Monaco GP | Lewis Hamilton tops the first session, but Verstappen is close
The atypical Monegasque race weekend officially starts with the first Free Practice session. Mercedes tops a Monaco session again for the first time since 2017's FP1. Verstappen, though, is so close to the Silver Arrows.
As unique as it is, the Monaco Grand Prix action starts on Thursday with the first Free Practice session.
For the slowest GP of the year, Pirelli has selected the softest tyres compounds available: the C3, coloured in white, C4 in yellow and C5 in red. The risk of rain is about 20%.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas put themselves respectively in first and second position, both wearing C5 tyres, the softest available. Hamilton clocked a 1.12.106s, while Daniel Ricciardo’s pole last year was a 1.10.810s. Are they going to break another record?
The resurfaced track is a little more rubbered after the track activity in the morning, meaning there can be a lap of grip. Both Vettel and Bottas, at the Saint Devote, and Gasly at the Pools turn, slide a little bit, but they managed to keep their car far from the tight barriers. Only Bottas comes back to the garage to fix his badgeboards.
A lot of spins happened during the session: Robert Kubica lost his rear at the Casino square. He kissed the barriers with a light touch, as Max Verstappen thanks the Pole for avoiding him.
Robert Kubica gets in a spin as he exits Casino Square 🔄#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/CkHKO6lBiX— Formula 1 (@F1) 23 maggio 2019
Traffic also gave as some fights already, like the one between Kvyat and Hamilton.
Meanwhile, two Black Flags appeared for the Haas drivers: both cars had telemetry and radio issue, making it hard to communicate with drivers. That is the reason behind the black flag: both cars had to come back to the box.
🏴Both Haas cars have been black flagged— Formula 1 (@F1) 23 maggio 2019
It appears that issues with the team's radio and telemetry have forced Grosjean and Magnussen back to the garage#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/qAJG0IXIKk
They will be able to come back only during the last 15 minutes of action. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean placed themselves respectively in 8th and 10th position.
After 30 minutes of action, Max Verstappen places himself in between the two Silver Arrows.
Is again Red Bull the one that threat Mercedes for the victory?
Max is taking the fight to Mercedes 💪— Formula 1 (@F1) 23 maggio 2019
BOT +0.072s#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/o0ej4Vp8Gc
As time flies into the session, the track is continuing to rubber and evolve, with the drivers already fighting for the Thursday domination before tomorrow’s day off.
Hamilton stays on top, with Max Verstappen following. Just 0.059s between them. Bottas is third, followed by Leclerc and Vettel.
All top ten drivers scored their fastest lap time with the C5 compound; Kvyat and Albon, otherwise, scored their best wearing the C4 tyre.
The last minutes are completely dedicated to long runs: both Racing Point tested the hardest compound available, the C3. Vettel tested the
Carlos Sainz is the only driver who has not clocked a lap time: his mechanics are working on his MCL34, which has the floor off, because of a battery issue.
No FP1 track time for @Carlossainz55 yet 🙁— Formula 1 (@F1) 23 maggio 2019
McLaren are trying to remedy a battery issue#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/uKi6um5X9F
He is able to hit the track when 5 seconds are left on the timer to do an out lap to verify everything is okay on his McLaren.