Cars hit the track this afternoon in Monaco for round seven of the 2022 championship season – just seven days on from FP1 in Spain.
Max Verstappen, last year’s winner, and the Spanish Grand Prix’s victor was the first to head out of the pits, onto the narrow street circuit.
This weekend, drivers will be utilising every moment on track as an all-important Qualifying session will set the grid for Sunday’s race on a track where overtaking opportunities are few and far between.
The Ferrari duo set the early pace with laps in 1:17s on the medium Pirellis – a far cry from last year’s race laps in around 1:10s, partially due to the new machinery on track.
As Verstappen began to make his mark on the famous circuit with a 1:16s on the hard tyres, Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton had been over the radio complaining of porpoising – which is not what the team will have wanted to hear early doors.
Lewis Hamilton’s early laps put him fifth on the board, but he was around 0.9s behind Leclerc’s leading time amid the issues with “incredible bouncing.”
The leading time was constantly being topped this afternoon as the teams made the most of their first venture on track this weekend.
Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were in and out of the top spot with the Dutchman ultimately going fastest with a 1:15.327 and 39 minutes to go.
Leclerc had an off-track moment at the end of his flying lap, but thankfully he managed to avoid the barrier into the first corner.
At 13:20 a red flag was thrown after Mick Schumacher stopped at the entrance to the pitlane – reporting a gearbox issue earlier in his lap – marking an end to his session as he was aided back to the Haas garage.
Just minutes later the session was given a green flag as drivers returned to the track in force with 35 minutes remaining.
Hamilton was straight back on the team radio to complain about the violent bouncing, and although the team offered him a quick fix, he opted to remain out on track and was now in third on medium tyres.
A number of drivers seemed to be struggling during FP1, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll telling his team he has no grip. He said: “I have no front grip man. Box, box, I am about to crash with that front right.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris seemed to be in better spirits this weekend already, after struggling with tonsilitis in Spain. He went fastest at one point with a 1:15.301.
Towards the end of the session, there was a slight field shakeup with Pierre Gasly going second fastest in the AlphaTauri with 16 minutes left.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz encountered lap-ruining traffic at the notoriously busy track on one of his final flying laps after setting two purple sectors and was forced off.
When time ran out, however, there were many changes to the final timesheet: