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Monaco Grand Prix: F1 Free Practice 1 Results

Monaco Grand Prix: F1 Free Practice 1 Results

For round eight of the championship, the second race of the European leg opens with the first practice session on the prestigious Circuit de Monaco

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McLaren and Red Bull battled for dominance last weekend. Will their competition heat up in Monaco?

Lewis Hamilton in Monaco FP1
Lewis Hamilton went fastest during FP1 in Monaco. (Image Credit: @MercedesAMGF1 on Twitter)

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheet in today’s FP1 session on the streets of Monaco. Oscar Piastri takes P2 and the other Mercedes driver, George Russell set the third fastest time of the session.

What came before?

Max Verstappen returned to the top step after a disappointing start in Imola last weekend. However, heading into the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Red Bull were not completely confident. The RB20 is less suited to the low-speed bumpy circuits with twists and turns like Monaco. Red Bull Team Director, Helmut Marko claimed that the team faces their most challenging period in a long time.

McLaren driver, Lando Norris was hot on the tail of Verstappen towards the end of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. The young Briton closed the gap to the race leader from seven seconds to 0.7 seconds. Certainly, McLaren are proving to be strong competition for Red Bull this season.

In addition, the Woking-based outfit are bringing a special livery to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. The new colour scheme is dedicated to Ayrton Senna. 2024 marks 30 years since the three-time world champion tragically passed away following a crash in Imola. Senna achieved all three of his championships and 35 of his 41 grands prix wins with McLaren.

Local hero, Charles Leclerc has had an unfortunate history at his home circuit. In 2017, the Monégasque competed in the Formula 2 championship at the circuit but suffered a suspension issue, an electrical issue, and a DNF from pole position. The 26-year-old debuted in Formula 1 in 2018 but experienced a brake failure and another DNF at his home race.

In 2019 he was out in Q1, in 2021 he secured pole position but did not start the race due to a gearbox issue, and in 2022 Ferrari’s strategy damaged his chances. Last year, Leclerc was handed a three-place grid penalty. Therefore, fans of the young Monégasque will be hoping that he can break his home race ‘curse’ in 2024.

Lights out for FP1

Like last weekend in Imola, the softest compound Pirelli tyres – C3, C4, C5 – are in use for the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix weekend. As the lights turned green at the end of the pitlane for FP1, the cars entered the track with their Monaco-specific high downforce rear wings.

Oscar Piastri was informed on the radio that there was a chance of light rain towards the end of the session. This followed a day of rain in Monte Carlo on Thursday, meaning that the green track would have even less grip.

On the hard compound tyres, Charles Leclerc started his first quick lap. He set green sectors and set a 1:18.686. Meanwhile, Piastri topped the timesheet with a 1:18.002 on the mediums and Verstappen in P2 also on the mediums.

Yuki Tsunoda then placed his RB on top of the timesheet with a 1:17 on the hards. Shortly after, Lewis Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen, and Leclerc topped Tsunoda’s time.

On Hamilton’s next lap, he set a purple first sector. Then, Norris set a purple second sector. Norris’ time was 1:15.294 for P1 on the hard tyres. Whereas, Hamilton made a mistake towards the end of his lap at the Nouvelle Chicane.

Piastri then set a 1:14.694 as the track warmed up. Leclerc was on his next hot lap, setting a purple first and third sector. He jumped to P1 with a 1:14.521.

Magnussen entered the pits to change the seat of his Haas. His teammate, Nico Hulkenberg locked up into Turn 1 – Sainte Devote – and used the run-off area.

10 minutes into FP1, Leclerc was in P1, Piastri in P2, and Norris in P3.

Carlos Sainz set a time just 0.257 seconds behind his teammate for P2. Meanwhile, Verstappen set a purple first sector and Piastri a purple second sector.

Piastri finished his lap for P2, beating Sainz’s time. Verstappen then set a 1:13.974 on the medium compound tyre for P1.

Pierre Gasly entered the pits with a power unit issue for Alpine to investigate.

45 minutes to go

A quarter of the way into the first practice session, Verstappen was in P1, Leclerc in P2, Piastri in P3, Sainz in P4, and Norris in P5.

The Alpine mechanics completed their checks on Gasly’s A524 and the Frenchman re-joined the session. Unfortunately, shortly after, Gasly reported no power and was instructed to re-enter the pits. His Alpine was then wheeled back into the garage for further investigations.

Sainz topped Piastri’s time, 0.039 seconds behind his teammate for P3. Tsunoda then set a fourth quickest time.

Norris set a 1:13.934 on the hards for P1. Meanwhile, Leclerc was on his next flying lap, setting purple sectors across the board on the hard tyres. His time was 1:13.343 for P1.

Valtteri Bottas was the next driver to go off at Sainte Devote, performing a well-controlled spin to turn his Sauber round.

With 35 minutes to go, Leclerc was in P1, Sainz P2, Tsunoda P3, Verstappen P4, and Hamilton P5. The Ferrari drivers were on the hard compound tyres, while the remaining top five were on mediums.

A yellow flag was briefly shown with 32 minutes remaining of FP1. This was due to Alex Albon using the run-off area.

There were a few close calls with the barriers. Leclerc almost hit the barrier, brushing alongside it.

In addition, Verstappen got uncomfortably close to the barrier at Tabac.

Earlier in the session, the Dutchman had also touched another barrier.

Halfway point

At this point in the session, the top five were Leclerc, Hamilton, Verstappen, Sainz, and Tsunoda.

Piastri was the first of the drivers to pit for the soft compound tyres, shortly followed by Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso. The McLaren driver then set the fastest time of the session on his fresh soft tyres. His time was then topped by George Russell, also now on the soft compounds. The Mercedes driver set a 1:12.295 lap time.

The Mercedes drivers were the bread of the top five drivers sandwich with Russell in P1 and Hamilton in P5. Between them was Piastri in P2, Leclerc in P3, and Norris in P4.

Tsunoda then jumped up to P3, eight-tenths behind the session leader. Then, Alonso topped Tsunoda’s time and Hamilton topped Alonso’s time.

Piastri returned to the top of the timesheets with a 1:12.198 lap time. The Australian pushed the limits on his lap, kissing the barrier at the swimming pool.

Hamilton set the quickest time with a 1:12.169 with the soft compound tyres on his Silver Arrow.

Red flag

A yellow flag was shown briefly due to Zhou Guanyu oversteering at Turn 1. The Sauber driver hit the barrier and damaged his front wing. Leclerc then collected the debris from the incident when it was sucked up under his Ferrari. The session was then red-flagged to clear the debris from the track.

The floor of Leclerc’s Ferrari was damaged and the Ferrari mechanics fixed it with some speed tape to continue the remainder of the session. Could this be a sign of Leclerc’s home race bad luck continuing?

10 minutes remaining

With 10 minutes to go and the session restarted some drops of rain started to fall.

With eight minutes remaining, Hamilton was in P1, Piastri P2, Russell P3, Norris P4, and Leclerc P5.

Haas released Magnussen into the path of Tsunoda in the pit lane. The Japanese driver complained of an unsafe release.

At this point, the Red Bull drivers were in P11 and P12 on the medium compound tyres. Verstappen complained that the RB20 was “so loose”.

His teammate, Sergio Perez then reported a puncture with 5 minutes remaining. He entered the pits to change tyres.

The session ended with both Mercedes drivers in the top three. Hamilton set the quickest time in FP1 and Russell finished in P3. The two British drivers were split by Piastri who achieved P2 in the McLaren.

FP1 classification

Featured Image Credit: @F1 on Twitter

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