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
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:18.27132
26Nico RosbergMercedes1:18.3030.03231
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:18.5060.23537
414Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:18.9300.65931
51Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:19.0430.77233
67Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:19.4671.19631
777Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:19.4941.22331
811Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:19.6661.39529
920Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:19.7891.51829
1027Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:19.8561.58538
1122Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:20.0331.76235
1221Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:20.1181.84733
138Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:20.2071.93633
1413Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:20.2411.97038
1525Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:20.2601.98936
1619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:20.5172.24625
1799Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:20.7362.46518
1826Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:20.9142.64337
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:21.3103.03927
209Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:22.0633.79240
2110Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:22.4924.22138
224Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:25.8177.5467