Monaco GP | Virtual Safety Car interrupted second free practice topped by Daniel Ricciardo

Second free practice at the Monaco Grand Prix topped by Daniel Ricciardo.

The streets of Monte Carlo were alive to sound of Formula One once more, as Daniel Ricciardo topped the second practice timesheet at the Monaco Grand prix. The benefit of the new, upgraded Renault power unit in his Red Bull saw the Australian edge his team-mate by one second, and create a six tenth lead over the best Mercedes.

As Formula One returned to the streets of the Principality of Monaco, Hamilton opened the weekend by blitzing last year’s FP1 benchmark by more than three seconds.

Part of the sizeable difference between times can be put down to the yearly track resurfacing and a slight widening of the entry to the second part of Piscine chicane. Where the entry point has been rounded off more than in previous years, allowing drivers to carry more entry speed. But on top of track changes, Pirelli have brought their brand new ultrasoft tyres to a race weekend for the first time.

Those tyres were again put under lengthy runs come Thursday afternoon, with Esteban Gutierrez breaking the silence from the green light on the purple branded Pirelli rubber.

Like Esteban, his Haas stablemate [Grosjean] took to the track early on with the new ultrasoft tyres. However, despite taking an early lead in a one-two for the team, Romain’s run was over within the opening eight minutes as he was back in the garage having crashed at the Nouvelle Chicane.

Romain was not alone in damaging his Formula One car at the exit of the tunnel, as Rio Haryanto soon after joined the Frenchmen in having crashed at the corner. Haryanto’s crash though was far more severe than the Haas drivers. With the Indonesian driver losing control of his Manor under braking, which sent him into the inside wall and a subsequent spin.

Once the Manor was cleared from the Nouvelle Chicane’s run off area and the Virtual Safety Car was no longer deployed, more drivers continued to miss their braking points at the exit of the tunnel. Ste Devote too continued to be a problematic corner for the drivers as they continued to push and find the latest point they could brake at.

While braking points continued to be found, Daniel Ricciardo with the new, upgraded Renault Tag Heuer branded power unit continued to top the timesheet. His 1:15.015 set early on in the session continued to be just out of reach of the field, including the Silver Arrows, as varying programmes continued to be carried out.

On entry to Tabac, the Red Bull drivers were showing great confidence in their cars as they attacked the fast left-hander. With both drivers edging deeper into the corner before braking. As for Red Bull’s former driver, Sebastian Vettel, the Ferrari racer found himself in his garage during the session after spinning at Mirabeau and damaging his rear-wing endplate.

As Vettel prepared himself to return to the track, Kevin Magnussen was buried in the barrier at Anthony Noghes as he failed to get the car turned in to the final corner following a slight lock up to his front-right.

When back on track though, things for Vettel were still not going well as he entered Ste Devote with speed, lost the rear slightly and kissed the barrier. As things stood his best time was only strong enough for ninth place, two tenths off Raikkonen, one second off Hamilton and 1.6 seconds off Ricciardo. The impact with the wall also damaged the rim of his alloy.

Mercedes too were writing off a piece of their car as Lewis Hamilton’s car fell off the jack in the garage, braking a piece of the nose cone.

Pos. Driver Time Gap
1 Daniel Ricciardo 1:14.607
2 Lewis Hamilton 1:15.213 0.606
3 Nico Rosberg 1:15.506 0.899
4 Max Verstappen 1:15.571 0.964
5 Daniil Kvyat 1:15.815 1.208
6 Carlos Sainz 1:15.981 1.374
7 Kimi Raikkonen 1:16.040 1.433
8 Sergio Perez 1:16.120 1.513
9 Sebastian Vettel 1:16.269 1.662
10 Jenson Button 1:16.325 1.718
11 Nico Hulkenberg 1:16.487 1.88
12 Fernando Alonso 1:16.723 2.116
13 Esteban Gutierrez 1:16.782 2.175
14 Valtteri Bottas 1:16.849 2.242
15 Romain Grosjean 1:16.874 2.267
16 Felipe Massa 1:17.286 2.679
17 Kevin Magnussen 1:17.530 2.923
18 Marcus Ericsson 1:17.562 2.955
19 Jolyon Palmer 1:17.761 3.154
20 Felipe Nasr 1:17.999 3.392
21 Rio Haryanto 1:18.647 4.04
22 Pascal Wehrlein 1:18.814 4.207