FP1: Perez secures his first P1 with Red Bull

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez Monaco

Red Bull lived up to their favourites tag in Monaco with Sergio Perez P1 in Thursday’s first practice while Charles Leclerc’s Monaco curse struck again.

After missing out in 2020, Formula 1 was back on the streets of Monte Carlo on Thursday morning, laying down the laps for first practice.

George Russell, celebrating Williams’ 750th grand prix, was the first to clock a time, a 1:23.9.

Five minutes later he was down in 20th place, every single driver had a time on the board and Carlos Sainz was sitting at the top of the timesheet with a 1:16.2, up on Max Verstappen.

On the other side of the Ferrari garage, local lad Charles Leclerc – having waved to his mates standing on the balcony where he himself first watched a F1 race – reported a problem.

“What is happening with the engine. I think the fourth gear is broken,” he told Ferrari. His session over with a gearbox failure.

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Sainz continued to fly the flag for Ferrari, lowering the benchmark time to a 1:14 and then a 1:13.4 as he ran the medium tyres with Lewis Hamilton closing the gap to 0.016s.

25 minutes in and the Virtual Safety Car was in play after Fernando Alonso hit the wall at the final corner, damaging his Alpine’s front wing. He bounced off and returned to the pits.

Verstappen hit the front, Valtteri Bottas took over, Hamilton broke into the 1:12s and Sainz shaved 0.03s off the Mercedes driver’s time.

A soft tyre run saw Pierre Gasly slide up into P1 before Red Bull took the 1-2, Sergio Perez on the softs a tenth up on Verstappen on the mediums.

The session ended with Perez P1 with a 1:12.487, Sainz was second, 0.119s down, with Verstappen third.

Gasly, Hamilton and Bottas were next in line.

Lando Norris was seventh ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Yuki Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen.


1 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:12.487 34 laps soft tyres
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.119s 30 laps medium tyres
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.161s 37 laps medium tyres
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.442s 36 laps soft tyres
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.508s 32 laps medium tyres
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.644s 35 laps medium tyres
7 Lando Norris McLaren 0.749s 30 laps medium tyres
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.245s 31 laps medium tyres
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.259s 37 laps soft tyres
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.594s 29 laps medium tyres
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.603s 32 laps medium tyres
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.619s 27 laps medium tyres
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.718s 36 laps medium tyres
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.781s 39 laps soft tyres
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.794s 34 laps
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.833s 38 laps medium tyres
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas 2.129s 31 laps soft tyres
18 Mick Schumacher Haas 2.314s 33 laps soft tyres
19 George Russell Williams 2.353s 35 laps hard tyres
20 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 7.131s 4 laps medium tyres

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