Ricciardo finishes fourth last in Monaco practice
DANIEL Ricciardo finished the first day of practice at the Monaco Grand Prix fourth last on the time sheets, more than 1.7 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.
Twelve 12 months on from the Australian's redemption victory in Monaco last year, Ricciardo's Renault team has continued to struggle to push their way into the middle of the Formula 1 pack in Monte Carlo.
Ricciardo was far from panicking, but admitted the team had fallen off the pace in the second practice session of the day when its rivals were able to take giant steps forward.
The Australian's late run on soft tyres gave him post a best lap time of 1:12.888, which was good enough for 17th on the grid, just behind teammate Nico Hulkenberg's 1:12.872 (P16).
It came after Hulkenberg (seventh) and Ricciardo (11th) showed some promise in the first practice session of the day.
The Renaults enjoyed a stable day of car performance and reliability, but the team claimed their second practice session was hampered by traffic on the track during their runs on the softer, quicker tyres.
"I felt relatively comfortable in the morning and I was pleased that we got up to speed quite quickly," Ricciardo told Renault at the end of the day.
"However, we didn't make the step we needed in the afternoon. We did make some changes, but maybe they didn't help as well as we'd have liked. Following the afternoon session, we have a bit more homework to do to really find that extra bit.
"As ever around Monaco, it's awesome to be back driving a Formula 1 car on these streets. That's always special."
Renault chassis technical director Nick Chester admitted his team would be doing some long hours of home work during the rest day on Friday night (AEST).
"We were reasonably happy after the first session. We put a lot of laps in, the drivers felt comfortable and the balance didn't seem too bad," Chester said.
"In the afternoon, we weren't as quick. We'll see what we did with set-up changes and look how we get the pace back for FP3 on Saturday. We know we have work to do for a better day on Saturday, but we have tomorrow to go over everything and make the right changes."
Hamilton was the quickest on the opening day, finishing less than 0.1 seconds clear of teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel was the closest challenger, more than 0.7 seconds behind the Mercedes duo.