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Monaco GP 2016

MAY 26, 2016

Practice 1 Report - Purple Speed

Lewis Hamilton, Monaco GP 2016
© The Cahier Archive


By Dan Knutson in Monaco

This was the first time the new Pirelli ultra soft compound slicks with the purple sidewalls had been used on a race weekend. And the drivers didn't waste any time trying them out. Fastest on the purples were Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 23 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Centigrade.)

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen . Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.

All of them really enjoy the Monaco track including Rosberg who has won the race for the past three years.

"It's my home race," he said. "I sleep in my apartment, get out the front door...I've lived here all my life, so it's a very special place. Also, if there's one race to win then it's Monaco and the combination of all that makes it the most special race."

Gutierrez and Magnussen were the first drivers out on the tricky 2.075-mile (3.340-km) 19-turn track.

Rosberg set the first time - a 1:23.758 - using Pirelli's ultra soft tires with the purple sidewalls. He then lowered that to a 1:21.712. Hamilton beat that with a 1:20.240, and Rosberg responded with a 1:20.141. Hamilton shot back with a 1:18.302. Rosberg's next lap was a 1:19.192.

On a roll, Hamilton turned a 1:17.381 twelve minutes into the session. He followed that up with a 1:16.588.

As in Spain, Mercedes was going against the grain and running early in the session while the rest of the teams stayed in the pits.

The first crash of the weekend came when Massa hit the barriers at Turn 1 and banged up the left side of his Williams.

The session was nearly 30 minutes old when Ricciardo clocked the second fastest time - 1:16.764 - in his Red Bull. His new teammate Verstappen moved into third place with a 1:17.129.

At the 40 minute mark, when the teams have to turn in one set of tires for each driver, the order was: Hamilton, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Bottas, Kvyat and Raikkonen.

Hamilton then lowered his time to a 1:16.097, and Rosberg beat that with a 1:15.835. Back came Hamilton with a 1:15.537. Rosberg then got in a lap 0.101 of a second slower than his teammate.

All of this was on the purple tires of course.

Hamilton's pole winning lap time in 2015 was a 1:15.098.

With 39 minutes remaining, Hamilton had a big lockup and slid off on the escape road at Turn 1.

Verstappen now put in a flier and clocked a 1:16.371. But Vettel would take over third place with a time of 1:15.956.

Gutierrez stopped on track at Turn 8 with just under 30 minutes to go and radioed that something had gone wrong with the engine.

Now it was Ricciardo's turn for some purple speed as he moved into fourth with a 1:16.308. and it was Palmer's turn to crash as he slid along the barriers at the swimming pool.

The session wound down with drivers running on the ultra soft (purple), super soft (red) and soft (yellow) compound tires.

Rosberg had a puncture on the purples (left rear) and drove slowly back to the pits in the final five minutes. Then Button got a flat tire. A loose drain cover had caused part of Button's front wing to shatter and spray debris on the track, and so the session was red flagged with four minutes to go.

The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Perez, Raikkonen and Sainz.