Monaco GP: Perez leads Sainz, Verstappen in FP1

Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez led the way in Formula 1's first practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix, holding off Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and teammate Max Verstappen.

Monaco GP: Perez leads Sainz, Verstappen in FP1
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Williams' George Russell was the first car out on the sunny streets of the principality, which traditionally open on Thursday for F1 practice.

Sainz was first to set a reasonable laptime of 1m16.241s mediums in the Ferrari.

World champion Lewis Hamilton quickly bested Sainz's time in the Mercedes with a 1m15.858s, before Sainz struck back with a 1m14.457s aboard the SF-21.

Sainz's Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc disappeared into the garage after just 10 minutes with a gearbox issue, preventing the Monegasque driver from enjoying a return to his home track.

Sainz further lowered his personal best to a 1m13.639s and then 1m13.388s on Pirelli's yellow-banded medium tyres, leading at the 15-minute mark from Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Verstappen.

Mercedes kept chipping away at Sainz's benchmark, Bottas taking second with a time of 1m13.732s before Hamilton approached P1 by 0.016s.

Red Bull driver Verstappen also got involved, splitting the Mercedes cars just before the halfway mark.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso was the first driver to cause a yellow flag, damaging his front wing by understeering into the barriers at the final turn. The two-time world champion was soon able to continue after a front wing change.

After a short virtual safety car period, Verstappen vaulted to the top of the leaderboard with a 1m13.191s on the hard tyre.

Mercedes's response was forthcoming, with both Bottas and Hamilton immediately going quicker. Hamilton reclaimed top spot with a 1m12.995s on mediums, the first driver to dip below the 1m13 mark.

Hamilton's time in front was short-lived, with Sainz quickly reclaiming P1 with a time of 1m12.965s before an impressive Pierre Gasly jumped from fourth to first with a 1m12.929s in the AlphaTauri, the Frenchman using softs.

Sainz was the second driver to brush the barriers diving out of the swimming pool chicane, but he appeared to escape damage.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Verstappen took first place with a 1m12.648s on the medium tyres, with soft-shod teammate Perez following the Dutchman into second with a 1m12.817s.

In the final stages, Perez ultimately leapfrogged his teammate, going top with a 1m12.536s and then 1m12.487s, albeit on softs. Sainz also jumped Verstappen to go second with an eye-catching time of 1m12.606s on mediums.

Verstappen, who was battling Sainz to find clear air for a final flyer, settled for third, followed by Gasly, Hamilton and Bottas.

Behind the frontrunners, Lando Norris held seventh in his McLaren, which carries the iconic Gulf Oil livery this weekend, seven tenths behind Perez. Sebastian Vettel was an encouraging eighth for Aston Martin.

Yuki Tsunoda was ninth fastest on his first ever outing on the streets of Monaco, followed by Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen and Aston's Lance Stroll.

Antonio Giovinazzi was 12th ahead of Alonso, who added a Sainte Devote excursion to his wall tap in a rough first session.

Williams' Nicholas Latifi followed in 14th ahead of low-key Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.

Haas rookies Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher ranked 17th and 18th respectively, only ahead of Russell and garage-bound Leclerc.

 
Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 36 1'12.487  
2 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 32 1'12.606 0.119
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 39 1'12.648 0.161
4 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 37 1'12.929 0.442
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 34 1'12.995 0.508
6 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 36 1'13.131 0.644
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 31 1'13.236 0.749
8 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 33 1'13.732 1.245
9 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 39 1'13.746 1.259
10 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 31 1'14.081 1.594
11 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 33 1'14.090 1.603
12 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 27 1'14.106 1.619
13 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 37 1'14.205 1.718
14 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 41 1'14.268 1.781
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 36 1'14.281 1.794
16 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 37 1'14.320 1.833
17 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 33 1'14.616 2.129
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 35 1'14.801 2.314
19 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 35 1'14.840 2.353
20 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 4 1'19.618 7.131
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