Monaco Grand Prix practice: Leclerc fastest as Vettel crashes

Charles Leclerc edged out the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to top third practice for the Monaco Grand Prix after Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel crashed out early on

Monaco Grand Prix practice: Leclerc fastest as Vettel crashes

Leclerc ended the session 0.053 seconds faster than Bottas, with Lewis Hamilton a fraction behind, as circumstances conspired to prevent the rapid Red Bull of Max Verstappen from setting a more representative time. Verstappen ended the session fourth ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly.

The Mercedes W10s carried red halos for the first time this weekend in deference to the passing of Niki Lauda, but both drivers ultimately failed to prevent the timesheet wearing red up top.

Bottas set the pace in the early running with a 1m12.238s, just a few tenths up on Vettel and Leclerc, but since Thursday's practice yielded times in the 1m11s bracket there remained plenty of room for improvement as the track evolved.

Hamilton's arrival on track was marginally delayed by last-minute adjustments to his W10 and when he did get going, just 10 minutes into the session, he complained of vibrations from the front axle. Nevertheless he soon got up to speed and had just demoted Vettel when the Ferrari departed the scene.

Vettel locked his front-right wheel and went off into the outside barrier at Ste Devote after completing just seven timed laps.

As Vettel's car was craned off the track and the lap times began to tumble, Verstappen rose to become the principal challenger to the two Mercedes.

By the end of the first runs Bottas was fastest of all with a 1m11.835s he clocked up towards the close of a 13-lap stint, while Hamilton was just 0.199s in arrears.

Verstappen was a further tenth off but running a shorter 10-lap stint, and seemingly unable to keep the tyres alive over a single lap - either being slow in the first sector but in the Mercedes ballpark in the final third, or vice versa.

Having failed to string together a properly quick lap in his opening run, Leclerc responded with a sizzling 1m11.265s lap at the beginning of his next stint, topping the timesheet by 0.053s as Bottas improved to 1m11.318s and Hamilton to 1m11.478s.

Verstappen's push laps during his second stint were frustrated by traffic and a brush with the barrier at Rascasse; had he been able to connect all the dots, his theoretical best at this point was 1m11.270s rather than the 1m11.539s he registered when crossing the line.

Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to leave the pits for a qualifying simulation with three minutes of the session to run, followed in short order by Leclerc and Bottas, but traffic militated against any of them improving their times.

Antonio Giovinazzi was 'best of the rest' in sixth for Alfa Romeo behind Gasly, albeit half a second off the Red Bull's pace, with a 1m12.170s set late in the session.

The midfield margins were wafer thin: four tenths separated Giovinazzi from Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen, Alexander Albon, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean.

Vettel was classified 14th as neither the McLarens, the Racing Points nor the Williams were able to surpass his early time.

Practice three times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m11.265s - 26
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m11.318s 0.053s 27
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.478s 0.213s 27
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m11.539s 0.274s 24
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda 1m11.738s 0.473s 27
6 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m12.170s 0.905s 23
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m12.194s 0.929s 27
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m12.270s 1.005s 25
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m12.308s 1.043s 27
10 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m12.338s 1.073s 32
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.489s 1.224s 26
12 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.519s 1.254s 26
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m12.566s 1.301s 27
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m12.583s 1.318s 7
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m12.862s 1.597s 29
16 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m12.914s 1.649s 26
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m13.232s 1.967s 23
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m13.622s 2.357s 21
19 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m14.086s 2.821s 27
20 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m14.305s 3.040s 27



shares
comments
Formula 1 dropping standard gearbox plan 'disappoints' Xtrac

Previous article

Formula 1 dropping standard gearbox plan 'disappoints' Xtrac

Next article

Charles Leclerc escapes penalty for Monaco GP practice VSC offence

Charles Leclerc escapes penalty for Monaco GP practice VSC offence
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021