Lewis Hamilton topped both FP1 and FP2 on Thursday in Monaco for Mercedes, marking the first time he has led a session around the streets of the principality since opening practice in 2017.

- Hamilton narrowly beat Max Verstappen in opening practice before heading up a one-two finish for Mercedes in the second session, with the German team again looking like the overwhelming favourite heading into the rest of the weekend.

- Verstappen was unable to get a quick lap in FP2 after debris became lodged in the radiator of his car, limiting his running. The Dutchman said Red Bull “should definitely fill up the gap between second and third.”

- So where does that leave Ferrari? Scrambling to try and not be the third-fastest team in Monaco, it seems. Sebastian Vettel was a distant seven-tenths of a second off the pace in FP2, while Charles Leclerc couldn’t get a quick lap in due to traffic and tyre struggles. Leclerc seemed resigned to fighting to following the Mercedes, saying that second would be “great” for Ferrari.

- Vettel unveiled his tribute helmet to Niki Lauda on Thursday in Monaco (main picture), replicating the Austrian’s famous red and white design. “it felt like a nice thing to do, a nice gesture,” Vettel said. “That way at least his helmet design can enjoy some last laps around Monaco.”

- Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff held an emotional press conference on Thursday morning to discuss the loss of his friend and colleague. “It’s so difficult for me to try to talk about Niki - the icon in Formula 1 that he was, I think the biggest icon that we had - because my emotions are so overwhelming as a friend,” Wolff said. “The last 48 hours were terrible, I feel like a zombie. I keep looking at the pictures find myself with tears in the eyes every half an hour because he’s not there anymore. There’s just a huge black cloud and somebody that is so dearly missed in this team and so dearly missed in Formula 1.

- One of the stranger incidents in FP1 saw Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean get shown a black flag by race control. It turned out this was not due to any infringement, but instead at the request of the team after a technical issue meant it lost all communications with its cars. After failing to get the cars back using the pit boards, it was the team’s idea to bring them back in. The issue was resolved to allow both Magnussen and Grosjean to get back out later in the session.

Alexander Albon produced one of the stand-out results of FP2 as he finished P5 for Toro Rosso. “I was just getting confident with the circuit, like most drivers, I guess, but it has been really good, especially in FP2,” he said. “We made a really big step with the set-up and I was really confident with the car. I’m sure everyone is going to catch up come Saturday, so we just need to make sure we keep pushing.”

- After leading every single session in Monaco in 2018, Daniel Ricciardo came back down to earth with a bump on Thursday as he took P11 in FP1 before languishing down in 17th in FP2. Ricciardo explained at the end of the day that Renault had struggled to make a step in performance between sessions, but was still feeling confident heading into qualifying on Saturday.

- Ferrari’s veto was up for discussion once again in Thursday’s FIA team principals’ press conference, with four team bosses expressing their wish for it to be removed for 2021. Claire Williams called the veto “silly”, while Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said it was now “outdated”. Both Zak Brown and Cyril Abiteboul said they felt Ferrari’s standing within F1 should be recognised a different way outside of the regulations and governance structure.

- Claire Williams confirmed on Thursday that recently-signed development driver Jamie Chadwick is not currently planned to have any F1 running, but will be attending a number of races with Williams to get to know the team. Chadwick currently leads the new W Series after two rounds.

- Zak Brown addressed McLaren’s Indy 500 struggles in a dedicated press conference on Thursday, explaining the team’s failure to qualify for the race. He later said that despite the setback, McLaren’s relationship with Fernando Alonso had “never been stronger”.

- The FIA confirmed both Alfa Romeo and Haas have taken Ferrari’s new power unit for this weekend, putting its drivers a step closer to the season limit for parts. Ferrari used the new power unit itself for the first time in Spain after fast-tracking its introduction.

Carlos Sainz has also been forced to take a new energy store after an issue in FP1. He is now on the season limit of two, meaning any further usages will trigger a penalty.

- Former McLaren junior Nyck de Vries will start Friday’s Formula 2 Feature Race from pole position after leading the split qualifying. Ferrari youngster Callum Ilott will start from P2 on the grid in his first Monaco race.

- The F2 Feature Race is the only notable track running in Monaco on Friday, which is a rest day for F1.

-  Sir Jackie Stewart helped unveil a special 1kg gold coin commissioned to commemorate 50 years since his first world championship win on Thursday. The coin will be auctioned at the Amber Lounge event in Friday, with proceeds going to Stewart’s ‘Racing Against Dementia’ charity.



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