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Official Ticketing: Stay tuned for the 2025 Opening Sales       –       Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2024 : Relive this 81st edition

81st Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco
23 - 26 May 2024
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F1, FP1: Hamilton ahead, now a rarity!

The first free practice session of the 81st Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix saw seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton show that his Mercedes is definitely improving, while Max Verstappen had to make do with 11th place…

There are several good reasons for Formula 1 fans to keep a close eye on what’s going to happen until Sunday in the Principality, for the 8th round of the Formula 1 World Championship. The first is that Mercedes is improving, as demonstrated by Lewis Hamilton’s best time in the first free practice session early on Friday afternoon. In front of Sir Jackie Stewart, always happy to spend some time in the Principality at the end of May.

By switching to a set of soft tyres at the end of the session, Sir Lewis, a three-time winner of this Monaco GP and already on the podium seven times in 16 appearances, was able to complete his best lap in 1:12.169. Enough to finish at the very top of the timesheet, something he hadn’t done since the 2nd free practice session in Bahrain at the end of February, for the first round of the year. And seven months earlier in Hungary, during the 3rd free practice session.

As luck would have it, his young compatriot and team-mate George Russell completed the picture by taking 3rd place in this session, sandwiched between the two McLarens of Oscar Piastri (2nd, just 29 thousandths behind Hamilton) and Lando Norris, winner of the Miami GP last month. The session was interrupted for a few minutes by a red flag, just long enough for the ever-efficient ACM stewards to clear away the debris left by a touchdown by Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou (Kick Sauber).

The tifosi had everything to cheer about at the start of the session, when Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets on the giant screens in Monaco harbour, just ahead of Carlos Sainz. But the Ferraris finished the session less well, with the Monegasque in 5th place, just ahead of Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), and the Spaniard in 10th, ahead of Max Verstappen (Red Bull). The Dutch star has a good excuse: he never used soft tires, choosing to prepare the race on Sunday by working on the setup of the RB20 with medium and hard tyres.

The big question this Friday is whether Max Verstappen, who showed himself to be a little worried on Thursday in the press conference, was hiding his game in anticipation of Saturday, or whether he was just being honest and lucid about the level of performance of his Red Bull on this very specific track. We’ll know more at 6pm on Friday, at the end of the second free practice session scheduled for this afternoon…

First Practice Session Classification

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