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FP1: Leclerc leads opening Monaco practice as top three split by just 0.07s

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 27: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track

Home favourite Charles Leclerc finished just ahead of Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz to set the quickest time in opening practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monegasque Ferrari driver, who trails championship leader Max Verstappen by six points heading into this weekend, clocked a 1m14.531s on the medium tyres, to end up 0.039s clear of his Red Bull rival.

Sainz was 0.07s behind his team mate Leclerc in third around the streets of Monte Carlo, with Verstappen fourth, the top four drivers separated by just 0.181s.

READ MORE: ‘I don’t think about it’ – Leclerc shrugs off so-called Monaco curse as he predicts weekend of ‘surprises’ at home

McLaren’s Lando Norris was given an exemption to miss the Friday morning press conference on medical grounds to ensure he can focus on recovering from tonsillitis.

The Briton – who finished on the podium in Monaco last year – delivered some strong pace from the off to end up best of the rest in fifth, a tenth clear of McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo (P7) with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in between for P6.

Monaco 2022

Practice 1 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1LEC1:14.531
2PER+0.039s
3SAI+0.07s
4VER+0.181s
5NOR+0.525s
View Full Results

George Russell was the leading Mercedes in eighth, ahead of Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton closing out the top 10 as temperatures hit a sweltering 32 degrees C.

Yuki Tsunoda was 11th, a fraction ahead of Lance Stroll, with Fernando Alonso the top Alpine in P13, the French team anticipating a difficult weekend on this low-speed circuit.

READ MORE: McLaren to honour Senna legacy by permanently featuring logo on F1 cars

FP1 Highlights: 2022 Monaco Grand Prix

Kevin Magnussen, 14th, was one of several drivers to have a moment at the Swimming Pool section, with his Haas team mate Mick Schumacher (P19) bringing out the red flag when he stopped and blocked the pit exit with a suspected gearbox issue.

Alex Albon was 15th, ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon, Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi in 18th for Williams.

READ MORE: ‘Never say never’ – Bottas says Alfa Romeo eyeing podium fight in Monaco after strong early-season form

Valtteri Bottas was the only driver not to set a lap time, the Finn spending most of the session in the garage after his Alfa Romeo team removed the rear end of the car to investigate a technical issue.

Second practice for the Monaco Grand Prix takes place at 1700 local time.

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