Monaco, FP1: Pérez quickest in opening practice session

Sainz 2nd, Verstappen 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

20 May 2021 - 12:40
Monaco, FP1: Pérez quickest in (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen. There was misfortune, though, for home favourite Charles Leclerc who was sidelined by a technical issue for the bulk of the session.

The opening minutes of the hour saw Sainz quickly get into the groove as he traded P1 times with championship leader Lewis Hamilton. The Spaniard should have been joined in that exchange by team-mate Leclerc but after 10 minutes the Monegasque driver headed back to the pits with a gerarbox issue. He would take no further part in the session.

Back on track, Sainz was steadily chipping away at his times and eventually the Ferrari driver worked his way down to a lap of 1:13.388 on this weekend’s C4 medium compound tyre.

Hamilton and Mercedes’ team-mate Bottas edged close to the Spaniard’s time with Hamilton taking P2 behind the Ferrari man. Verstappen then appeared to split the Mercedes as the half hour mark approached.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso then had a close call as he clipped the barriers in the final corner, damaging his front wing and bringing out the yellow flags.

Verstappen then jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of 1:13.191, set on the C3 hard tyre.

His tenure was brief, however. Both Mercedes drivers edged past the Dutchman’s benchmark with Hamilton taking P1 thanks to a lap of 1:12.995.

Sainz then retook first place by three hundredths of a second before AlpahTauri’s Pierre Gasy’s bolted on soft tyres to take P1 with a lap of 1:12.929.

With 15 minutes to go Verstappen moved to the top on 1:12.648s using medium tyres and team-mate Perez got into the mix with a P2 time of 1:12.817 set on soft tyres.

In the final moments Pérez jumped ahead of his teammate with a session-best time of 1m12.487. Sainz shuffled Verstappen to third with a medium-tyre lap of 1:12.606.

Gasly took fourth for AlphaTauri, just under half a second off Pérez, while Hamilton finished fifth ahead of Bottas. Lando Norris, who yesterday signed a new long-term contract with McLaren, finished seventh ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. Yuki Tsunoda finished ninth in the second AlphaTauri ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen.

01 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:12.487 36
02 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:12.606 32
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:12.648 39
04 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:12.929 37
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:12.995 34
06 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:13.131 36
07 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:13.236 31
08 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:13.732 33
09 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:13.746 39
10 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:14.081 31
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:14.090 33
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:14.106 27
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:14.205 37
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:14.268 41
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:14.281 36
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:14.320 37
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:14.616 33
18 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:14.801 35
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:14.840 35
20 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:19.618 4

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