Event: Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 (FP1 and FP2)
Date: Thursday, May 24
Location: Circuit de Monaco
Layout: 3.337-kilometer (2.074-mile), 19-turn circuit
FP1 Weather: Partly sunny
FP1 Air Temps: 21.2-22.9 degrees Celsius (70.2-73.2 degrees Fahrenheit)
FP1 Track Temps: 32.4-38.2 degrees Celsius (90.3-100.8 degrees Fahrenheit)
FP2 Weather: Partly sunny
FP2 Air Temps: 21.3-23.9 degrees Celsius (70.3-75 degrees Fahrenheit)
FP2 Track Temps: 34.2-42.1 degrees Celsius (93.6-107.8 degrees Fahrenheit)
Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
Grosjean: 9th quick (1:13.943), 24 laps completed
Magnussen: 20th quick (1:18.801), 7 laps completed
Fastest Driver: Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull (1:12.126)
Most Laps: Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso (46 laps)
Magnussen: 16th quick (1:13.572), 41 laps completed
Grosjean: 18th quick (1:13.763), 37 laps completed
Fastest Driver: Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull (1:11.841)
Most Laps: Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso and Esteban Ocon of Force India (47 laps each)
The sixth round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Thursday at Circuit de Monaco as teams prepared for the 76th Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 3.337-kilometer (2.074-mile), 19-turn track allowed drivers to methodically build speed and lower their lap times on a circuit that has remained relatively unchanged since it first saw racecars in 1929.
Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen faced adversity in FP1, each with differing outcomes. After both completed an installation lap on the Pirelli P Zero Purple ultrasoft tire, their baseline stints that followed became problematic.
Magnussen turned just seven laps before an issue relating to the fuel system relegated him to the garage. He wound up 20th on the speed chart with a best lap of 1:18.801 earned on his sixth tour.
Grosjean lost 50 minutes of valuable running after brushing the wall at Tabac (turn 12) toward the end of his maiden run. A new floor was needed on his Haas VF-18, and after the time-consuming fix was completed, only 10 minutes remained in the session. Grosjean made the most of the time, clocking a best lap of 1:13.943 on the 18th of his 24 laps, good for ninth overall.
The Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen led the way in FP1, with Ricciardo’s quick time of 1:12.126 besting his teammate by .154 of a second and easily eclipsing the previous track record of 1:12.178 set by Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen in qualifying for last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
FP2 remained a frustrating affair for Haas F1 Team, but for different reasons than FP1. Traffic on the shortest track on the Formula One calendar conspired against both drivers, with each struggling to find a clean lap. A 15-minute red flag stoppage to better secure manhole covers on the street circuit also limited on-track running.
Despite those hurdles, they still managed to better their times from FP1. Magnussen was 16th quickest with a lap of 1:13.572, which was 5.229 seconds better than his best lap from his truncated FP1 session. Grosjean fell to 18th fastest, but his quick time of 1:13.763 was still .18 of a second better than his best FP1 time.
Hypersofts were the tire of choice for both drivers to set their fast laps. Magnussen earned his quick time on his 21st tour while Grosjean scored his best time on his 22nd lap. Magnussen began FP2 on the Red supersoft tire, running 13 laps before switching to hypersofts. Grosjean chose Purple ultrasofts to begin the session, logging 10 laps before bolting on hypersofts. Magnussen tallied 42 laps in FP2 and Grosjean completed 37 laps.
Ricciardo and Verstappen remained the front runners in FP2. Ricciardo’s lap of 1:11.841 set a new benchmark, with Verstappen .194 of a second behind.
Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 109 laps – 61 by Grosjean and 48 by Magnussen.
“We haven’t been able to find a sweet spot on the car and we haven’t found the grip we wanted to have for around here. Obviously, we’re not very happy with the positions. Hopefully, we’re going to get the tires to work better, get the grip out of them, and then the performance should rise quite nicely. Right now, we’re not looking like we’d make it to Q3, but it’s about finding the grip on the track. I’m sure the engineers are going to work really hard and get everything in the window with the tires, the temperature, and make sure we get the grip out of them. If we do so, the car’s been really good everywhere, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t be competitive.”
“Obviously, we’re not where we wanted to be today, in terms of pace, and also in terms of not getting much running in FP1. I’m hoping for a better day on Saturday. We’ve got lots of time to work on the car with having Friday off, at least from driving, and we can think a lot more about the setup. Hopefully, we’ll improve the situation for qualifying. The whole field is very tight, so even though it looks bad position-wise, we don’t have to find that much time to go quite a bit forward.”
“It wasn’t easy for us. We had a few issues in FP1 and we didn’t get a lot of running. That always puts you a little bit behind here as the drivers need to get used to it and get laps. In FP2, we weren’t where we wanted to be, but I think we roughly know why. There is room for improvement and we know where to go.”
Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (12:00-13:00 local time) before qualifying starts at 15:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 15 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole. There is no on-track running on Friday, a schedule unique to Monaco.