Nico Rosberg quickest in Monaco first practice

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Nico Rosberg has finished quickest in the first practice session for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

Mercedes are expected to excel around the tight and twisting streets of Monaco, with the W04 car having good one-lap pace. Although this result may come as little surprise to some, Rosberg will still be pleased to have ran so strongly today. Many drivers struggled with their Pirelli tires, locking up heavily, and Adrian Sutil had a scrape with the barrier at Ste Devote, giving his mechanics a bit of extra work in order to get him out for the second session.

At the top, the drivers were very closely matched, with Alonso, Grosjean and Felipe Massa lapping within two-tenths of Rosberg’s time. Lewis Hamilton underlined Mercedes’ pace by finishing 5th. McLaren and Red Bull were less fortunate, finishing around 1 second off the leaders, although Jenson Button and Sergio Perez will be pleased to have made the top ten. Last year’s winner, Mark Webber, finished 7th, whilst Pastor Maldonado produced the stand-out performance of the day by finishing 6th. This could mark a great turning point for Williams should they continue their form into qualifying and the race this weekend.

Caterham pulled clear of Marussia at the back, with their upgrades appearing to finally have given them a definite edge. Giedo van der Garde continued his good form from the Spanish GP by finishing just two-tenths off Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo. However, with Marussia also finishing within three-tenths of their closest rivals, it appears the battle at the back is only set to intensify.

At the front though, it all seems to be about Mercedes. Rosberg and Hamilton will be keen on continuing this form into FP2 later today before the rest day tomorrow. The weekend will resume as normal on Saturday, with the forecast suggesting that rain could yet make an appearance for the race on Sunday.

Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup