Ominous pace from Ferrari’s Vettel as Merc struggle – FP2 Report

Monaco Grand Prix – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has set a new lap record for the Monaco circuit, lapping almost half a second faster than anyone else in second practice in Monte Carlo. Daniel Ricciardo was P2 for Red Bull, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen taking P3.

Click here for the complete results from FP2.

With Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg & Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson both missing FP1 due to technical problems, it was no surprise to see both men head out on track as the light turned green for the start of FP2. The pace was immediately hot, with early times from the Toro Rossos impressing. Daniil Kvyat went fastest, before Carlos Sainz pipped him, with Kvyat responding with a 1:13.331 to eclipse Lewis Hamilton’s morning record breaking laptime. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull then became an interloper in the Toro Rosso battle, but couldn’t quite match Kvyat’s pace as he settled into P2.

Behind the leading three, Lewis Hamilton had to settle for P5 after his initial run, with Valtteri Bottas just a little ahead. Hamilton, running the SuperSoft tyres, had complained about tyre warmup issues on his car, seemingly borne out by his comparative lack of pace. The Ferraris then got involved at the front, with Kimi Raikkonen going P3, just 0.2 off the best time set by Ricciardo.

Approaching half distance in the session, it was Daniel Ricciardo fastest with a 1:13.280 on the UltraSoft tyre, ahead of Daniil Kvyat by 0.051 seconds. Carlos Sainz continued to show Toro Rosso’s strength by usurping Kimi Raikkonen to snatch back P3, with Raikkonen down to P4 ahead of Verstappen and Vettel. However, Raikkonen then showed Ferrari’s pace by putting in a time just 0.003 off Ricciardo’s, but Mercedes continued to loiter over half a second off the pace on the same tyre compound.

At the fifty minute mark in the session, Sebastian Vettel & Ferrari decided to show what they can do by putting in a stunning 1:12.759, half a second clear of anyone and more than a second clear of the best time set by Lewis Hamilton.

With twenty five minutes remaining, the circuit barriers claimed their first victim of the weekend. Monaco debutant Lance Stroll put his Williams in the wall at Massanet, having lost control at the top of the hill. Clouting the Armco, his car was heavily damaged and the red flags were shown as his car was cleared.

The session resumed after a brief spell, and many of the drivers opted to switch over to concentrate on long runs until the end. There were no significant changes in the order, and Vettel’s record time remained fastest, ahead of Ricciardo & Raikkonen. Daniil Kvyat finished P4 for Toro Rosso, with Carlos Sainz just behind in P5.

Max Verstappen was P6 for Toro Rosso, ahead of Sergio Perez’ Force India. By Mercedes’ standards, Lewis Hamilton languished in P8, ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen & the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

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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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