Monaco GP F1: Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen in practice one

Lewis Hamilton went fastest of all in first practice for the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, though an impressive Max Verstappen came close to matching him with a late flying lap

Monaco GP F1: Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen in practice one

Hamilton's peak in practice one last year was 1m18.271s but this year his fastest time was 1m18.750s, set mid-way through the session before Mercedes switched to high-fuel running.

Team-mate Rosberg's quickest during this phase was a second slower, and he fell down the order as others improved their times later on.

Following overnight rain the track was declared wet, and the drivers completed their installation laps on intermediate tyres.

It quickly became apparent that the surface was largely dry and the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg headed back out to lead the way on slick tyres, drilling down into the 1m22s bracket and below in the first 30 minutes.

As ever in Monaco, the asphalt (around 80 per cent of which has been resurfaced since last year) was slippery before it began to rubber in, and the low ambient temperature of 14C made it tough to get heat into the brakes and tyres.

Rosberg brushed the barrier at Tabac early in the session without incurring damage, Daniel Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado, Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso spun at Sainte Devote, and the escape road at the chicane enjoyed plenty of traffic.

With the first half-hour over and the 'free' set of soft tyres handed back, Mercedes upped the ante once more.

Hamilton and Rosberg traded fastest times on their next set of softs, both dipping below the 1m20s mark - a Rubicon the majority of their rivals struggled to cross until the final minutes.

Hamilton's 1m18.570s would stand as the quickest until the end of the session.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen split the Mercedes on their next timed runs, with Vettel just over three-tenths off Hamilton's benchmark, but he clearly had the Ferrari on the very edge of soft's grip levels at that stage of the track's evolution. He would not improve upon his best lap of 1m19.134s.

Alonso also broke through the 1m20s barrier in the last half hour, giving McLaren some succour in a session of mixed success. Jenson Button sat out the first hour while his MP4-30 received attention in the garage.

In a final flurry of track activity just before the chequered flag, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Pastor Maldonado and Daniil Kvyat broke through and split the Mercedes further, with Verstappen falling just 0.149s short of Hamilton's best.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m18.750s - 49
2 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m18.899s 0.149s 42
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m19.086s 0.336s 27
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.134s 0.384s 31
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m19.245s 0.495s 40
6 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m19.454s 0.704s 35
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m19.520s 0.770s 33
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m19.679s 0.929s 31
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.762s 1.012s 47
10 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m19.766s 1.016s 32
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m19.791s 1.041s 28
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m20.202s 1.452s 15
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m20.274s 1.524s 34
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m20.619s 1.869s 35
15 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m20.784s 2.034s 34
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m20.857s 2.107s 24
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m20.917s 2.167s 36
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m21.219s 2.469s 25
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m23.234s 4.484s 28
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m23.404s 4.654s 31

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