Charles Leclerc went fastest for Ferrari in FP1 at Monaco, with him looking to have a memorable weekend at his home race for the right reasons this year.
The Monegasque driver is yet to finish a home race that he has competed in and that rather highlights just what rotten luck he has had in the Principality.
Indeed, he saw himself take pole last year only to retire before the race started thanks to damage caused by an accident in qualifying and, after retiring from the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend from the lead, a change in fortune could not come at a better time here.
He’s certainly started on the right foot this weekend at least, then, with him going fastest in FP1 around the streets of Monte-Carlo, with the drivers looking to get to grips with the circuit in their new-era cars, which are the biggest the track has seen.
Behind Leclerc, Sergio Perez took second place as he looks for another strong result whilst Carlos Sainz was third fastest, with him complaining about a ‘bad ride’ in the other Ferrari.
Indeed, the stiff nature of these cars has certainly caused a few bumpy rides along the way and, on this undulating street circuit it’s easy to see just how much the cars are bouncing about.
Lewis Hamilton, in fact, said that the bouncing in his Mercedes ‘was crazy’ with the Briton only managing 10th fastest – though Toto Wolff had already said Merc may struggle here despite their improvement at the Spanish Grand Prix last time out.
It was a better session for Pierre Gasly, meanwhile, with him putting his AlphaTauri in 6th place between the two McLaren cars of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, with the Aussie looking to put in a strong weekend after Zak Brown admitted his time at McLaren hadn’t yet fulfilled expectations.
Elsewhere in the top 10, Max Verstappen was 4th and George Russell was 8th, whilst Sebastian Vettel took 9th in the Aston Martin.
Ted Kravitz said on Sky before the session that Aston believe their redesigned car – introduced at the Spanish GP – could eventually challenge for podiums by the end of the season, and seeing Seb inside the top 10 at this early stage will give them optimism.
Outside the top 10, meanwhile, there were issues for Mick Schumacher with his MGU-K limiting him to 12 laps of running whilst Valtteri Bottas didn’t even get a flying lap in thanks to a power unit problem.