After Daniel Ricciardo‘s great Thursday to start the Monaco Grand Prix weekend with Red Bull on top, there are many numbers to look into and look at the statistical chance for the Austrian team to enjoy a great Saturday and an even better Sunday, or not.
Statistical Look Into Red Bull’s Early Lead
Red Bull dominated FP1 and FP2 for the first time in the 2018 Formula 1 season and the fourth occasion since the Hybrid Engine-era began in 2014. The other three times occurred last year when they were in front in the first two practice sessions in Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Singapore.
In those three events, however, they had a 1-2 finish just twice, the same as today.
In Azerbaijan, Max Verstappen was the top card for the Milton Keynes-based team, the Dutch driver was in front in the first two sessions. But it was Daniel Ricciardo who got away with the victory in the eventful race. In Hungary and Singapore, Red Bull enjoyed only one podium spot, Ricciardo’s P2 in Singapore.
Of course Red Bull dominated in Monaco before. In the team’s golden days, Mark Webber took victory in 2010 and 2012, while Sebastian Vettel won in 2011, all from Pole.
They did not perform extremely well in the initial practice sessions for those three races. Only Vettel led a practice session prior to those victories (FP1 in 2011).
Since 2014, a Red Bull car was able to finish with the best time on the first day of the Monaco GP just once. Ricciardo led FP2 in 2016 and went on to snatch Pole from the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. But the Australian was second in the race after a bad pitstop from his crew and a good strategy for Hamilton saw Ricciardo concede the lead.
Do FP1 and FP2 say something good about Red Bull’s chances for the race? Since 2014, the answer is no.
In the last 84 F1 races (since 2014) Red Bull was ahead in either FP1 or FP2 thirteen times, and that number produced only one Pole (Monaco 2016) and a trio of triumphs (out of nine RBR wins in that stretch): Azerbaijan 2017, Malaysia 2017 and Mexico 2017.
Will Red Bull maintain their dominance during the remaining events of the weekend? it would certainly represent an entertaining qualifying day and an intriguing Sunday. Both FP1 and FP2 don’t always say the complete story for the Austrian squad.
Monaco GP action resumes on Saturday with the third practice session and the eagerly awaited qualifying session.
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