18 percent separates the four big drivers

(Motorsport-Total.com) — It felt a little bit like it did in the ’90s: The international television signal repeatedly displayed wobbly images during the first free practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix. “If Heinz Brüller is still hanging out on the phone, everything is as before,” an Austrian fellow editorial staff joked.

Charles Leclerc had the best time in his first free practice session in Monaco


Domestic champion Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) had a best time of 1:14.531 minutes. After this lap he drove two cars best of two average times, but cut those laps each time. Behind him were Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

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The result of the first free practice
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Lots of driving mistakes with new cars

By the way, Leclerc, Perez and Verstappen have one thing in common: the three had to go to the emergency exit at Sainte Devote. The three incidents remained without serious consequences. Sainz was unhurt at Sainte Devote, but in the latter stages he shortened the pits after setting the best time ever in the first sector.

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Overall, it seemed to be a sore point for the Ferraris: “Leclerc was driving more straight forward through chicane,” jokes “ORF” commentator Alexander Wurz.

Meanwhile, Perez received €300 for speeding in the pit lane. The pilot of the AlphaTauri, Yuki Tsunoda, had to do the 1000: “shot” him at 76.4 instead of the allowed 60 km / h. Only Valtteri Bottas (20 / Alfa Romeo) was faster: 81.9 km / h also cost 1,000 euros.

He was followed by Lando Norris (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (Alvatore), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and George Russell (Mercedes) behind the two leading teams, who were 0.181sec behind each other in the top four.

A ‘good start’ for McLaren, said team boss Andreas Seidl in an interview with ORF: “One of our best free practice sessions this year. The car ran very well and the drivers were reasonably happy. Especially this weekend, it’s important to get off the ground. To a good start and not break anything.”

Hamilton: “Jumping” is crazy, man! “

Lewis Hamilton was 10th, 0.968sec behind. However, the performance after Barcelona’s upward trend was felt as a step back: “Bounce is insane, man,” the seven-times world champion stirred up during the session – and later even asked for elbow pads to withstand the pain of the vibrations.

“If it’s fast, he’ll get all the protection he needs,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff smiles. Until the second training session, they’ll “work the setup to make it more comfortable for the drivers. But our car seems to be fast. Fast, but indestructible.”

why is that? “We have a problem with ground clearance and ‘bounce’,” Wolf explains. “It’s often a combination of aerodynamic strength and stiffness. Today it’s just stiffness.” “It is interesting how the drivers clearly express that this is a very difficult driving behaviour,” says fellow countryman and friend Alexander Wurz.

Red Bull has a better control of the ‘porpoise’

For Red Bull, on the other hand, the porpoises do not seem to be a “disruptive agent”, as motorsports consultant Helmut Marko explains in an interview with Sky: “We are satisfied. Max drove the time on his first lap with medium tyres. No This was definitely the fastest technical possibility.”

“Then he missed the first turn, had a flat spot and so we gave up the chase times. I think we are definitely up there in front and the car behaves very well on both types of tyres. We are looking forward to everything with confidence.”

Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) finished ninth at the start. He was 0.152sec faster than his teammate Lance Stroll (12th).

First stop because of Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher caused his first red flag of the weekend nearly 20 minutes into his first free practice session. But not with an accident. Haas’ pilot was radioed to the fact that he should please stop shifting gears, whereupon he rolled over at the hole’s entrance and blocked it.

At first, a gearbox malfunction was suspected. Team Haas later tweeted: “Mick is out of the car while the team is working on the issue. We believe he failed MGU-K. It’s unlikely that Mick will be able to get off the track again.” So I stayed with a dozen cycles completed up to that point.

Although there have been many small mistakes in driving, McLaren boss Seidl doesn’t think the new cars will change the driving experience in Monaco much compared to previous years: “So far there has been nothing unusual on the radio. Nor have there been major accidents not with us. Not only but for all drivers.”

“So I think the new cars won’t cause the problem that some expected,” Seidl says.

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