Action starts with a beautiful and hot morning in south of France: the complete tarmac-surfaced track waited for the first drivers to get out from the fresh pit boxes.
The Mclaren are the first movers for the initial outlap: followed by Grosjean, Albon, Magnussen, Kvyat, Raikkonen and Kubica. All the cars performed an usual outlap, with little action a part from smooth clinch between the latters: the Russian pumped from the solid Toro Rosso he owns this year, the Finn for the second top 10 slot in a row earned in free practice.
Moreover, Alfa continued the use of the fluo paint in #7 car: still work to finish on Saturday morning.
With 1.33.398, Daniil Kvyat set the first reference lap of the session after the first ten minutes of action.
Technical details for the Cavallino: if the new front wing is confirmed from drivers, the updated chassis floor was rejected, using the old one.
The home residents made the outlap: great expectations for Renault after the good performance in Canada.
Free Practice 1 concluded with Lewis Hamilton top of the timing screen ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas by a mere 0.069 seconds. Could the Finnish driver edge ahead of his teammate in FP2 or would another unlikely challenger come to the fore?
Friday analysis of telemetry confirmed from the video pictures: first and sector are Ferrari’s territory, while medium-fast turns are conquered from the Silver Arrows.
With the first quarter gone, Daniel Ricciardo imprints a 1.32.690 as his best lap. Bottas and Hamilton entered on track while local Pierre Gasly emulates them: only his teammate Verstappen still has no time.
Valtteri bite the asphalt with a 1.31.383 as the first top team time when forty minutes are missing from the end: a chrono made leaving the right foot before the finish line.
George Russell claims a power failure in his Williams: asking to the pit if he can switch gears the Briton come inside box with clear mechanical problems.
The top rows are in mixed order of hierarchy: Bottas and Leclerc top Hamilton and Vettel by 3 tenth of a second.
With Verstappen entering, all cars are on track performing the last setup refining.
Half time begins with a 1.30.853 from the #77 Mercedes: with all teams on the Soft red compound, a second of gap is made between the front runners and the rest of the field.
Unusual decision for Sebastian Vettel: he ask for a seat change, including belts: mechanics plunged at work for letting the German continuing his session.
When 20 minutes are left, no improvements are made probably due to the hot boiling temperature of track: only Bottas, Hulkenberg and Raikkonen on track.
Apart from the front rows battle, Mclaren, Renault and Red Bull run the pack of midfield cars, while practice starts are on the way.