FP1 kickstarted the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship today on the streets of Monaco. Overnight rain meant that the circuit was very green, with a distinct lack of rubber and a rather damp track resulting in a rather uneventful opening session.
Lewis Hamilton topped the session completing a colossal 49 laps, although teammate Nico Rosberg was only ninth fastest. The reason behind this was that Rosberg offset his running, in order to obtain a clear track to cash in on some laps before the rest of the field would come out, making it more difficult to gather useful running data, as being held up by slower cars really does skew data for everybody. The trade off with running earlier on a green track means there is hardly any rubber down to provide mechanical grip for the cars in corners, pace at Monaco is heavily dependent on mechanical grip more so than aerodynamic due to it’s low speed.
Rosberg did come close to what could've been a red flag incident after making contact with the barrier through the swimming pool chicane, remarkably only scratching the front wing endplate on his Mercedes. These plastic looking front wings are incredibly strong and are able to withstand bone snapping impacts with little to no damage.
Sebastian Vettel came close to writing his SF15-T off on the exit of Casino square mid way through the session. The German driver exited the off camber downhill corner with a very loose back end, but was able to bring it back displaying masterful driving skills which arguably a couple of years earlier could have spelt disaster for him and his weekend.
Jenson Button had limited running in the session - due to an electrical issue - only completing 15 laps in comparison to Fernando Alonso in the sister McLaren who completed 28 laps. Alonso was 11th fastest with Jenson 12th means it is yet again a weekend filled with promise for the McLaren team provided they are to have a clean weekend.
Drivers were keen to test the limits of their V6 hybrids this morning, with a lot of yellow flags being shown in sector one due to gauging the braking point going into turn one combined with a lack of rubber down in the braking zone.
It wasn't just braking into turn one that proved a challenge either this morning with a lot of complaints over team radio concerning tyre temperatures especially in the fronts.
The next Free Practice session will take place at 14:00 local time and 12:00 GMT.
- Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 18.750s 49 laps
- Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso-Renault 1m 18.899s 42 laps
- Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-Renault 1m 19.086s 27 laps
- Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 19.134s 31 laps
- Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Renault 1m 19.245s 40 laps
- Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus-Mercedes 1m 19.454s 35 laps
- Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull-Renault 1m 19.520s 33 laps
- Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 19.679s 31 laps
- Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 19.762s 47 laps
- Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1m 19.766s 32 laps
- Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1m 19.791s 28 laps
- Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda 1m 20.202s 15 laps
- Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus-Mercedes 1m 20.274s 34 laps
- Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1m 20.619s 35 laps
- Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1m 20.784s 34 laps
- Felipe Nasr BRZ Sauber-Ferrari 1m 20.857s 24 laps
- Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m 20.917s 36 laps
- Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 1m 21.219s 25 laps
- Will Stevens GBR Manor Marussia-Ferrari 1m 23.234s 28 laps
- Roberto Merhi ESP Manor Marussia-Ferrari 1m 23.404s 31 laps