Carlos Sainz was fastest in the first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
The Ferrari driver was 0.338s ahead of Alonso on medium tires after a late improvement while Hamilton was 0.663s off pace.
Alonso was blocked by Sergio Perez on one of his runs, to which the Spaniard replied: “I will be on the racing line for all free laps”, passing the Mexican on his fastest lap, which put him in fourth place.
Charles Leclerc tried to improve in the final stages with P5 but stalled on the way to Nouvelle Chicane and exited the pool section again.
Any further attempts at improvement were cut short when Alex Albon crashed at Sainte Devote, causing significant damage to the left side of his Williams and raising the red flag, ending the session.
Verstappen and Russell have set-up problems
Many drivers opted to run the hard tire early in the session as traffic became an issue for most timed runs.
Ferrari opted not to run the hard for both drivers and Sainz set early pace on average from Verstappen who was half a second behind on the hard.
Max Verstappen complained about problems with the car in the early stages of FP1, radioing the team that it was “lowest performing” and “incredibly hard to drive” in the high-speed sections.
He pitted to make some adjustments to the rear of the car, but still had issues that the team believed would be resolved after the session.
Teammate Perez was noticeably faster in the first sector compared to Verstappen, setting the best time in that section. He ended the session in sixth place with the best lap, 0.8 seconds behind Sainz.
George Russell also had problems with the set-up, complaining about the rear slipping during the session. The team has introduced their new upgrades to this race, although they are not expected to make a significant difference in performance.
The Mercedes driver finished the session outside the top 10 on P15, setting his best time 1.6 seconds off pace.
A brief red flag came when Nico Hulkenberg crashed into a wall coming out of the tunnel and entered the Nouvelle chicane, damaging his left rear wheel.
The Haas driver may have limped back to the pits, but the car had dropped enough parts to require clearing of that part of the track.