F1 Monaco GP: Leclerc heads Sainz for Ferrari 1-2 in FP2

Charles Leclerc topped a disrupted second practice session at Formula 1’s 2021 Monaco Grand Prix ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr and Lewis Hamilton.

F1 Monaco GP: Leclerc heads Sainz for Ferrari 1-2 in FP2

Max Verstappen finished fourth, as both the championship leaders encountered problems on their fastest laps in FP2.

After missing most of FP1 due to a gearbox problem, Leclerc was out immediately in the second session at his home event, after the gearbox on his SF21 was changed.

He set the first time lap of the session – a 1m18.757s set on the medium compound tyres – but was quickly deposed as he had had to brake hard encountering a pack of cars running slowly through the final corners.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi therefore quickly shuffled Leclerc down with a 1m17.029s, before McLaren’s Lando Norris came by shortly after to go fastest on a 1m15.399s.

The times continued to tumble during the early laps, with Sainz next to go fastest with a 1m14.997s – although he was the sole runner on the hard tyres at that stage.

Leclerc blasted back to the top spot before he was again deposed by Max Verstappen’s first flying lap – a 1m13.961s that he improved on his next one with a 1m13.499s.

Hamilton then set an identical laptime a few moments later, which meant he slotted into second after abandoning his first flying run after cutting across the second apex at the chicane.

Approaching the end of the first 15 minutes of action in the one-hour session, Verstappen brought the P1 benchmark down to a 1m13.241s – despite doing a slow middle sector and encountering traffic at the final corners.

Hamilton then moved to the head of the order for the first time with a 1m12.772s, which he improved then to a 1m12.569s after a recharge lap in between.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

After a brief lull in action, the Mercedes cars were switched to the soft tyres just before the session’s halfway point, which Valtteri Bottas used to go fastest on a 1m12.107s.

A short way behind, Hamilton was flying on his first run on the softs, but lost a big chunk of time clipping the kerb at the second apex at the chicane, which sent him so wide he nearly hit the harbour-side barrier on the outside of the sequence.

The mistake meant he slotted him behind Bottas, 0.173s adrift, having been up by nearly 0.5s at the end of the first sector.

Nearly 10 minutes later, Sainz posted what looked to be the fastest time of FP2 with a 1m11.796s on his first run on the softs, with Leclerc trailing by 0.297s after his opening effort on the red-walled rubber.

Hamilton had continued to lap on his first set of softs, and just after the Ferrari’s had popped in their opening efforts on the softest compound he found enough time despite setting no personal best sectors to set what would be the session’s third fastest time.

With just under 20 minutes to go, Leclerc was going again on the softs, setting the session’s fastest time in the middle sector after failing to set a personal best time through the opening segment of the Monaco lap.

But his purple sector two and an improvement in the third sector – where he ran very close to the wall on the inside of the start-finish straight – were enough to give him a 1m11.684s and the session’s top spot.

Sainz ended up 0.112 adrift, with Hamilton 0.390s back in P3.

Verstappen finished fourth ahead of Bottas, with the former also encountering traffic at the end of his first flying laps on the softs.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The long-run data gathering period at the end of FP2 was disrupted by Mick Schumacher crashing his Haas at Massenet – the German driver hitting the barrier on the outside with both his right-side wheels after losing the rear of the car going through the middle part of the long left-hander.

He was able to keep going past the incident, but had picked up a puncture and likely suspension damage, but parked up down the escape road beyond the chicane a short while later.

As the Haas could not be removed quickly and with less than five minutes of FP2 remaining, the red flags brought proceedings to an early close.

Norris finished sixth for McLaren, with Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez seventh and eighth.

Giovinazzi and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10, with the latter reporting a concerning issue regarding his eyes mid-way through the session.

Vettel reported that it “feels like my eye is bleeding” before adding “I’m super emotional or there’s something stuck in my eye”, although he opted to continue lapping despite his discomfort.

Other drivers to have issues were Norris – who skipped over the second part of the Swimming Pool sequence after catching a snap of oversteer at one point in the closing stages – and Nicholas Latifi, who came to a stop after a “weird pushing moment” as he swept through he hairpin just before the 30-minute mark.

Latifi ended up P17 in the final standings, with Yuki Tsunoda bringing tip the rear of the field on the lowest lap count – 11 – as his FP2 was ended with just under three-quarters still remaining after he clouted the barrier on the exit of the second part of the Swimming Pool.

Tsunoda immediately came into the pits, but did not rejoin the action.

F1 Monaco Grand Prix free practice 2 results

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 1'11.684  
2 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari Ferrari 1'11.796 0.112
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1'12.074 0.390
4 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda 1'12.081 0.397
5 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 1'12.107 0.423
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1'12.379 0.695
7 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1'12.498 0.814
8 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Honda 1'12.708 1.024
9 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'12.746 1.062
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 1'12.982 1.298
11 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'13.065 1.381
12 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1'13.175 1.491
13 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 1'13.195 1.511
14 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1'13.199 1.515
15 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1'13.257 1.573
16 United Kingdom George Russell Williams Mercedes 1'13.509 1.825
17 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1'13.593 1.909
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari 1'14.407 2.723
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1'14.416 2.732
20 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda 1'14.829 3.145

 

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