Monaco FP2: Verstappen bounces back, Leclerc chases

Monaco FP2: Verstappen bounces back, Leclerc chases, Sainz crashes

Monaco FP2: Verstappen bounces back, Leclerc chases

Max Verstappen bounced back from his early troubles in the first practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, topping FP2 but closely chased by Charles Leclerc.

Verstappen was on from the start of FP2, clearly happier with the work his team have done on the #1 RB19 in between sessions, while Charles Leclerc found his rhythm to go second fastest a mere 0.065s behind the Dutchman.

FP2 showed that Qualifying in Monaco would be an open affair with Red Bull, Ferrari, and Aston Martin all having a fighting chance, while Mercedes remain as outsiders.

Fernando Alonso looks to be a contender for pole on Saturday while compatriot Carlos Sainz was showing some decent speed, that is until he binned his SF-23 with 15 minutes remaining from FP2.

Buildup towards FP2

FP1 in Monaco saw Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz set the fastest time, with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton second and third.

The Red Bull cars didn’t seem to be up to speed yet, with reigning Formula 1 Champion Max Verstappen particularly struggling with his RB19 that was bottoming out during the first practice session.

The jury is still out as to whether the new upgraded Mercedes is decent step forward, and it will be the case until at least the upcoming race in Barcelona, but George Russell did not seem happy with the new car unlike Hamilton who was featuring at the top of timing screens most of FP1.

Monaco FP2 session highlights

The second practice session started, with Williams driver Alex Albon still in the pits as his team was still working on fixing his FW45, which he binned at Turn 1 in the final minutes of FP1. In case you missed it, check out the video below.

The Medium tyres were the order of the day at the start of FP2, all drivers running them, except for Charles Leclerc who bolted the white-banded Hards.

Other than Alex Albon, Lando Norris also remained in the McLaren pits, with the front end of the MCL60 disassembled and the mechanics working on it.

Max Verstappen set the early pace, but Lewis Hamilton seemingly enjoying his updated Mercedes went 0.001s faster, only for the Dutchman to strike back and go faster by 0.0127s, the two trading blows just like the old days.

But it seems that Fernando Alonso will be having a say into this weekend’s proceedings as he was also in the mix with Verstappen and Hamilton. At one point the three were covered by a tenth of a second.

Twenty minutes into the session, the Soft tyres made the fist appearance in the Monaco F1 weekend, with Aston Martin of Alonso and Lance Stroll the first to bolt on the red-banded tyres.

The rest of the pack followed suit in the second half of the session, as all teams started to sample the Soft compound on qualifying simulations.

With around 25 minutes remaining from the session, Alex Albon was finally ready to head out on track as the Williams’ mechanics finally fixed his car. He has a new gearbox, but had to switch to an older spec rear wing as the new one was destroyed in the crash.

With 17 minutes remaining from FP2, Carlos Sainz who was showing some decent pace, binned his SF-23 at the swimming pool chicane after touching the barrier at Turn 15, breaking his suspension and ending up in the wall.

The Red flags were out as the stricken Ferrari was cleared from the track.

The experienced Monaco marshals cleared the #55 Ferrari within minutes and the session was on again, as all drivers set out to do some high-fuel runs.

How they finished

Max Verstappen posted the fastest time of FP2, a 1:12.462 to go fastest with Charles Leclerc chasing hard, 0.065s behind him in second.

Carlos Sainz was doing a decent job, that is before he crashed his Ferrari, but the best time he posted was good enough to go third fastest, 0.107s off the pace.

Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest in the Aston Martin, having flirted with the top spot several times during FP2. His best time was 0.220s slower than Verstappen’s.

Lando Norris did a decent job to go fifth fastest in the McLaren with a 1:12.906, while compatriot Lewis Hamilton was 0.054s behind him in sixth place, the seven-time F1 Champion dropping down the order compared to FP1, while teammate George Russell continued to struggle and was 12th fastest.

Sergio Perez was seventh fastest in the #11 Red Bull RB19 over half a second slower that teammate Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas eighth fastest for Alfa Romeo, 0.059s behind the Mexican.

The Alpine pair, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon were ninth and tenth respectively separated by 0.073s.

FP2 Official Results