Monaco GP: Hamilton tops incident-filled first practice

World champion Lewis Hamilton topped an incident-filled first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday.

Monaco GP: Hamilton tops incident-filled first practice
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 in the pits
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director speaks with members of the media
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
Rio Haryanto, Manor Racing MRT05
Monaco ambiance
Monaco ambiance
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Ferrari SF16-H detail
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1

The Briton used the new ultrasoft tyres to set a best time of 1:15.537, outpacing teammate Nico Rosberg by 0.101 seconds and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by over four tenths.

Mercedes was the only team to run exclusively with the ultrasofts during the 90 minutes.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth in the quickest Red Bull, ahead of Spanish GP winner Max Verstappen.

Daniil Kvyat was sixth in the fastest Toro Rosso, with Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez in seventh and eighth respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen was down in ninth in the second Ferrari, as Carlos Sainz completed the top 10.

Story of the session

The Mercedes duo were the first to complete a timed lap before the 10-minute mark, both using the ultrasoft tyres, with Rosberg leading Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second.

But a series of quick laps by Hamilton saw the Briton improve his laptime rapidly as he got used to the new compound, his best dropping to a 1:16.588 15 minutes into the session and putting him nearly two seconds clear of Rosberg at that point.

A Virtual Safety Car period was triggered by Felipe Massa with some 25 minutes gone when the Brazilian lost the rear end of his Williams and crashed against the barriers at St Devote.

The car was quickly removed by the marshals, but Massa was unable to return to the track and managed just 10 laps.

Ricciardo, using the upgraded Renault engine, began to show Red Bull's pace after that, the Australian jumping up to second, just 0.176s behind Hamilton.

Hamilton opened the gap before the halfway point, but Rosberg fought back and went quickest moments later, again using the ultrasoft tyres, the only compound used by Mercedes until that point.

The world champion, however, set a new benchmark around the 45-minute mark - a 1:15.537 - before running wide at St Devote. Hamilton, however, was able to avoid contact and rejoin the action.

A second Virtual Safety Car period was triggered by Esteban Gutierrez with less than 30 minutes go to, the Mexican's Haas car stopping before Portier after reporting problems with the engine, the team later specifying the stoppage was caused by electrical issues.

After the track was cleared, it took just a few seconds for the VSC to appear again as Renault's Jolyon Palmer crashed against the barriers at the exit of Tabac, his car suffering significant damage.

Another yellow-flag period was caused by Felipe Nasr, who went off at St Devote with 14 minutes left, the Brazilian having to turn his car around to rejoin the track.

The same incident was repeated by Kvyat moments later, again without consequences.

Another Virtual Safety Car period was caused by Rosberg with six minutes left on the clock, the German appearing to run over a manhole cover at St Devote.

Although he managed to keep going, he suffered a puncture to his rear left tyre and had to crawl back to the pits.

Jenson Button hit debris sent flying by Rosberg's car, destroying the McLaren's his front wing, his front right tyre also suffering a puncture.

Replays showed later than Button had actually hit a metallic manhole cover that had been lifted by Rosberg.

The session was red-flagged as a result of the incidents with just two minutes to go, and was not restarted.

Practice times:

PosDriverTeamTimeGapLaps
1 United KingdomLewis Hamilton  GermanyMercedes 1:15.537   31
2 GermanyNico Rosberg  GermanyMercedes 1:15.638 +0.101 39
3 GermanySebastian Vettel  ItalyFerrari 1:15.956 +0.419 26
4 AustraliaDaniel Ricciardo  AustriaRed Bull Racing 1:16.308 +0.771 29
5 NetherlandsMax Verstappen  AustriaRed Bull Racing 1:16.371 +0.834 30
6 RussiaDaniil Kvyat  ItalyToro Rosso 1:16.426 +0.889 37
7 GermanyNico Hulkenberg  IndiaForce India 1:16.560 +1.023 34
8 MexicoSergio Perez  IndiaForce India 1:16.697 +1.160 28
9 FinlandKimi Raikkonen  ItalyFerrari 1:16.912 +1.375 24
10 SpainCarlos Sainz Jr.  ItalyToro Rosso 1:17.130 +1.593 39
11 FinlandValtteri Bottas  United KingdomWilliams 1:17.562 +2.025 44
12 FranceRomain Grosjean  United StatesHaas F1 Team 1:17.599 +2.062 33
13 SpainFernando Alonso  United KingdomMcLaren 1:17.838 +2.301 27
14 MexicoEsteban Gutierrez  United StatesHaas F1 Team 1:17.909 +2.372 25
15 United KingdomJenson Button  United KingdomMcLaren 1:17.920 +2.383 26
16 BrazilFelipe Nasr  SwitzerlandSauber 1:18.187 +2.650 29
17 DenmarkKevin Magnussen  FranceRenault F1 Team 1:18.274 +2.737 34
18 SwedenMarcus Ericsson  SwitzerlandSauber 1:18.301 +2.764 33
19 BrazilFelipe Massa  United KingdomWilliams 1:18.746 +3.209 10
20 United KingdomJolyon Palmer  FranceRenault F1 Team 1:18.871 +3.334 22
21 IndonesiaRio Haryanto  United KingdomManor Racing 1:20.528 +4.991 28
22 GermanyPascal Wehrlein  United KingdomManor Racing 1:20.868 +5.331 25

 

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