Monaco GP Practice One: Lewis Hamilton edges Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg
Silver Arrows ahead once more, although Ricciardo's Red Bull closer
By Mike Wise in Monaco. Last Updated: 22/05/14 5:24pm
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in opening practice for the Monaco GP on Thursday morning, with the current championship leader ending the session just 0.032s faster than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton, a local resident, was a late arrival in the pitlane after disembarking from a boat just a couple of minutes before the session began. Predictably, though, he was similarly hurried after taking to the track - the Silver Arrows trading the P1 time as has become the norm this season, with the Briton's 1:18.271 ending up the benchmark.
The only other driver to occupy top slot was Daniel Ricciardo, who eventually settled for the third fastest time overall. However, his 1:18.506 was just 0.235s slower than Rosberg's time, suggesting that Red Bull might indeed be closer to Mercedes this weekend as has been suggested.
But another talking point might be the half-second gap that Ricciardo had in hand over team-mate Sebastian Vettel. It could be, of course, that Red Bull placed their drivers on different programmes but there was no doubt that the Australian immediately looked at home in his RB10.
Besides the question of who, if anyone, might challenge Mercedes this weekend, another talking point has been whether drivers might struggle to apply F1's new hybrid cars - supplying more torque but generating less downforce - around the narrow 3.340km track.
On the evidence of Thursday morning at least, it seems that they'll cope. Cars were noticeably more skittish through and around the famous streets, although Adrian Sutil caused minor damage to his Sauber at Mirabeau while Max Chilton spun his Marussia at the same corner.
Fernando Alonso also needed to use the escape road at Mirabeau late in the session but the Spaniard still managed to split Ricciardo and Vettel and set the fourth-fastest time in his Ferrari.
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, with the top ten completed by Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Sergio Perez (Force India), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India).
Elsehwhere, Jenson Button was 11th in his McLaren, with Lotus pair Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado - neither of whom has finished the race before - 13th and 14th respectively after trouble-free sessions.
P2 starts at 1pm BST and with cloud cover increasing during the morning, there's a chance that rain could appear at some point.