Lewis Hamilton edges Piastri to top Monaco Grand Prix FP1

Lewis Hamilton edges Piastri to top Monaco FP1

Lewis Hamilton topped Friday’s opening practice for the Monaco Grand Prix edging Oscar Piastri by just 0.029s while Max Verstappen ended up down in 11th place.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the opening free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix with a 1’12.169, narrowly ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri with his team mate George Russell in third. All three ran the softest available tyres, which some of their rivals left untouched.

The first hour of practice began with teams with their eyes on the skies with the threat of rain in the air. All 20 drivers rushed out on track to ensure they could maximise their dry tyre running in case of a shower.

Hamilton led the pack and there was plenty of running at the outset. Grip levels were pretty low but promised to improve, while the medium and hard compounds were predictably in widespread use.

Leclerc set the first significant benchmark, the Monegasque putting a 1m14.238s on the board using the hards. But the Scuderia was overhauled by Verstappen by a small margin, the medium-shod Dutchman appearing to target the limit from the outset as his RB20 rubbed the barriers at the chicane.

Twenty minutes into the session, Norris briefly went top but the Briton was immediately demoted by Leclerc, still running on the hards, who lowered the fastest time to 1m13.343s, while Sainz and a fast moving Tsunoda slotted into second and third.

Mid-session, both Mercedes sat in the lower tier of the field as Hamilton and Russell were slow to dial in the pace of their W15 silver arrows.

Meanwhile, troubles were reported in the Alpine camp where Pierre Gasly – with just five laps to his name – was ordered to box following a power unit issue. Worryingly, after Gasly’s fundamental PU issue centered around a wastegate problem, Esteban Ocon also reported a suspected engine problem.

Verstappen moved up to second to split the two Ferraris, but Hamilton then appeared out of nowhere to leapfrog the Red Bull driver and seize the runner-up spot behind Leclerc.

Piastri was among the first drivers to bolt on a set of softs, a move that propelled the Aussie to the top. It was short lived however for the McLaren driver as Russell, now also on the softs, went P1 with a 1m12.295s.

There was good news over at Alpine where the team confirmed that Ocon’s engine was intact, the Frenchman rejoining the session after a few set-up changes to improve his car’s compliance around the bumpy track, while Gasly was also set to rejoin the proceedings.

Piastri proceeded to reclaim the top spot with 20 minutes left on the clock, with Russell, Hamilton and Tsunoda lining up behind, while Alonso popped up among the top five.

A red flag was deployed with 15 minutes to go following a mild contact with the wall at Ste Devote by Zhou Guanyu. The Sauber driver lost the rear in the first corner, and although he corrected this meant he was too wide at the exit and clipped the wall, with his front wing endplate sustaining significant damage and showering the track with debris.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was the next driver through and ran through the debris field, picking up a large piece of Sauber bodywork and suffering minor damage to the front of his floor.

The session restarted with 10 minutes remaining, but nobody was able to depose Hamilton who had set a time of 1m12.169s to take top spot from McLaren driver Oscar Piastri by 0.029 seconds before the red flag.

2024 Monaco Grand Prix FP1 Results

144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:12.16935
281Oscar PiastriMclaren 1:12.198+0.029s31
363George RussellMercedes1:12.295+0.126s35
44Lando NorrisMclaren1:12.396+0.227s33
516Charles LeclercFerrari1:12.397+0.228s33
614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin 1:12.775+0.606s26
718Lance StrollAston Martin 1:12.789+0.620s26
822Yuki TsunodaRb 1:12.875+0.706s34
93Daniel RicciardoRb 1:12.901+0.732s36
1055Carlos SainzFerrari1:12.954+0.785s35
111Max VerstappenRed Bull1:12.984+0.815s29
1211Sergio PerezRed Bull 1:13.229+1.060s29
1377Valtteri BottasKick Sauber 1:13.248+1.079s28
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas1:13.390+1.221s33
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams 1:13.425+1.256s34
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas 1:13.576+1.407s34
172Logan SargeantWilliams 1:14.150+1.981s36
1831Esteban OconAlpine 1:14.159+1.990s33
1924Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber 1:14.570+2.401s30
2010Pierre GaslyAlpine 1:15.574+3.405s10

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