Lewis Hamilton tops first Monaco GP practice, Verstappen second

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Monaco
Max Verstappen steals show in Monaco first practice
Monaco Grand Prix
Venue: Circuit de Monaco-Monte Carlo Dates: 21-24 May
Live text and radio commentary via the BBC Sport website and app, plus qualifying and race highlights on BBC One. Full coverage details here.

Lewis Hamilton set the pace with an impressive showing in first practice at the Monaco Grand Prix.

He was 0.149 seconds quicker than Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen, a stand-out performer on his first experience of the demanding street track.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was third ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.

Lotus's Pastor Maldonado was sixth, ahead of Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Formula 1 drivers have their say on how to improve the show

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Williams's Felipe Massa completed the top 10, just ahead of the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, with the Spaniard's team-mate Jenson Button ending a troubled session on a high in 12th.

It was an eventful session on a slippery track which saw several drivers have incidents, without incurring any damage to the cars, as they explored the limits of grip on a cool morning on which all struggled to generate the required operating temperature from the tyres.

Vettel had a lurid moment at Casino Square, winding on an armful of opposite lock and just keeping the Ferrari out of the barriers on the exit.

Meanwhile, Alonso, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Maldonado, Felipe Nasr and Will Stevens all ran wide into the escape road at the first corner, Sainte Devote.

The session started on a track that was still slightly damp after overnight rain, but Hamilton was on 'full attack' mode as soon as he hit the track.

The world champion was four seconds quicker than anyone else for the first 20 minutes, before the other drivers began to reduce the gap as they became accustomed to the track.

Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg had a troubled start to the session, including a brush with the barriers at Tabac.

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton arrived at the circuit this morning by power boat

The German got to within a tenth of a second of Hamilton midway through the session before Hamilton extended his advantage again. Rosberg ended up a second adrift of his team-mate in ninth place, one behind Ferrari's Raikkonen.

The list of times is not a true representation of form as teams and drivers will have been running their cars in different specifications at various points during the session.

Mercedes, for example, were doing race-simulation work on high fuel when the Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers set their fastest laps at the end of the session, when the track had most grip.

Button did not get out for the first 45 minutes because of what McLaren claimed was a "systems check" and then suffered some engine problems.

But the team got the car running properly by the end of the session, and Button ended up 0.411secs off the pace of Alonso, who had a trouble-free run.

Andrew Benson on Monaco
Monaco: a wonderful anachronism of a race, in which 900bhp Grand Prix cars are wrestled around narrow hillside streets barely wide enough to cycle on.
F1 has its problems at the moment but, however jaded you are, there is nothing quite like the barely controlled violence, the sense of impossibility suspended, of the very best drivers at work there.
In the Pirelli era, the race itself has become a bit of a joke - cars trundling around nose to tail, seconds a lap under the limit, to ensure the super-soft tyres can last long enough to do the ideal one-stop race.
But as an event, still nothing quite matches Monaco.

Monaco practice results

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