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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton tops first free practice session at Monaco

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton delivered a boost for Mercedes by clocking the fastest time in first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Mercedes have been on the backfoot so far this season, but the seven-time world champion ended the opening session in the principality at the top of the order.

Hamilton saw off McLaren's Oscar Piastri with George Russell third in the other Mercedes.

Lando Norris finished fourth in his McLaren, but Max Verstappen, who did not post a lap on the speediest soft rubber, was only 11th, eight tenths adrift.

Mercedes, the team which once ruled Formula One, have endured a year to forget, but the early signs on the sport's most famous streets will provide them with encouragement.

Hamilton, a three-time winner here, lapped the low-speed track 0.029 seconds clear of Piastri with Russell a tenth off his team-mate's pace.

Norris, who chased Verstappen all the way to the chequered flag in Imola last weekend, ended the session 0.228 secs behind. Charles Leclerc finished fifth for Ferrari.

The running had earlier been suspended for five minutes after Zhou Guanyu clipped the barrier on the exit of Sainte Devote.

Bits of Zhou's front wing fell on to the circuit with Leclerc running over the debris in his Ferrari.

Verstappen suggested the Monte Carlo layout would not suit his machinery, and the Dutchman, just as in practice in Imola last weekend — has struggled to get up to speed.

"The car is so loose on the bumps," he reported.

"Any interaction with engine braking or brake bias is just making it all worse."

Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez, who finished one place back in 12th, also picked up a puncture in the closing stages.

The second practice session, with rain forecast, gets under way at 17h00 local time (16h00 BST).


2024 F1 Monaco Grand Prix - FP1 Results:

1 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m12.169s
2 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m12.198s
3 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 1m12.295s
4 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m12.396s
5 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m12.397s
6 Fernando Alonso ESP Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team 1m12.775s
7 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team 1m12.789s
8 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Visa Cash App RB F1 Team 1m12.875s
9 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Visa Cash App RB F1 Team 1m12.901s
10 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m12.954s
11 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m12.984s
12 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m13.229s
13 Valtteri Bottas FIN Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber 1m13.248s
14 Kevin Magnussen DEN MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m13.390s
15 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing 1m13.425s
16 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team 1m13.576s
17 Logan Sargeant USA Williams Racing 1m14.150s
18 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m14.159s
19 Zhou Guanyu CHN Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber 1m14.570s
20 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m15.574s

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