Can Leclerc break Verstappen WINNING STREAK at F1 Monaco GP?

The opening 60-minute practice session was frantic as all the drivers got to grips with the new 2022 cars around the tight Monte Carlo streets. 

Leclerc rose to the top of timesheets with a 1m14.531s, with just under 0.1s separating the top four which consisted of Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.

It didn’t all go Leclerc’s way in FP1 as he was the first driver to lock up and take to the run-off area at Sainte Devote.

Verstappen, Perez and Kevin Magnussen all made similar mistakes at Turn 1 during first practice. 

Both Leclerc and Sainz also had moments at the Nouvelle Chicane in the middle part of the lap in what was a tightly-contested session between F1’s top two teams.

There’s surely more pace to come from reigning champion Verstappen, whose lock-up at Turn 1 flat-spotted his medium tyres and meant he spent the final portion of the session in the garage. 

Outside of the top four was Lando Norris in fifth, just over 0.4s off the pace set by Leclerc.

McLaren showed encouraging pace throughout practice with Norris setting the pace at the halfway point of the session ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo

Pierre Gasly fared well in the AlphaTauri, finishing FP1 in sixth overall ahead of Ricciardo.

George Russell was once again the lead Mercedes driver in eighth, while Sebastian Vettel broke into the top 10 after running the soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton completed the top 10 in the second Mercedes and was vocal throughout the session.

“The bouncing is crazy mate,” Hamilton said during FP1 as he complained multiple times over team radio.

Issues plague Schumacher and Bottas

Mick Schumacher caused the only red flag of the session after suffering an MGU-K failure.

The German tried to return to the pit lane as he was instructed not to change gear as Haas initially thought it was gearbox related.

Schumacher’s Haas came to a halt at the pit lane exit, causing a blockage and a brief red flag period.

It was also another torrid Friday practice session for Valtteri Bottas.

He only completed two laps, ending the session 20th overall.