24 May 2024

Lewis Hamilton quickest in Monaco Grand Prix first practice

24 May 2024

Lewis Hamilton delivered a boost for Mercedes by clocking the fastest time in first practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Mercedes have been on the backfoot so far this season, but the seven-time world champion ended the opening session in the principality at the top of the order.

Hamilton saw off McLaren’s Oscar Piastri with George Russell third in the other Mercedes.

Lando Norris finished fourth in his McLaren, but Max Verstappen, who did not post a lap on the speediest soft rubber, was only 11th, eight tenths adrift.

Mercedes, the team which once ruled Formula One, have endured a year to forget, but the early signs on the sport’s most famous streets will provide them with encouragement.

Hamilton, a three-time winner here, lapped the low-speed track 0.029 seconds clear of Piastri with Russell a tenth off his team-mate’s pace.

Norris, who chased Verstappen all the way to the chequered flag in Imola last weekend, ended the session 0.228 secs behind. Charles Leclerc finished fifth for Ferrari.

The running had earlier been suspended for five minutes after Zhou Guanyu clipped the barrier on the exit of Sainte Devote.

Bits of Zhou’s front wing fell on to the circuit with Leclerc running over the debris in his Ferrari.

Verstappen suggested the Monte Carlo layout would not suit his machinery, and the Dutchman – just as in practice in Imola last weekend – has struggled to get up to speed.

“The car is so loose on the bumps,” he reported.

“Any interaction with engine braking or brake bias is just making it all worse.”

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez, who finished one place back in 12th, also picked up a puncture in the closing stages.

The second practice session, with rain forecast, gets under way at 5pm local time (4pm BST).

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