By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 23/05/19 11:43am
Lewis Hamilton laid down his marker at the Monaco GP by topping the Practice One timesheets, with Max Verstappen only just behind for Red Bull.
Hamilton, a two-time winner around F1’s most iconic street circuit, set the pace with a 1:12.106 but Verstappen, who has insisted that Mercedes are the Monte Carlo favourites, finished the opening session just 0.059s behind.
Valtteri Bottas rounded off a closely-matched top three, also within a tenth of a second of his Mercedes team-mate.
Ferrari, however, still have work to do in the Principality.
When’s the Monaco GP on Sky?
When and how to watch F1’s most famous races on Sky Sports F1 this weekend – plus the Indianapolis 500 too!
Home favourite Charles Leclerc was three tenths off the pace in fourth, while Sebastian Vettel was 0.7s adrift for a team who have been struggling with their chassis, particularly in slow corners – which there are many of in Monaco.
Pierre Gasly will also be disappointed with his start to the weekend given his Red Bull team-mate’s pace. The Frenchman was a second slower than Hamilton and Verstappen in sixth.
“It does look like Max is the only one who can be the cat among those Mercedes pigeons,” said Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok.
There was a rare double black flag in first practice after Haas suffered with telemetry issues – the team were forced to call both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean back to the pits early on in the session.
That certainly set their drivers back, but they still managed to finish in the top-10 with Kevin Magnussen eighth, just behind Nico Hulkenberg who finished ‘best of the rest’ for Renault.
Daniel Ricciardo, last year’s Monaco winner, was 11th in the sister yellow car.
McLaren ran into problems with Lando Norris, who finished 15th, one of many drivers to run wide into the narrow run-off areas, while Carlos Sainz only got out on track with 10 minutes remaining and propped up the timesheets.
Racing Point also disappointed, with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll 16th and 19th – the latter four seconds off the pace and behind both Williams drivers.
Sky Sports F1 is the home of live and exclusive F1 – and new and existing customers in the UK can now get the channel for just £10 extra a month. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live