Lewis Hamilton made a fast start to the Monaco GP weekend to pip championship leader Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in Practice One.
With the two former champions separated by just six points in the Drivers’ Championship heading into Formula 1’s showpiece event, Hamilton and Vettel proved the early front-runners around the famous Monte Carlo circuit with the Mercedes taking initial bragging rights.
Hamilton’s 1:13.425 was 0.196s faster than Vettel with F1 2017 cars already lapping at record pace around the twisty street track.
But, encouragingly for 2016 polesitters Red Bull, Max Verstappen was just 0.346s behind despite missing a third of the session after the floor was changed on his car.
“It bodes well for the weekend,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle. “The cars look a bit too good, they were sticking to the floor as if it were Practice Three.
“It looks incredibly close. The Mercedes may be a stretch limo wheelbase wise but it doesn’t look like it around here. And Red Bull are close as well.”
Valtteri Bottas set the early pace but slipped to fourth, nearly 0.4s adrift of his Mercedes team-mate, with Daniel Ricciardo fifth in the second Red Bull. Daniil Kvyat was an impressive sixth for Toro Rosso despite not using the ultrasofts.
However, flawless was not the word used to describe Renault’s engine reliability as an energy store issue restricted Nico Hulkenberg to just three laps. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was also sidelined by mechanical trouble.
Article by Sky Sports
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