rosso Honda. Hartley is driving amid strong rumours in the paddock that he may be about to lose his drive, so will be pleased to practice ahead of his teammate Pierre Gasly who was 14th quickest.
It was a difficult start to the weekend for McLaren, who failed to show any competitive pace and also suffered reliability gremlins. Stoffel Vandoorne was at least able to put in several laps, but could only manage 15th, whilst Fernando Alonso found himself stuck in the pits for most of the session after developing a brake-by-wire issue. He eventually came out at the end of the session to finish 17th.
Charles Leclerc, in his first ever home Grand Prix, continued his fine run of form to finish 16th. Teammate Marcus Ericsson in the other Sauber Alfa Romeo would end up down in 19th.
Lance Stroll’s Williams was 18th quickest, whilst Kevin Magnussen was classified last after failing to set any representative lap times. The Dane’s Haas suffered a suspected injector issue and thus was only able to complete seven laps.
The second practice session begins at 14:00 BST, and live coverage can be found on both Sky Sports F1 and on Channel 4.