Published: Sat, May 27, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

F1 Raceweek: Hamilton eyes 'unreal' milestone, Ricciardo has unfinished business


However, struggles set in after lunch as the Brit complained over the radion of being unable to get heat into the tyres while F1 World Drivers' Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was the first man into the 1min12s, leading the field by almost half a second.

Last year's race victor Lewis Hamilton, who had topped the morning season ahead of Vettel, failed to improve on that time in the afternoon and trailed Vettel by more than a second in eighth, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas 10th.

While winning the race will definitely be on Hamilton's mind, this race could be a special occasion for him if he qualifies in pole position.

Both drivers have two wins apiece this season, with Hamilton on the front foot going into this weekend's race, having won at the last round in Barcelona. Hamilton was only eighth in the reckoning, more than one second adrift of Vettel, while Bottas was even further back in 10th.

Practice in Monaco is always on a Thursday due to Friday, the usual day for first running on track at other races, being a rest day.

"I just basically centred in looking for the limit, got onto the dirt a little bit and lost the rear - it was a typical street circuit mistake", Stroll conceded, "I was happy with the day until then".

The real story in Monaco, of course, will be the next stage of the duel between Lewis Hamilton [2.18] and Sebastian Vettel [2.88].

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"If you would have asked me the same question one year ago, I would not have been very optimistic, but now it is different", Wolff told Press Association Sport. "Now it's about fine-tuning and we have time for that".

Jenson Button, called in by McLaren this weekend due to the absence of Fernando Alonso - the Spaniard preferred to take part in the Indianapolis 500 - did well by signing the 12th time, 1.226 seconds from Vettel. But it is also natural that a bit more practice, routine, you get better in whatever you have to do.

"We didn't have the greatest day today", Hamilton said.

"We've got some work to do ahead of Saturday".

"We only need to work on small things to get a nicer feeling all the time and see once we push where we end up on Saturday". We have good downforce here, the rear of the auto feels like it is working the best it has so far this year. International Automobile Federation (FIA) safety director Laurent Mekies wrote to the teams ahead of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix seeking modifications to the points at which jacks are engaged to raise the back of cars at pitstops. He was fourth here for Ferrari past year while teammate Kimi Raikkonen did not finish the race.

Vettel also made clear he believed it was time for Ferrari to win again in Monaco after a 16-year spell since 2001.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in action during the first free practice session.

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