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FP2: Verstappen leads Leclerc while Sainz crashes during ultra-close second practice in Monaco

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen topped a tight second practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix on Friday afternoon, lapping marginally quicker than Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz – the latter crashing out in the closing stages.

Given that qualifying – and track position – is so important on the tight and twisty streets of Monte Carlo, FP2 brought plenty of one-lap action, initially on the medium and hard tyres before a move to the soft compound for the first time this weekend.

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Having led the way in the early stages of the session with a strong medium-shod lap, Verstappen maintained his P1 spot on softs by pumping in a time of 1m 12.462s, putting him 0.065s clear of Leclerc, with Sainz a few hundredths further back.

However, a promising session for the Scuderia ended on a sour note when Sainz thumped the right-hand side wall at Turn 15, hopped over the kerbs and slid into the barriers on the exit of Turn 16, damaging his car and bringing out the red flags.

Monaco 2023

Practice 2 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:12.462
2LEC+0.065s
3SAI+0.107s
4ALO+0.22s
5NOR+0.444s
View Full Results

Fernando Alonso placed fourth in his Aston Martin, but the two-time world champion – eager to turn his run of podiums into a victory this weekend – was left to lament traffic on his soft-tyre runs, radioing his team that rivals’ car positioning left him “speechless”.

After losing the first quarter of the session to set-up changes, Lando Norris put his McLaren an impressive fifth on the timesheets, eclipsing the upgraded Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who also swore over the radio after encountering slower cars.

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Valtteri Bottas was the lead Alfa Romeo driver with a solid run to eighth position, while Alpine duo Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon beat Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Mercedes’ George Russell to the final two spots in the top 10.

Zhou Guanyu lapped three-tenths slower than team mate Bottas en route to 13th, followed by Haas pair Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg (the latter bouncing back from his FP1 incident) and the AlphaTauris of Yuki Tsunoda (who picked up a puncture when he clipped the wall at Turn 10) and Nyck de Vries.

2023 Monaco GP FP2: Sainz crashes out of second practice and triggers red flag

Oscar Piastri had a quiet session in his McLaren, posting a time some eight-tenths slower than Norris, while Williams drivers Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant brought up the rear – Albon only hitting the track for the final 10 minutes after his FP1 crash forced mechanics to fit a new gearbox, front wing, rear wing, floor and front-left suspension.

F1 drivers and teams will analyse the data they have collected into the Monaco evening before returning to the track on Saturday, with final practice scheduled to begin at 1230 local time and the all-important qualifying session at 1600.

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