Carlos Sainz leads the first practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix, while Alex Albon crashes.
With an accident at the first corner, Williams driver Alex Albon ended the first practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The British-born Thai, who had previously finished 10th in the fastest time, lost the rear midway round Saint Devote and crashed into the barrier.
Carlos Sainz of Ferrari set the pace, followed by Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin and Lewis Hamilton in an improved Mercedes.
Max Verstappen, the championship leader, was struggling in sixth place in his Red Bull.
Verstappen was trailing teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who complained that the vehicle was set too low and bottoming out.
Albon’s crash stopped Leclerc from setting a lap that may have put Sainz in danger.
Leclerc, who was born and raised in Monaco and has been on pole for the last two years, was forced to abandon a quick lap that would have been slightly slower than Sainz’s when he had a moment at the second part of the Swimming Pool and was about to try again when the session was halted because Albon’s car was in the middle of the road at the Sainte Devote exit.
Alonso, who was 0.338 seconds slower than Sainz, was also on a faster lap as the session came to an end with little over three minutes remaining.
In the second Mercedes, George Russell was also battling. He finished 15th fastest and a second slower than Hamilton, complaining of a lack of rear traction and unable to warm up his tyres.
Hamilton enjoyed an encouraging session in the Mercedes, which has undergone a major makeover with reworked front suspension, sidepods, and floor as the team attempts to reclaim its competitiveness.
Hamilton was towards the front the entire race and was briefly the fastest before being passed by Sainz and Alonso.
Another driver to collide with the Monaco walls was Nico Hulkenberg, who broke his wheel on the barrier on the inside of the harbour-front chicane.
Lando Norris impressed in the McLaren, finishing seventh in a car that was among the slowest in the last race in Monaco.