Leclerc fastest & under investigation while Vettel crashes out

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished the final practice session fastest ahead of the two Mercedes drivers, but is under investigation by the race stewards.

Hometown hero Charles Leclerc has finished the final practice session ahead of qualifying in Monte Carlo as fastest man. The Ferrari driver did a 1:11.265 on the Soft compound tyres to finish less than half a tenth clear of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. However, Leclerc is under investigation by the race stewards for driving too fast under Virtual Safety Car conditions which were in effect for a few minutes a third of the way through the session.

The VSC conditions were deployed to cover the recovery of Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel. The German driver crashed at the fifteen minute mark of the session, locking up into Ste. Devote in a near identical mistake to the one he made at the same spot on Thursday. While he got away with it on that occasion, Vettel wasn’t able to stop his car on time. Sliding wide into the barriers, the resulting damage means that Ferrari face an uphill task to get the car ready before qualifying.

While Leclerc finished fastest ahead of Bottas, it was Lewis Hamilton in P3 for Mercedes a further two tenths behind his teammate. However, neither Merc went quicker than the times they managed on Thursday, suggesting that they have more time to find. Max Verstappen closely shadowed Hamilton’s time, finishing 0.061 behind the reigning Champion in his Red Bull.

Pierre Gasly was P5 in the second Red Bull, less than half a second from the front. Antonio Giovinazzi was a stellar P6 for Alfa Romeo, half a second behind the Red Bull driver. Daniil Kvyat, having struggled on Thursday, underlined Toro Rosso’s promise by finishing FP3 in P7 ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. Kimi Raikkonen showed Giovinazzi’s pace was no fluke, as the Finn finished P9 in the second Alfa Romeo. Alex Albon, one of the star performers from Thursday, finished P10.

Nico Hulkenberg led a Renault 11-12 with Daniel Ricciardo 0.030 off the pace of his teammate. Romain Grosjean was P13 for Haas, while the hapless Sebastian Vettel classified P14 due to his very early laps in the session. Carlos Sainz won the McLaren battle by finishing P15, and half a tenth clear of Lando Norris. Sergio Perez led the Racing Point charge by finishing P17 ahead of Lance Stroll while the Williams pair of Robert Kubica and George Russell brought up the rear.

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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