After the press conferences in the morning, the twenty Formula 1 drivers were allowed to get started on the track at 2 p.m. in the first free practice session for the Monaco GP. The start of the weekend on the cramped street circuit confirmed the picture that had been drawn throughout the season: Ferrari and Red Bull have a lead over the competition, but don’t give up much. Max Verstappen, number four, only had to concede two tenths to the fastest man Charles Leclerc, who had started the F1 weekend strongly a few weeks after his crash at the Monaco GP. Can the Monegasque maintain this good form in the second practice session or will one of his rivals knock him off the top?
McLaren also made a good impression at the first practice session in Monaco. Despite his sore tonsils, Lando Norris placed his MCL36 neatly in fifth place the best of the rest, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo set the seventh fastest time. Going into the weekend, despite a good performance in the third sector at Barcelona, the British lineup was unsure the car would do well in Monaco. That seems to be the case for now, but can McLaren still be Red Bull and Ferrari’s closest pursuers in VT2? Or will Mercedes manage to recover after P8 and P10 in first practice?
To do this, the reigning master constructor obviously has to get the upswing under control. Lewis Hamilton in particular expressed his frustration with the many bumps in his car in VT1, although several drivers from other teams also complained about it. However, team boss Toto Wolff emphasized that this was not a porpoise, but that the stiff cars and the bumpy asphalt were to blame. It will be interesting to see which teams handle it best.
At 5pm the drivers have the next opportunity to check if the hopping is under control and how the car compares to the rest as the second free practice session for the Monaco GP gets underway. Via the live blog below, our team of F1 journalists will keep you up to date with the latest developments during FP1.