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Monaco GP 2019

MAY 23, 2019

Practice 1 Report - Resident fight

Spanish GP 2019
© Cahier Archive
By Dan Knutson in Monaco

Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, both Monaco residents, fought for the top spot in Free Practice 1 for the Monaco Grand Prix. They swapped fastest laps back and forth. Then, late in the session, another Monaco resident – Max Verstappen got into the fight with his Red Bull. In the end, Hamilton wound up first ahead of Verstappen and Bottas.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Hamilton and Bottas; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc; Red Bull TAG Heuer – Verstappen and Pierre Gasly; Renault – Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault – Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris; Racing Point Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Toro Rosso Honda – Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon; Williams Mercedes – George Russell and Robert Kubica.

“I'm looking forward to Monaco,” Verstappen said. “It's a very special and hectic weekend, and for sure it’s a lot of fun. It’s a street circuit with a lot of history and it’s not been the best one for me over the last few years, but hopefullyit’s time to turn this around. I live in Monaco so it’s nice to sleep in my own apartment instead of a hotel, and a few of my friends and family will be there so I’m looking forward to seeing them and having a good weekend.”

First out in FP1 on the 19-turn 2.073-mile (3.337 km) street circuit were the McLaren drivers and Giovinazzi.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Centigrade).

Pirelli’s tire compounds for the weekend were the three softest C3, C4 and C5.

Only the Williams duo clocked times in the early going, with Russell on top at 1:21.736. But soon thereafter Bottas turned a 1:15.489 followed by a 1:14.240. Hamilton was a mere 0.052 of a second slower.

Eleven minutes in to FP1, Leclerc was third and 0.357 of a second off Bottas. Two minutes later Hamilton got down to a 1:13.636 while Vettel slid off at Turn 1.

The Mercs were flying as Bottas turned a 1:13.706. Leclerc, third, was nearly a second slower.

Both Haas drivers were black flagged 18 minutes into the session!

Telemetry and radio issue - we can’t communicate with drivers. FIA stepped in so we could get cars back to pits as pit board’s weren’t doing the business, the team reported.

Hamilton trimmed his best down to 1:13.624. Then Leclerc improved to 1:13.780.

Ricciardo got up to fourth place by turning a 1:14.552. But he soon got shoved back to seventh by Verstappen, Albon and Hulkenberg.

Just before the half-hour mark Hamilton slammed in a 1:12.932. Then Verstappen jumped up to second, 0.575 slower than Lewis.

Sainz, meanwhile, had only done one lap, and the mechanics were working on his McLaren.

Just before the 40-minute break, the order was: Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Kvyat, Leclerc, Gasly, Albon, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Perez. Vettel was 14th.

Then the Ferrari drivers went out on new tires. Leclerc did a 1:13.014 to claim second, while Vettel’s got up to fourth. Also on new rubber, Bottas was the new leader after turning a 1:12.818.

Vettel then improved to grab the runner up spot.

Just past the midpoint of FP1 Hamilton lowered his best to 1:12.422 and then a 1:12.106. Bottas responded at 1:12.248 followed by a 1:12.178.

So now, with 40 minutes remaining, the order was: Hamilton, Bottas, Leclerc, Vettel, Verstappen, Kvyat, Gasly, Albon, Giovinazzi and Hulkenberg.

So far the drivers had kept off the barriers, but then Russell scraped a wall. The car wasn’t damaged to he continued to lap the track. Next his teammate Kubica spun going down the hill from Casino and lightly tapped the barriers with the nose of the Williams.

With 22 minutes to go, Verstappen clocked a 1:12.165 to take second place.

With about two seconds left in the session Sainz, his battery problem fixed, got out onto the track.

After the fight was over, the top ten were: Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Leclerc, Vettel, Gasly, Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Raikkonen and Grosjean.