Lewis Hamilton has topped the timesheets in the first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen. Hamilton finished 0.1 seconds ahead Verstappen after the 17-year-old’s impressive late flying lap demoted Daniel Ricciardo to third position.
The session started with drivers completing their installation laps on intermediate tyres after rain fell overnight, however, the slick tyres were quickly put on the cars as it was clear the most of the track was dry. Nico Rosberg set the pace early in the session, however once the extra set of soft tyres were handed back after the first 30 minutes, both he and his team-mate Hamilton traded fastest times. The Mercedes pair dipped under the 1m20s mark, with Hamilton’s 1:18.134s standing the quickest time until the conclusion of the session.
Around 80% of Monaco’s tarmac has been resurfaced since last year, which left the track very green and slippery before it began to rubber in. A cool air temperature of 14C made it hard on drivers to get heat into their brakes and tyres.
The low grip of the circuit caught a few drivers out including Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean and Valtteri Bottas, who all had a spin at Sainte Devote. Rosberg was another who look uncomfortable with the lack of grip as he brushed the barrier at Tabac, although he didn’t incur any damage.
Sebastian Vettel was the best Ferrari-powered car of the session in fourth while another impressive practice session from Carlos Sainz Jr. saw him finish in fifth position.
Alonso was close to making it inside the top 10, ending the session three one-hundredths of a second behind Felipe Massa in tenth. Jenson Button was twelfth in the other McLaren half a second behind.
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team