Carlos Sainz leads the first practice sessions of the Monaco GP with his Ferrari

Carlos Sainz leads the first practice sessions of the Monaco GP with his Ferrari

MONACO, May 26 (Reuters) – Spanish Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz led the first free practice of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix on Friday, followed by the Aston Martin of compatriot Fernando Alonso.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton set the third fastest lap, in a newly designed Mercedes with significant upgrades to the sidepods and suspension, while last year’s victor Sergio “Checo” Pérez was fourth in his Red Bull.

The Mexican had warned before the start of practice that Monaco is not the strongest circuit for Red Bull, despite the fact that they have won the five races held so far this season, with four doubles. As he said, the Ferrari drivers and Alonso will be the biggest threats.

Sainz set his best time, of one minute and 13.372 seconds, on a sunny afternoon in the Mediterranean principality, on medium tires and in the presence of Ferrari president John Elkann. His best lap was 0.338 faster than Alonso’s.

The session ended three minutes ahead of schedule, when Alex Albon crashed his Williams at the exit of the first corner of Sainte Devote, wrecking the left-hand side of his car.

The session was also suspended with 22 minutes to go when Nico Hulkenberg hit the barrier and spun his Haas at the Nouvelle Chicane after the tunnel.

The Ferrari of hometown hero Charles Leclerc, who will be seeking his third consecutive pole position in Monaco on Saturday, was fifth, followed by two-time Red Bull world champion Max Verstappen, who was uncomfortable with the set-up of his car.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was seventh fastest.

(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

Source: Ambito

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