Mercedes Lewis Hamilton topped the times in the first practice session ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was one tenth faster than the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, after setting his fastest time on the ultra softs.
The Mercedes driver was .19 of a second faster than his German rival, after spending the early part of the session trading times with Vettel. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas finish fourth, behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
The session past trouble-free, allowing Hamilton to break the lap record around the twisty streets of Monte Carlo. The top three were covered by .3 of a second despite Verstappen missing a third of the session due to a floor change on his RB13.
It wasn’t plain sailing for the Dutch teenager, as he spent a lot of the time in the garage after Red Bull spotted a “potential right rear puncture” and he did his best time in the latter part of the session.
Drivers were on track early on, with Vettel being the early pace setter on the ultrasoft, while Mercedes worked with the supersoft. Mercedes driver then set about trading lap times.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen kissed the Swimming Pool barrier on his way to seventh fastest, but it was over v half-a-second slower than team-mate Vettel. Sergio Perez finished eighth, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, who like his team-mate Kvyat was on the super-softs, and Esteban Ocon.
McLaren’s Jenson Button finished fourteen on his return to the cockpit finishing two tenths down on Stoffel Vandoorne. Button took it easy as he began to get to grips with the MCL32, which he had not driven on track until this morning.
At this stage and based on performance in Barcelona, Mercedes appear to have the slight edge over Ferrari on track. While Red Bull have taken another step forward following progress last time out. Verstappen was only three tenths of the pace.
Haas’s Romain Grosjean was fifteenth, that was despite the spin at Santie Devote. His team-mate Kevin Magnussen was thirteenth.
Nico Hulkenberg failed to complete a flying lap, as Renault spent most of the session investigating a problem with the energy store. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson also failed to get a time on the board after encountering a gearbox problem.
The bottom five was made up of Lance Stroll, who was 0.978s off Williams teammate Massa, the two Renaults and the two Saubers.