Ricciardo's fast start in Monaco, as Ferrari are investigated

Monte Carlo: Daniel Ricciardo lapped Monaco's metal-fenced streets in record time as Red Bull dominated practice for Formula One's most glamorous grand prix.

The 28-year-old Australian was fastest in the opening running on Thursday before setting a record-breaking lap later in the day to cement Red Bull's status at the pre-race favourites.

Daniel Ricciardo is all smiles after being fastest in practice in Monaco.

There is a third and final practice on Saturday ahead of qualifying.

"I'm sure Ferrari and Mercedes will start to put some more pressure on us. They'll definitely close that gap [in qualifying]," Ricciardo added.

"I still feel if we can put together a really good lap we have a very good chance."

Red Bull principal Christian Horner told Sky TV: "Both drivers have got a good feel for the car, the car's working quite nicely, but it's only Thursday morning.

The glamour of Monaco: Daniel Ricciardo races past luxury yachts.

"We have had a competitive chassis all year and of course the straights are a bit shorter here, so that concertinas it all together."

McLaren's Fernando Alonso, who missed last year's race to compete in the Indianapolis 500 instead, had a difficult opening session with his car suffering problems with its brake-by-wire system. The double world champion had a better afternoon and finished ninth fastest.

Meanwhile, Ferrari are being investigated by F1's governing body following allegations that they have broken the rules this season.

Vettel won the opening two rounds of the season, and rival teams believe the Italians have been gaining an unfair advantage by deploying more engine power than is permitted.

The FIA has been monitoring the situation from as early as the first races in Australia and Bahrain, and on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix, it has demanded that Ferrari run a device on their engine to ensure they are sticking to the law book.

F1 confirmed the news on their website on Thursday evening. "The governing body have asked Ferrari to run an extra piece of hardware that monitors their energy recovery system.

"This weekend, the FIA will monitor the system in operation before analysing data and making any judgements."

A spokesperson for the Italian team said in Monaco: "Ferrari does not comment on speculation."

Suspicions over alleged foul play gathered pace during last month's Chinese Grand Prix after Vettel and teammate Raikkonen secured the team's second consecutive front-row lockout.

Vettel was more than half-a-second clear of the Mercedes cars at a track in which, up until this season, the German constructor had dominated.

Vettel was again on pole at the following race in Azerbaijan. It is understood that at this point all four of the grid's engine suppliers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault – were asked to provide schematics of their engine layouts to the FIA.

Ferrari's systems were probed in Baku and also at the last round in Spain. Hamilton dominated the Barcelona race as Mercedes returned to their all-conquering best.


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