Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2016

Hamilton heads shortened session as Button strikes drain cover

2016 Monaco Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton was quickest in first practice for the Monaco Grand Prix as lap times fell by over three seconds compared to last year.

However the opening session at the Monte-Carlo circuit was cut short with two minutes left to run after Jenson Button’s car was struck by a flying drain cover.

The McLaren driver was fortunate to escape uninjured after the cover was lifted by Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes at the exit of Sainte Devote. Rosberg sustained a puncture while Button’s front wing was shattered by the impact with the cover.

Rosberg ended the session second-quickest behind his team mate. Just a tenth of a second separated the pair, who used the new ultra-soft tyres throughout the session.

Sebastian Vettel left it until the end of the session before sampling the softest compound and got within half a second of the silver cars.

Daniel Ricciardo, who at one point was seen gesticulating angrily at someone else on the circuit and swearing at them on his radio, was fourth-quickest ahead of team mate Max Verstappen. Both also used the ultra-soft tyres.

The Toro Rosso drivers were well up the order despite not using the softest rubber available. Daniil Kvyat ended the session sixth after setting a 1’16.426 on super-softs. Carlos Sainz Jnr used softs throughout the 90 minutes yet still reached the top ten, seven-tenths off his team mate.

The pair were separated by the two Force Indias (both on super-softs) and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari (on ultra-softs).

Felipe Massa was the first driver to fall foul of the Monaco barriers, crashing his Williams at Sainte Devote. on his 11th lap. Jolyon Palmer also damaged his Renault at Tabac, having previously swiped a barrier at Anthony Noghes.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’15.53731
26Nico RosbergMercedes1’15.6380.10139
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’15.9560.41926
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’16.3080.77129
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’16.3710.83430
626Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’16.4260.88937
727Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’16.5601.02334
811Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’16.6971.16028
97Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’16.9121.37524
1055Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’17.1301.59339
1177Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’17.5622.02544
128Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’17.5992.06233
1314Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’17.8382.30127
1421Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’17.9092.37225
1522Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’17.9202.38326
1612Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’18.1872.65029
1720Kevin MagnussenRenault1’18.2742.73734
189Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’18.3012.76433
1919Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’18.7463.20910
2030Jolyon PalmerRenault1’18.8713.33422
2188Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’20.5284.99128
2294Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’20.8685.33125

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’15.537

+0.101 Nico Rosberg – 1’15.638

+0.419 Sebastian Vettel – 1’15.956

+0.771 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’16.308

+0.834 Max Verstappen – 1’16.371

+0.889 Daniil Kvyat – 1’16.426

+1.023 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’16.560

+1.160 Sergio Perez – 1’16.697

+1.375 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’16.912

+1.593 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’17.130

+2.025 Valtteri Bottas – 1’17.562

+2.062 Romain Grosjean – 1’17.599

+2.301 Fernando Alonso – 1’17.838

+2.372 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’17.909

+2.383 Jenson Button – 1’17.920

+2.650 Felipe Nasr – 1’18.187

+2.737 Kevin Magnussen – 1’18.274

+2.764 Marcus Ericsson – 1’18.301

+3.209 Felipe Massa – 1’18.746

+3.334 Jolyon Palmer – 1’18.871

+4.991 Rio Haryanto – 1’20.528

+5.331 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’20.868

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Hamilton heads shortened session as Button strikes drain cover”

  1. Nice to see a bit of a plus for Kyvat. I hope he’s able to carry the momentum forwards.

    Given how close they were in Australia, I’m surprised to see such a gap to the Manor cars.

    Going to be an interesting weekend.

    1. Probably the worst track for the Manors. Looking forward to see how they go at Baku, which might suit them very well.

    2. Kvyat is a reactive driver, Monaco should suit him .. Vettel watch out.

  2. Hm, the ‘subtop’ seems like it could be quite close, so I guess Q2 will be very interesting on Saturday, and Q3 will be intriguing too, showing whether Red Bull or Ferrari are close(est) to Mercedes.

  3. What was that with Ricciardo? Who was he swearing at?

    1. Kimi was a bit lazy and held him up through the final chicane/corner

    2. His strategy guy from Spain?

  4. Anyone know which tires McLaren were running?
    Based on this data, they really should be aiming to consistently beat Toro Rosso before setting themselves any further goals, or claiming their chassis is almost best in class (how I wish that were true…).

    1. I don’t think times are representative. Kvyat with a TR is on the neck of Ricciardo’s RB with the new engine.

    2. Sky mentioned they were working on race pace.

      But point still stands, if they want to be #1 they have to beat Toro Rosso.

  5. So much for Mclaren being ahead of Ferrari this weekend…

    1. @jamiefranklinf1 … in front of (1) (Haas) Ferrari …

    2. The Blade Runner (@)
      26th May 2016, 13:43


      Just thinking the same thing!

      Ron and co need to keep their mouths shut and let their on-track performance do the talking. Surely it’s better to surprise everyone with a sudden leap up the field rather than constantly suggesting it’s going to happen only for it not to!

      1. +1
        Every time they say something positive, I (falsely) get my hopes up.
        I’d much rather enjoy a surprising leap up in performance that nobody expected, than what is the case now…

  6. Really impressed by Sainz and Kvyat, I didn’t notice that their best laps weren’t done on the ultra soft.

  7. Don’t I remember another incident involving a loose drain cover a few years ago? Wasn’t it Barrichelo going up the hill towards Casino Square? Loose drain covers just should not happen. It’s just poor track preparation by the hosts, and could easily cost lives.

    1. Yes! Thought so. 2010.
      “Manhole cover caused Barrichello crash”
      Sloppy track preparation. It’s a bit like someone forgetting to tighten the bolts on the Armco barriers.

    2. I think the race was stopped because they couldn’t work out how to fix it. I also seem to remember barichello throwing his wheel and it getting destroyed by a passing car.

  8. So, I read the article on the Bianchi’s first. How come we are still having problems with drain covers? Every year there is at least 1 that comes loose. One day someone is going to get hurt and then who is to blame?

    1. Insufficient head protection will be blamed.

      1. @jureo

        if it hits someone in the head, then it’s hard to argue against isn’t it?

        1. Exactly. Bring in head protection asap, have you seen what it did to that front wing?

    2. F.I.A.

  9. Wow, so that was a drain cover! How’s that even possible? Those things weighs several kilos, it was utterly dangerous. I thought it was some Rosberg’s floor element, and at that time I wondered how such a thing could disintegrate half a front wing.

    1. Clem Fandango
      26th May 2016, 13:00

      that is shocking and total unacceptable. Button could have been killed by something like that..

      1. It’s chilling. There was a terrible incident in a sports car race at Montreal where such a cover was pulled from the track by another car and scythed through a following car, causing it to explode. I believe no one was killed there, but the damage to the car was shocking. A steel manhole cover would obliterate an F1 car at 180mph. The possibility that such covers are not fully secured, by being welded down, should require direct action from the FIA to ensure the organizers are doing this.

        1. I just looked it up, really nasty (scroll down in both articles).
          I’m just shocked that stuff like this happens in 2016… Absolute failure on the organizers’ part


    2. Unbelievable. Could have been another F1 fatality this. For both track organizer and FIA/FOM to miss what is such an obvious and known thing around here is totally unacceptable. An investigation and severe consequences should be the order of the day. No sweeping under the carpet.

  10. If that drain cover got air and hit a driver’s head the halo would not have prevented it. The RB solution might just be the better of the two.

    1. neither would have prevented it, both might have helped, which would do better? I haven’t seen the evaluations done on them…. but it’s clear that things can and probably will fly around and possibly hit a driver in the head.

      Even if whatever measure is taken doesn’t evade a casualty, that is no reason not to have it. It’s like arguing against seatbelts not saving everyone from everything, and they make your clothes look weird

    2. The halo is better for sticking used tear-offs on, which is a priority for the FIA at the moment.

      1. I think it’d shatter

  11. Massa should change his facebook status to “in a relationship with St Devot”

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