Monaco Grand Prix – Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso were the only two in the 1:13s as a late crash for Alex Albon saw the practice session end early.
Sergio Perez led the field out of the pits as the first track action since Miami got underway beneath beautiful blue skies of the French Riviera. The Mexican’s 1:28.429 on the hards was the first on the board. All cars were on the hard compound to start with apart from the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, as well as Lando Norris in his special black, white and orange “triple crown” liveried McLaren, and those three did spend most time at the top of the timesheets as a result.
Sainz had a brief brush against the barriers at the swimming pool in the first ten minutes but there didn’t seem to be any damage and he went to the top of the times afterwards with a 1:15.198, seven tenths ahead of Leclerc while Lewis Hamilton, in his upgraded Mercedes that now has sidepods, in P3.
There were another few wall taps in the opening half hour, Norris hitting the same spot as Sainz while Lance Stroll brushed the final corner with his rear. There were quite a few drivers unhappy with set up issues on their cars but it was Logan Sargeant whose car was seen slowly limping back to the pits after reporting a weird sound and no drive.
At the halfway point Hamilton was at the top of the times with a 1:14.035 on the mediums, a few tenths ahead of Sainz and Norris. The session was Red Flagged with just over 22 minutes on the clock for debris left after Nico Hulkenberg had tagged the barrier at the chicane which punctured his rear tyre and spun him. He was able to make his way back to the Haas garage on three wheels and the session got back underway three minutes after it was initially suspended.
Hamilton’s earlier time was still at the top of the leaderboard but Fernando Alonso had taken P2 from Sainz and was only 0.064 seconds off the Mercedes’ effort. With fifteen minutes to go however the Aston Martin moved into the lead getting into the 1:13s with a 1:13.907.
It was a Spanish 1-2 for the rest of the session after Sainz pipped Alonso with a 1:13.690 and the two continued to bring the times down until Alex Albon crashed at Sainte Devote which brought the Red Flags out again and with only a handful of minutes left in the session, it wouldn’t be resumed.
Sainz’ 1:13.372 saw him end over three tenths ahead of Alonso while Hamilton’s earlier chart-topping time was good enough for P3. Last year’s Monaco victor, Perez, was the quickest of the Red Bulls in P4, 0.666 seconds off Sainz and only three thousands behind Hamilton.
Leclerc ended in P5 ahead of the reigning champion, Verstappen, while Norris was in P7 just over a second off the best time of the session. Esteban Ocon’s 1:14.585 saw him into P8 ahead of Stroll while Albon rounded out the top ten with a 1:14.666.