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FP1: Hamilton leads Piastri and Russell during interrupted opening practice in Monaco

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets during Friday’s opening free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, leading the way from McLaren rival Oscar Piastri and team mate George Russell, as F1’s European season continues at pace.

After a thrilling conclusion to last weekend’s action at Imola, the teams swiftly packed up their equipment and then hot-footed it west to another historic venue in the form of Monte Carlo’s streets, which featured on F1’s inaugural calendar back in 1950.

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A tight, twisty barrier-lined circuit with little margin for error, building up confidence is the main aim for drivers through FP1, FP2 and FP3 ahead of arguably the most important qualifying hour of the year, given how difficult it is to overtake on race day.

As such, several drivers spent time in P1 over the first half of the session, with the Ferraris, McLarens and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull consistently lowering the benchmark on a mixture of the hard and medium tyres as they tried to get back into a rhythm.

Monaco 2024

Practice 1 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1HAM1:12.169
2PIA+0.029s
3RUS+0.126s
4NOR+0.227s
5LEC+0.228s
View Full Results

However, having predicted a “more difficult” weekend, Verstappen found that his RB20 was on a “knife edge” in those opening runs – replays showing him getting perilously close to the barriers at the exit of Sainte Devote, Tabac and the Piscine complex.

Zhou Guanyu went a step further with around 15 minutes left on the clock, when his Kick Sauber snapped away at Sainte Devote, thumped the wall and littered debris over the track, some of which Charles Leclerc dramatically drove over and took with him.

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That stoppage interrupted a series of efforts on the soft tyres, with Hamilton’s coming at the ideal time as the seven-time world champion pumped in a 1m 12.169s to finish 0.029s clear of Piastri, who appeared to back off to the line.

Russell was a tenth further back in third, ahead of Lando Norris in the other McLaren, while home favourite Leclerc – after some floor checks in the garage – rounded out the top five, having set his best time on mediums.

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Monaco provides one of the most impressive backdrops of the F1 season

Aston Martin and RB followed in formation in positions six to nine, with Fernando Alonso just ahead of team mate Lance Stroll, and the in-form Yuki Tsunoda narrowly outpacing Daniel Ricciardo, as Carlos Sainz completed the top 10 in his Ferrari.

Red Bull’s session brought more radio complaints for reigning world champion Verstappen and a puncture for Sergio Perez en route to P11 and P12 respectively (with the medium tyres), from the Kick Sauber of Valtteri Bottas and the Williams and Haas machines.

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It was also a tricky opening hour of practice for Alpine, with Esteban Ocon complaining of severe bouncing and Pierre Gasly stuck in the garage for the most part with power unit issues, leaving them P18 and P20 on the timing screen – the pair split by Zhou.

Drivers will now dig through the data with their teams in the paddock before returning to the track for second practice, which is set to get under way at 1700 local time. Head to the RACE HUB for more information.

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