FP2: Verstappen heads Ferrari duo in second practice
Bouncing back from a difficult opening session, double world champion Max Verstappen set the pace in the second practice session at the Monaco Grand Prix, beating the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports of Free Practice 2.
Red Bull appeared to be on the back foot in the opening practice session in Monaco, but the reigning world champion team did not need a long period of time to get back to their usual 2023 level of competitiveness. Two-time world champion Verstappen was quickest in the first quarter of the session when the majority of drivers used Pirelli’s mediums, and he could raise the bar when the field switched to the red-walled softs.
The Dutchman set a 1m12.462s which was enough to stop Ferrari’s march with the Scuderia drivers’ Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ending the 60-minute practice second and third fastest.
Commenting on his day, Verstappen said: “I think FP1 was quite tricky today, I wasn’t happy with the ride of the car but FP2 was much better, the car was a lot more competitive. Compared to Ferrari, I think the handling is still lacking on the curbs and the drops in camber.
We need to work on that ahead of tomorrow because you can see that they are still very close, we’ll need more for qualifying tomorrow to stay ahead of them. I felt more confident in FP2 to push a bit more, we had a difficult start but a good end. I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow, let’s see what we can do.”
Topping the opening session, Sainz had a promising day until the dying minutes of the second session when he clipped the wall at the entry of Turn 15 and slid into the barriers on the exit of Turn 16, damaging his car and bringing out the red flags.
Carlos gives the barrier an early kiss... 😘#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/av3tzkouks— Formula 1 (@F1) May 26, 2023
It was a difficult start for home hero Leclerc as he struggled for pace and confidence over the course of the majority of the day, but he suddenly found good rhythm and confidence for the last part of the second session and managed to get within a tenth of Verstappen to finish just a place behind the Dutchman.
Fernando Alonso was extremely strong on both the medium and the soft compound in the late afternoon session, and took fourth with his teammate Lance Stroll finishing down in P11.
Despite losing the first quarter of the session to set-up changes, Lando Norris was on the pace in the second session, putting his McLaren in an impressive fifth on the timesheets. By contrast, his teammate Oscar Piastri’s best effort of 1m13.673s was only enough for a P18.
Driving the upgraded Mercedes W14 for the first time, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were sixth and 12th fastest, but they set competitive lap times on heavy fuel load during their race simulation run.
Debuting a heavily revised car, Alpine had a quiet, albeit promising session with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon setting the 9th and 10th fastest lap respectively.
Also running a massively upgraded car, AlphaTauri drivers Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries were closely matched, but their best efforts were only enough to take 16th and 17th.
Debuting a new floor, revised beam wing and upgraded rear suspension, Valtteri Bottas put his Alfa Romeo in an impressive P8, just a few thousands of a second adrift of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Williams drivers rounded out the leaderboard with Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant finishing down in P19 and P20 respectively. However, there is much more to expect from the Thai driver as he only hit the track for the final 10 minutes after his FP1 crash forced mechanics to fit a new gearbox, front wing, rear wing, floor and front-left suspension.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:12.462||29|
|4||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:12.682||+0.220s||31|
|5||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:12.906||+0.444s||18|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:12.991||+0.529s||29|
|8||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:13.050||+0.588s||32|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:13.089||+0.627s||27|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:13.162||+0.700s||29|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:13.185||+0.723s||30|
|13||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:13.354||+0.892s||31|
|14||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:13.457||+0.995s||27|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:13.520||+1.058s||32|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:13.641||+1.179s||22|
|17||21||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:13.663||+1.201s||33|
|18||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:13.673||+1.211s||29|
|19||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:14.217||+1.755s||9|
|20||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:14.238||+1.776s||32|