Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Monaco on Thursday morning in a practice session that saw the top three separated by 0.072s and both Haas cars black flagged.
Formula 1 arrived in Monte Carlo with a heavy heart following the death of triple World Champion Niki Lauda.
Many of the cars carried tributes to the Austrian as they took to the street circuit on Thursday morning, the traditional start of the Monaco weekend.
Williams were first out and, for one brief moment, held the 1-2 only for championship leaders Mercedes to venture out for their first run of the day.
Valtteri Bottas hit the front with a 1:14.240. Hamilton was 0.052s down on his team-mate.
While the Mercedes drivers continued to lay down fastest laps there was drama further down the pit lane as Romain Grosjean’s Haas was black flagged.
Moments later, so too was Kevin Magnussen’s car.
It was initially thought the black flag could be related to the Rich Energy copy right case, however, Haas revealed it was because of telemetry and radio problems.
The team explained: “Telemetry and radio issue – we can’t communicate with drivers. FIA stepped in so we could get cars back to pits as pit boards weren’t doing the business.”
🏴Both Haas cars have been black flagged
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2019
It looked to be a bigger problem than just the cars as Haas’ entire network system failed. They eventually got the cars back on track for the final 15 minutes.
Back at the front Hamilton laid down a 1:12.932 to lead the way at the 40-minute mark by half a second over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen while Bottas was third.
Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, was stuck in the pits as McLaren worked on a suspected battery problem.
He came out late in the session to do a single lap, bringing his tally for FP1 to two laps.
Problemas eléctricos para Sainz en zona batería. Podría haber terminado los libres 1 ya con solo 1 vuelta.
Electric problems for Sainz related to battery. FP1 could be already done for him with only one lap. pic.twitter.com/m7qctcudAg
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) May 23, 2019
Ferrari were the first out after a brief break with Charles Leclerc moving up to second place, 0.05s down, while Sebastian Vettel went third, a further 0.06s off the pace.
That gap, though, quickly grew as Hamilton and Bottas regained the 1-2, a 1:12.106 for the reigning World Champion.
That ensured Hamilton finished first practice up in P1 while a late run for Verstappen claimed second place.
Max is taking the fight to Mercedes 💪
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2019
It wasn’t a perfect session for the Red Bull driver as not only did his RB15 fall off the jack in the pits, landing heavily, but he also got it wrong at Mirabeau and could not find reverse. The marshals were quickly on hand to push him back onto the track.
Bottas, 0.072s off the pace, was third fastest.
Leclerc and Vettel fought over fourth place with the Monaco driver winning that battle with a 1:12.467, 0.35s faster than Vettel’s best.
Nico Hulkenberg was sixth ahead of Pierre Gasly, Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen.
Grosjean completed the top ten.
There weren’t any major on-track incidents in FP1 with Robert Kubica the first man to kiss the barrier as he spun and tapped the wall while Lando Norris visited the Sainte Devote run-off area.
— ROKiT WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) May 23, 2019
Hamilton had a brief battle with Daniil Kvyat as he chased down the Toro Rosso before harassing him to get by. He did so when Kvyat got it wrong at Sainte Devote.
Leclerc was handed a 300 Euro fine for speeding in the pit lane.
Williams were not slowest of all, for the first time in a practice session for this season, as that went to Lance Stroll. However, the Racing Point driver spent his FP1 on the slowest hard tyres.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.106 45 laps
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.059s 33 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.072s 41 laps
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.361s 25 laps
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.717s 34 laps
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1.064s 39 laps
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.121s 43 laps
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.126s 23 laps
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.257s 37 laps
10 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.273s 21 laps
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.307s 40 laps
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.331s 37 laps
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.625s 38 laps
14 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1.721s 43 laps
15 Lando Norris McLaren 2.172s 38 laps
16 Sergio Perez Racing Point 2.460s 38 laps
17 George Russell Williams 3.009s 38 laps
18 Robert Kubica Williams 3.408s 24 laps
19 Lance Stroll Racing Point 4.029s 35 laps
20 Carlos Sainz McLaren 2 laps
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