Daniel Ricciardo quickest again as Red Bull dominates opening Monaco practices
Monaco Grand Prix - FP2

Daniel Ricciardo quickest again as Red Bull dominates opening Monaco practices

24/05/2018

Daniel Ricciardo kept himself and Red Bull top of the order by recording the quickest time of second practice, finishing half a second quicker than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in third.

Ricciardo had gone quickest in the morning and he found more pace in time for FP2, dropping the benchmark down to 1:11.841 -- a time already over 0.3s quicker than the time Kimi Raikkonen recorded with his pole position lap in 2017. Red Bull has been tipped as the favourite to win this weekend due to the strength of its chassis on a circuit dominated by low-speed corners and with no significantly long straights to punish its Renault power unit.

Ricciardo, whose one and only Formula One pole position came at Monaco in 2016, edged teammate Max Verstappen by 0.194s.. The Dutchman had been on top for most of the session after a set of blisteringly fast laps, but Ricciardo completed his qualifying simulation later than most of his rivals to steal top spot. Had Verstappen strung his three quickest sector times together, he would have set a 1:11.765 to go quickest, showing the importance of a clean lap and how fine the margins are at Monte Carlo's iconic circuit. Riciardo's best three would have produced a 1:11.735.

Red Bull will hope it is still fighting for the spoils at the top of the order come Saturday's qualifying session, but it will be wary of a significant improvement from its two nearest rivals. Last year's race winner Sebastian Vettel finished 0.572s behind in the Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton managed to split the Ferrari's by beating Kimi Raikkonen to fourth position, finishing 0.009s up on the Finn with a lap which saw him save a big slide through the second part of the circuit's Swimming Pool section. Valtteri Bottas finished sixth.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg finished best of the rest in seventh, beating the McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso. Monaco is a big weekend for McLaren, as it will show the strength of the team's chassis following a significant upgrade at the Spanish Grand Prix. The team will be encouraged by the pace demonstrated in FP2 -- if it can replicate that on Saturday it might see both cars progress to Q3 for the first time this year. Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten in the other Renault.

Under-pressure Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley survived a brush with the wall late in the session without too much damage, finishing 11th. Force India pair Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished between him and the other Toro Rosso of Esteban Ocon.

Williams rookie Sergey Sirotkin finished 15th. Haas appears to have some work to do after Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean finished either side of 17th-placed Charles Leclerc. Lance Stroll finished 19th ahead of Marcus Ericsson.

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