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2018 F1

First Free Practice Report : Monaco GP 2018

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Daniel Ricciardo topped the time sheets of the first practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix 2018, with a record lap time of 1 minute 12.126 seconds. The Australian’s fastest best was 0.052 seconds quicker than 2017 Monaco GP pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen’s time of 1 minute 12.178 seconds. Red Bull Racing driver, Max Verstappen followed his team-mate, with the second fastest time of 1 minute 12.280 seconds, followed by reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton who clocked the third fastest time of 1 minute 12.480 seconds.

The highlight of the session has been the debut of the Pirelli Hypersoft compound, or the pink striped tyre. With all the teams being on the same page as far as running this tyre goes, a lot of the FP1 session involved gathering data on the ability of this tyre. As far as one could notice, at this circuit with high grip levels, the more this tyre is pushed the faster the lap times get, and the lap times get quicker as the tyre wares out. It will be interesting to see how each team uses their sets of this tyre through the build up to Sunday. The two Toro Rosso cars remained the only two to not set a lap time on the hyper-softs in FP1 and were doing simulations on the ultrasoft tyre instead.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was the only driver to end his early, after completing 10 laps on sets of supersoft and hyper soft compound. The Spaniard seemed to have a brake problem that could not be fixed and had to retire from the session, with almost an hour to go for the chequered flag.

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen clocked the fourth (1 minute 13.041 seconds) and fifth fastest time (1 minute 13.066 seconds) of the session and the two were split by a mere 0.025 seconds, with the German leading the Ferraris. They were followed by Renault driver Carlos Sainz who clocked the sixth fastest time, almost four tenths of a second adrift off the Ferraris. Sainz team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was out of the top 10, classified thirteenth with a time of 1:14.134 seconds, 0.678 seconds slower than the Spaniard.

Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas clocked the seventh fastest time of 1 minute 13.502 seconds, and was followed by Force India’s Sergio Perez who clocked the eighth fastest time of 1 minute 13.717 seconds. Haas driver Romain Grosjean clocked the ninth fastest time of 1 minute 13.943 seconds, followed by Williams driver Sergie Sirotkin who had the tenth fastest time of 1 minute 13.962 seconds to round up the top 10 of the grid.

Williams’ Russian driver smacked the right rear of his Williams during the opening minutes of the session and was lucky to have his car repaired in time to clock his fastest best. However, his team-mate Lance Stroll struggled at 18th place on the time sheets with a time of 1 minute 14.782 seconds, almost 0.820 seconds slower than the Russian.

The Silver Arrows cars were initially seen using a set or two of the ultrasoft tyres, it was not until they switched to the hypersoft compound, that they were able to make it into the top 5 of the time charts. Ferraris seemed to be going easy on the hyper-soft compound, and didn’t seem to be pushing the best out of it, to which most analysts would say ‘It is only FP1’.

The full classification of the FP1 session is as follows:

1. Daniel Ricciardo- 1:12.126 (Hypersoft), Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
2. Max Verstappen- 1:12.280 (Hypersoft), Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
3. Lewis Hamitlon- 1:12.480 (Hypersoft), Mercedes
4. Sebastian Vettel- 1:13.041 (Hypersoft), Ferrari
5. Kimi Raikkonen- 1:13.066 (Hypersoft), Ferrari
6. Carlos Sainz- 1:13.456 (Hypersoft), Renault
7. Valterri Bottas- 1:13.502 (Hypersoft), Mercedes
8. Sergio Perez – 1: 13.717 (Hypersoft), Sahara Force India
9. Romain Grosjean- 1:13.943 (Hypersoft), Haas
10. Sergie Sirotkin- 1:13.962 (Hypersoft), Williams
11. Esteban Ocon- 1:14.000 (Hypersoft), Sahara Force India
12. Brendon Hartley- 1:14.034 (Ultrasoft), Toro Rosso
13. Nico Hulkenberg – 1: 14.134 (Hypersoft), Renault
14. Pierre Gasly- 1: 14.240 (Ultrasoft), Toro Rosso
15. Stoffel Vandoorne- 1:14.291 (Hypersoft), McLaren
16. Charles Leclerc- 1:14.521 (Hypersoft), Sauber
17. Fernando Alonso- 1: 14.637 (Hypersoft), McLaren
18. Lance Stroll- 1:14.782 (Hypersoft), Williams
19. Marcus Ericsson- 1:15.206 (Hypersoft), Sauber
20. Kevin Magnussen- 1:18.801 (Ultrasoft), Haas

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