Hamilton Beats Verstappen By 0.059 Seconds in First Monaco Practice

by Aaron Gillard
Hamilton - Mercedes - FP1 Monaco

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport‘s Lewis Hamilton started the Monaco Grand Prix weekend fastest overall in Free Practice 1, pipping ahead of Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen by 0.059 seconds.

Hamilton achieved the best time of the session, beating last year’s fastest Free Practice 1 time of 1:12.126 set by Daniel Ricciardo in the late stage of the session by one-hundredth of a second. Verstappen manage to capture the second best time, resuming his strong pace he showed around Monaco last year. The Dutch driver however, went off at Mirabeau but was able to resume running in practice.

Valtteri Bottas claimed third place ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari cars of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel. Pierre Gasly finished in sixth place and rounded off the top three teams. The best of the rest went to Nico Hülkenberg in the Renault F1 Team car with seventh place.

Haas F1 Team‘s Kevin Magnussen suffered a strange session as he placed the eighth best time, alongside team-mate Romain Grosjean, the duo were given the black flag earlier in the session due to a telemetry and radio issue. They returned to the track later in the session after resolving the issue.

Kimi Räikkönen in the Alfa Romeo Racing car starts his 300th Grand Prix entry with the ninth best time of the session, beating Grosjean who rounded off the top ten.

The first practice session got underway with Antonio Giovinazzi taking to the track first, leading out a small train of cars from the pit lane to complete their installation laps. After the opening minutes, the Williams Racing drivers of George Russell and Robert Kubica led the way before Bottas and Hamilton set the first initial times of the session.

Local boy Leclerc produced his first lap time of the session and jumped to the third best time of the session within the first ten minutes, beating Hülkenberg and team-mate Vettel. Bottas quickly jumped into the 1:14s with a 1:14.240, improving his time and remaining on the top of the standings. Ricciardo in the Renault split the two Ferrari’s in fourth place, going ahead of Vettel but behind Leclerc.

Gasly almost lost the rear of his car during a hot lap at the Swimming Pool section, but managed to hold it together and resume his lap. A narrow escape from the Frenchman.

Both Haas cars were under a bizarre scenario as they were given a black flag just before the thirty minute mark due to a telemetry and radio issue. The Haas team couldn’t communicate to their drivers and pit boards weren’t doing the business, so the FIA stepped in to get both cars in. But the team was granted permission to run again with less than 15 minutes remaining, addressing the technical issue.

With half an hour of the session gone, Hamilton led the way ahead of Verstappen and Bottas. Leclerc and Gasly followed behind the top three. Both Scuderia Toro Rosso‘s of Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat were the best of the rest with sixth and seventh, setting strong early pace around the streets of Monaco.

The two Ferrari’s headed out on track as the rest of the field returned to the pits to give back a set of Pirelli tyres. Both Leclerc and Vettel produced the same time; a 1:13.014 before they both improve their times in their second runs, with Vettel leaping ahead of his team-mate. Bottas and Hamilton traded fastest times before the Brit surpassed the fastest time from Free Practice 1 last year with a lap time of 1:12.106.

Kubica suffered a spin at the exit of Casino Square and touched the barrier, but the Polish driver was able to resume running and returned to the pits. BothKvyat and Lando Norris went off track at Sainte Devote within a minute before the hour mark, but managed to get their car back onto the circuit to resume the session.

Verstappen locked up towards Mirabeau and had to take the escape road. The Dutch driver kept his Red Bull away from the barriers but couldn’t find reverse gear. The marshals helped Verstappen returned the track and he resumed his running.

With ten minutes of the session remaining, Hamilton remained on top ahead of Verstappen and team-mate Bottas. The two Ferrari’s followed closely with Leclerc leading ahead of Vettel. McLaren F1 Team‘s Carlos Sainz Jr. lost all of practice due to a power unit related issue, but managed to get out on track to perform a practice start.

As the chequered flag fell, Hamilton remained on top with Verstappen and Bottas rounding off the top three, with the two Ferrari cars following behind.

Pos.No.DriverNat.TeamGap
144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:12.106
233Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing0.059
377Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport0.072
416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow0.361
55Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow0.717
610Pierre GaslyFRAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1.064
727Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team1.121
820Kevin MagnussenDENRich Energy Haas F1 Team1.126
97Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing1.257
108Romain GrosjeanFRARich Energy Haas F1 Team1.273
113Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team1.307
1299Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing1.331
1326Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda1.625
1423Alexander AlbonTHARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda1.721
154Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team2.172
1611Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team2.460
1763George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing3.009
1888Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing3.408
1918Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team4.029
2055Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 TeamN/A

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