Monaco, FP1: Home favourite Leclerc tops opening practice

Perez 2nd, Sainz 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

27 May 2022 - 15:09
Monaco, FP1: Home favourite Leclerc (...)

Local hero Charles Leclerc beat Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez and Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz to claim top spot in the opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 2022 Monaco Grand Prix.

Leclerc restricted himself to Pirelli’s C4 medium compound tyres for the whole one-hour session to eventually post a best time of 1:14.531 that saw him finish three hundredths of a second ahead of Pérez, whose best time came late in the session. Sainz was just 0.070
behind his team-mate, while championship leader Max Verstappen finished fourth as he focused on the C3 hard compound .

Verstappen’s early laps were marked by complaints that his DRS wasn’t working, a similar problem to that which hampered him a few days ago in Barcelona but after a flurry of fastest laps from the McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, and Leclerc who posted a time of 1:17.993, Verstappen jumped to P1 with a lap of 1:16.582.

It was a less easy ride around the Principality for Mercedes, however, with both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell suffering porpoising on the bumpy streets of Monaco. Verstappen lowered his own benchmark to 1:15.933 before Leclerc, on mediums, ousted him with a lap of 1:15.714. As Verstappen worked through his run he found more pace and he soon bounced Leclerc out of top spot with a lap of 1:15.327. The session was then halted by a brief red flag period as Mick Schumacher was forced to stop at the pit exit with a suspected gearbox issue.

The action resumed after a four-minute delay and when running began again it was McLaren who vaulted to the top as Norris, on medium tyres, set a lap of 1:15.056 to head team-mate Ricciardo by two tenths of a second. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly then split the McLaren’s before Russell stole third from Ricciardo.

However, in the final quarter of an hour, Verstappen eclipsed them all with a lap of 1:14.7132 as he bolted on medium tyres. Leclerc moved second, 0.003s off Verstappen, but then found more pace to take P1. Pérez was then able to improve to within four hundredths, as Sainz ended FP1 with a best lap of 1:14.601.

Behind the top four, Norris held on to fifth place, 0.525 behind Leclerc, with Gasly sixth ahead of Ricciardo and Russell. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel finished in ninth place, eight tenths down on the lead Ferrari, and the top -10 order was completed by Lewis Hamilton who finished 0.968 off top spot.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:14.531 29
02 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:14.570 30
03 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:14.601 28
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:14.712 26
05 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:15.056 31
06 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:15.083 33
07 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:15.157 33
08 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:15.211 34
09 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:15.387 33
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:15.499 29
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:15.536 36
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:15.539 26
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:15.749 28
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:15.806 30
15 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:16.110 39
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:16.315 24
17 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:16.417 27
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:17.714 30
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:18.636 12
20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 -:—.--- 2

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