Lewis Hamilton topped the leaderboard in Friday’s opening practice at Monte Carlo following a rainy night in the principality. He was followed by youngster Max Verstappen, just 0.149s behind, on his debut.
Two-time winner Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes clipped the barriers during the early stages and ended up being a second slower than his team-mate Hamilton.
Following the overnight rain, the track was still damp at the start, but it dried out during the session. It was all about maintaining tyre and brake temperatures and making use of the right runs at the right time.
Quick times emerged at the end, with Toro Rosso’s 17-year-old jumping up to second, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo third fastest. Then followed Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, and Pastor Maldonado.
Driver incidents this time included the previously mentioned Rosberg on the Tabac corner, while Nasr, Bottas - on two occasions, Ricciardo, Alonso, Steves and Verstappen all used Ste Devote’s escape road. Ferrari’s Vettel also saved his car in Casino Square.
The top ten in the first practice:
1. Lewis Hamilton — 1:18.750
2. Max Verstappen — +0.149s
3. Daniel Ricciardo — +0.336s
4. Sebastian Vettel — +0.384s
5. Carlos Sainz — +0.495s
6. Pastor Maldonado — +0.704s
7. Daniil Kvyat — +0.770s
8. Kimi Raikkonen — +0.929s
9. Nico Rosberg — +1.012s
10. Felipe Massa — +1.016s