F1 Monaco GP: Leclerc pips Sainz in FP2 as Ricciardo crashes – Autosport

Carlos Sainz finished second ahead of Red Bull pair Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, who was unable to gain as much time on ageing rubber during the qualifying simulation efforts in the mid-part of FP2 compared to his team-mate.
At the start of the second session of Friday afternoon, most cars headed out immediately on the medium tyres – which only Ferrari used at the start of FP1.
Conversely, the red cars began the second session running the hard tyres, which meant Leclerc and Sainz ran adrift of early pace-setter Perez, who had deposed Alex Albon at the head of the times after three minutes of the one-hour session had passed.
Perez’s 1m16.176s stood as the initial benchmark before Leclerc forged ahead on a 1m15.763s after five minutes had passed, with Sainz then slotting into first on a 1m14.880s, as the drivers quickly built back towards the confidence levels they had reached in FP1 and has additional rubber was put down on the racing line.
After 10 minutes, Perez’s 1m14.001s on the mediums put him back ahead, now with Verstappen trailing behind and with Leclerc’s subsequent effort as the opening 15 minutes came to a close putting him third.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
At this stage proceedings were halted when Ricciardo crashed heavily at the second part of the Swimming Pool complex.
Moments after Sebastian Vettel had dramatically saved a sideways moment at the same spot to avoid a smash into the barriers aboard his Aston Martin, Ricciardo, who was on his first timed lap of FP2 as he had missed the first chunk of running, lost his McLaren’s rear as he turned in for the Turn 13 left-hand apex at the entry to the sequence.
As Ricciardo reacted the sudden slide, the car snapped left and hit the barriers on the outside of the first Swimming Pool chicane, knocking off its front wing and smashing its left-front wheel. The wrecked machine then slid along the track and hitting the barriers on inside the second Swimming Pool chicane.
After a near 10-minute delay the session restarted, with most of the field switching to softs to complete their qualifying simulations – even more critical practice than usual at a track that offers so little chance for overtaking.
Fernando Alonso used his red-walled rubber to briefly move into first place with a 1m13.912s, before the following Perez shot back to the head of the times on a 1m13.324s.
After Verstappen had slotted in behind his team-mate, Leclerc led the Ferrari charge on the softs, going back to the top spot with a 1m13.125s – bettering Perez’s time by 0.199s.
Here, the two front-running teams diverged on approaches to the first set of softs they were running, with the Red Bull drivers pushing for a second time after two slow cool-down tours, while Leclerc did likewise after one slower lap.
Verstappen set a then best time on the middle sector as he forged ahead with a 1m13.103s before Leclerc, by now running closer on the track to his title rival due to his shorter gap between push efforts, responded with the first time in the 1m12s bracket.
Leclerc’s 1m12.764s moved him further clear of the Red Bulls, with Sainz then taking second behind his team-mate, 0.302s behind.
While Sainz returned to the pits at this stage with 25 minutes left, Leclerc continued with his run on his first set of softs – setting a third flier at 1m12.656s that featured big gains in the first and final sectors.
That stood as the best time to the end of the session, with Leclerc’s fourth flying lap – after he had visited the pits – starting off with the best time in the first sector before he had to abandon the effort after coming across Nicholas Latifi going slowly through the Swimming Pool corners.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Sainz had cut the gap to clear to 0.221s as the final third commenced, but after a third visit to the pits before continuing to push on softs he managed to post a 1m12.700s, which ended up just 0.044s slower than Leclerc with the session’s quickest time in the middle sector.
After the action on the softs, the Red Bull drivers switched to high-fuel running much earlier than the Ferrari drivers, who only spent the final 10 minutes gathering long-run data.
Before that, Perez had found time with his third and final softs flier to end up third, 0.379s slower than Leclerc, while Verstappen did not make a similar gain and so was shuffled back to fourth.
Lando Norris took fifth in the other McLaren – the Briton having an eventful session after glancing the barriers at Ste Devote just past the halfway point. He then saved a big slide through the final corners and a few laps later the Brit locked his right-front heavily and having to dive down the Ste Devote escape road during the closing stages.
George Russell, who also reported hitting the wall at the end of his qualifying simulation efforts – his incident at Tabac – was sixth for Mercedes, but complained of a lack of engine power approaching the end of FP2.
Pierre Gasly was seventh for AlphaTauri ahead of Alonso and Vettel, while Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Lewis Hamilton ended up 12th, his best lap 1.611s slower than Leclerc, with the seven-time world champion reporting a heavily flat-spotted left-front tyre during the early running and then had one of his qualifying simulation runs ruined by a double lock-up into Mirabeau. That meant he had to take to the escape road at the downhill, left-hander.
Valtteri Bottas’s FP1 throttle issue was rectified with enough time for him to immediately head out in FP2 – the Finn finishing 13th.
The other driver to lose much of FP1 – Haas’s Mick Schumacher – was also out early after his team had fitted a replacement gearbox and MGU-K, after the MGU-K he had been running in FP1 failed and overloaded the gearbox he had been using in the opening session.
Schumacher ended FP2 in 17th place, with Ricciardo the only driver not to set a time during the session.
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