Hamilton quickest in opening practice for Monaco GP

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton made a perfect start to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend by finishing fastest in the first free practice session on Thursday.

Hamilton posted a fastest lap time of 1:18.750 to finish 0.149 seconds clear of Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen at the top of the timesheets in FP1 as Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg faded to ninth place place by the end of the session.

Rosberg’s weekend got off to a poor start when he brushed the wall at Tabac, forcing him to pit and ensure that no damage had been sustained to the Mercedes W06 Hybrid car. The German driver soon managed to get back out, but was unable to match Hamilton’s pace throughout the session.

En route to second place, Verstappen was unfazed by this being his first taste of the Monaco street circuit as he finished ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the top of the timesheets. His teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr, followed this good form by finishing fifth in the sister Toro Rosso car.

Pastor Maldonado put in a strong display for Lotus to finish sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, whilst Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth in the second Ferrari ahead of Rosberg. Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten for Williams, whilst Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button ran well for McLaren to finish P11 and P12.

The first session saw a number of drivers get to grips with the newly resurfaced areas of the track and the widened parts of the circuit, but the first corner still acted as the biggest pitfall.

Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were just four of the drivers to lock up at Sainte Devote and head down the slip road, but all managed to turn their cars around and get back on track.

Be sure to join us for FP2 live from Monaco on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Thursday. For more information, click here.