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FP2 - Hamilton tops rain-disrupted Monaco session

21 May 2015

The weather was the dominant factor in Thursday’s second practice in Monte Carlo. Rain arrived around 20 minutes into the session - just after Marussia’s Roberto Merhi had crashed exiting the tunnel, briefly bringing out the red flags - and rendered subsequent lap time improvements all but impossible.

PRACTICE 2 RESULTS

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes 1:17.192 12
2 6 Nico Rosberg ROS Mercedes 1:17.932 +0.740s 16
3 5 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari 1:18.295 +1.103s 14
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen RAI Ferrari 1:18.543 +1.351s 15
5 26 Daniil Kvyat KVY Red Bull Racing 1:18.548 +1.356s 16
6 55 Carlos Sainz SAI Toro Rosso 1:18.659 +1.467s 14
7 33 Max Verstappen VES Toro Rosso 1:18.782 +1.590s 12
8 14 Fernando Alonso ALO McLaren 1:18.906 +1.714s 18
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg HUL Force India 1:19.151 +1.959s 13
10 8 Romain Grosjean GRO Lotus 1:19.266 +2.074s 13

A few drivers ventured back out on a damp track in the final ten minutes, but it meant Lewis Hamilton was left sitting pretty atop the timesheet, seven-tenths clear of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg and over a second ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Team mate Kimi Raikkonen backed Vettel up in fourth, followed by Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, and the Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and FP1 star Max Verstappen. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Lotus’s Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

All drivers set their quickest times on the soft rubber. Only Pastor Maldonado got as far as switching to the supersoft tyre, but the Lotus driver did so just as the heavens opened and was lucky to make it back to the pits without incident, such was the obvious lack of grip.

The conditions made it difficult to read too much into the timesheets. Hamilton's quickest lap was a 1m 17.192s, but his advantage of 0.740s to Rosberg - who posted 1m 17.932s - and to Vettel, on 1m 18.295s, owed much to the fact neither had the chance or time to reply to the Briton's flyer.

The same held true for the rest of the field. Raikkonen was fourth on 1m 18.543s, confirming Ferrari's position, with Kvyat a very close fifth with 1m 18.548s in the leading Red Bull. The Russian also looked quick in the wet conditions, although they are not expected to be repeated over the rest of the weekend.

Sainz and Verstappen were split by just over one-tenth of a second, on 1m 18.659s to 1m 18.782s respectively, with Alonso a similar gap behind on 1m 18.906s.

A 1m 19.151s was enough to put Nico Hulkenberg ninth, ahead of Lotus's Romain Grosjean on 1m 19.266s, Force India team mate Sergio Perez on 1m 19.300s, and the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas on 1m 19.560s and 1m 19.566s respectively. Maldonado secured 14th with 1m 19.577s, edging Jenson Button's McLaren on 1m 19.606s and Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull on 1m 19.639s.

Sauber continued to struggle, with Felipe Nasr on 1m 20.263s for 17th and Marcus Ericsson failing to run due to technical problems. Merhi beat Marussia team mate Will Stevens this time with 1m 22.017s to 1m 22.943s, only to also cause a brief stoppage when he lost the rear of his car under braking coming out of the tunnel and swiped the barriers with his nose cone. Damage was light and the stricken car was soon wheeled away - but even so the rain had hit before the session resumed, leaving the teams with plenty of unknowns and lengthy to-do lists ahead of FP3 on Saturday morning.