Hamilton fastest in Monaco GP 1st practice

The German set the pace on Thursday by bagging the fastest-ever lap around Monte Carlo and ended the afternoon session 0.5s clear of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and over a full second clear of title rival Lewis Hamilton in eighth.

Lewis Hamilton wants to beat the best Sebastian Vettel has to offer and won't resort to mind games to try and undermine the German out of the auto.

"When you think with the pace that I've had over the years it has always proven to be one race that just gets away from you", Hamilton added. We have been able to put it together today [Thursday] and I am happy about that.

Autosport revealed during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend that Ferrari has adopted Mercedes-style finger holes behind the steering wheel on Sebastian Vettel's SF70H, in a bid to help improve starts.

"First practice was really good and the vehicle was feeling great and then it was a night and day difference, black and white, in second practice".

I talk to the guys in the seniors team at the golf club who have all packed in their jobs, a lot of them taking redundancy or early retirement packages.

Daniel Ricciardo, who lost a near-certain victory past year due to a Red Bull tactical bungle, will also be a threat to the leaders in what is expected to be an intriguing scrap in qualifying and the race. We committed to the set-up as it takes longer than a session to change and we made a decision to push through and collect some data.

Lewis Hamilton has said he will avoid any kind of mind games in his title battle with Sebastian Vettel this year as the two multiple world champions scrap it out for the tiniest of advantages at every race.

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The Englishman, who won here back in 2009, started the session almost six seconds off the pace as he got use to the wider and more physically demanding nature of this year's vehicle.

"I'm not sure why the tyres weren't working but the difference between the two sessions was night and day".

"I am confident that we have the tools so it's up to us to find the right set-up to get into groove and have the confidence".

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.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth in the order on Thursday ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who started on pole position here previous year. His best time was just four hundredths shy of his McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.

"I quite like it that the car's hard to drive", Hamilton explained.

McLaren made the most of conditions to record a strong double points finish with Alonso's season-best fifth place and Button in ninth.

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