Monaco Practice 1: Hamilton from Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton on top in FP1

Lewis Hamilton on top in FP1

Formula 1 World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton set the pace in First Practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg close behind.

The Briton, who will be chasing his fifth win in a row on Sunday, lapped the Mediterranean street circuit with a best time of 1:18.271 seconds on an overcast morning in the principality.

Rosberg, winner from pole position last year, was a mere 0.032 slower with Australian Daniel Ricciardo the best of the rest for champions Red Bull in third place and 0.235 off Hamilton’s pace.

Hamilton leads Rosberg by three points in the standings after four successive one-two finishes. Mercedes have won every race and started them all from pole.

Daniel Ricciardo was best of the rest

Daniel Ricciardo was best of the rest

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, a past winner in Monaco with Renault and McLaren, locked up at Mirabeau at the end of the session but was fourth on the timesheets with Red Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel fifth.

The only casualty of the morning was Sauber driver Adrian Sutil, who made contact with the barriers at Mirabeau. Marussia’s Max Chilton also stopped on the track.

The session was closely watched for signs of how the new cars, with their heavier V6 turbo hybrid power units, would handle the layout with more torque and less downforce.

Some drivers have warned that Monaco could be the toughest test of the season, with the cars slipping and sliding more around the tight corners on a track where any mistake can be costly.

Fernando Alonso fourth fastest

Fernando Alonso fourth fastest

Rivals Red Bull and Ferrari have also sensed an opportunity, with the performance advantage of the Mercedes engine less of a factor for once.

“Mercedes have been quite strong here over the last couple of years but it’s an opportunity,” Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said before the session started. “We’ve got a bit of funny weather this weekend and we’ll do everything we can.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

Monaco Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Thursday, 22 May 2014
Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.271 32
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:18.303 0.032 31
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:18.506 0.235 37
4 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:18.930 0.659 31
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:19.043 0.772 33
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:19.467 1.196 31
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:19.494 1.223 31
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:19.666 1.395 29
9 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.789 1.518 29
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:19.856 1.585 38
11 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.033 1.762 35
12 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.118 1.847 33
13 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:20.207 1.936 33
14 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:20.241 1.970 38
15 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:20.260 1.989 36
16 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:20.517 2.246 25
17 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.736 2.465 18
18 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:20.914 2.643 37
19 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:21.310 3.039 27
20 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:22.063 3.792 40
21 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:22.492 4.221 38
22 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:25.817 7.546 7