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After Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari topped the time sheets in the first free practice session in Monaco, the first adjustments were made to the set-up for the weekend in the second free practice session.
All eyes were on Mercedes, who brought their upgrades to Monaco after the race at Imola was cancelled due to flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region.
Mercedes scrapped the zero sidepods concept, but will that help them? Hamilton finished the first practice session in 3rd place, whereas his teammate Russell struggled and ended up 15th.
Max Verstappen was also unhappy with his Red Bull – could the team adapt it for the second practice in Monaco?
Nico Hülkenberg and Alex Albon were also problem children – both touched the wall and had to end their first practice session early.
Second practice underway in Monaco
Most drivers left the pitlane directly with the green light to effectively use the short time on the track.
Alex Albon’s car initially remained in the garage as it was still being worked on after his shunt in FP1.
Traffic was an issue in Monaco, as always, and Sergio Perez was frustrated when he encountered slow cars in front of him on a fast lap.
Sebastian Vettel is a welcome guest at Red Bull and Aston Martin this weekend in Monaco.
Good to see you again, Seb. 💚 pic.twitter.com/6DqdksMelU
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) May 26, 2023
After 10 minutes, Verstappen topped the time sheets, just behind with +.0001 seconds followed Hamilton. Alonso remained directly behind – as so often this season in third place.
As time passed, the track improved after rubber was laid. Both Ferraris were on the hard tyres, and Sainz showed strong form.
After twenty minutes of the second session, the Spaniard was in 2nd place, just +0.241 seconds behind Verstappen on medium compound tyres. Charles Leclerc initially found it a little more complicated – he located himself in 7th place.
Midway point in Monte Carlo
Shortly before the thirty-minute mark, the first drivers switched to soft tyres – and Alonso topped the times without further ado. Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo also jumped ahead to 5th place.
Sainz managed to beat Alonso’s time, clocking a 1:12.569, 0.217 seconds faster.
Verstappen hit traffic, so he could only set a personal best time in the final sector. He managed his first flying run on the softs in third place.
Norris also started his first fast laps on the softs and moved up to fifth place, +0.337 behind Sainz’s fastest lap.
Max Verstappen set the fastest time on the grid in the meantime with 1:12.462 on the soft tyres.
Red flags stop the flow
Carlos Sainz had an excellent second free practice – until 16 minutes from the end. He kissed the wall in the swimming pool chicane – similar to his teammate Leclerc two years ago.
Sainz promptly radioed, “Yeah, I crashed, sorry.”
The stoppage due to the red flag was not long so that all drivers could come out again.
Alex Albon also spent some time on the track after his accident in the first practice session. But even on the soft tires, he only managed 20th place for the time being, directly behind his teammate Logan Sargeant.
Verstappen heads the two Ferraris, Alonso fourth 👀#MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/e8pp9EYeRa
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 26, 2023
Feature Image Credit: Peter Fox via Getty Images