Lewis Hamilton edges ahead in Monaco First Practice

Lewis Hamilton FP1 - 2017 Monaco Grand Prix Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The first practice session took place on Thursday morning for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, and it was the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Lewis Hamilton who took the top spot on the leaderboard.

It was McLaren-Honda Formula 1 Team’s driver, Jenson Button’s, first outing in the car since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of last year as he stood in for Fernando Alonso, who will be contesting the Indy500 this weekend. It was also the first time around the circuit for Sahara Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Williams Martini Racing’s Lance Stroll.

Hamilton set a time of 1:13.425, which was two seconds faster than the fastest lap last year, and also 0.196 seconds ahead of second fastest Sebastian Vettel. Max Verstappen took a surprise third fastest in the Red Bull Racing car, even after he missed several laps due to a floor change.

Although he set the original pace of the session, Valterri Bottas was never really within touching distance of Hamilton, and in the end finished 0.366 seconds behind him in fourth place, closely followed by the other Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo in fifth.

The two Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz had a promising start to their Monaco campaign, as they enveloped Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez in sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth fastest respectively.

Finishing off the top ten was Ocon, who has finished every race in the points thus far this season and will surely be hoping that this trend continues. The highest placed Williams’ driver was Felipe Massa in eleventh, well ahead of rookie team-mate Stroll. Monaco has been a weaker circuit for the team in recent years, with their average qualifying position being fourteenth.

The McLaren drivers had a relatively strong first practice, with Stoffel Vandoorne running a respectable twelfth fastest and super-sub Button fourteenth, separated only by Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen.

Romain Grosjean had an issue with Turn One, with a lock up that caused him to go straight off, meaning that he could only manage fifteenth fastest. Renault Sport Formula 1 Team’s Jolyon Palmer and Sauber F1 Team’s Pascal Wehrlein took seventeenth and eighteenth spot.

Marcus Ericsson had an early end to his session due to a gearbox failure after failing to put a time on the board, along with Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault.

The battle at the front of the grid again looks close, only this time, there are three teams in the mix. It will also be interesting to see whether Button is able to bring the McLaren anywhere near scoring their first points of the season.

2017 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix – Monte Carlo - Free Practice 1

144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:13.42540
25Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:13.621+0.196s34
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:13.771+0.346s32
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:13.791+0.366s40
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:13.854+0.429s45
626Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso1:14.111+0.686s42
77Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:14.164+0.739s37
811Sergio PerezSahara Force India F1 Team1:14.201+0.776s32
955Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso1:14.333+0.908s39
1031Esteban OconSahara Force India F1 Team1:14.425+1.000s39
1119Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing1:14.617+1.192s37
122Stoffel VandorneMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:14.813+1.388s38
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 Team1:14.870+1.445s34
1422Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:14.954+1.529s35
158Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:15.321+1.896s33
1618Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:15.595+2.17s44
1730Jolyon PalmerRenault Sport Formula One Team1:15.949+2.524s42
1894Pascal WehrleinSauber F1 Team1:16.258+2.833s33
1927Nicolas HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One TeamNo Time-3
209Marcus EricssonSauber F1 TeamNo Time-3