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Monaco GP 2019

MAY 23, 2019

Practice 2 Report - The ones and eights

Monaco GP 2019
© Cahier Archive

By Dan Knutson in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton took the honors in Free Practice 2 for the Monaco Grand Prix with a lap in 1:11.118. That was 0.081 of a second quicker than his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who wound up in the runner-up spot. Sebastian Vettel clocked a 1:11.881 to claim a distant third in his Ferrari.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Hamilton and Bottas; Ferrari – Vettel and Charles Leclerc; Red Bull TAG Heuer –Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly; Renault – Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault – Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris; Racing Point Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Toro Rosso Honda – Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon; Williams Mercedes – George Russell and Robert Kubica.

“A home grand prix is always a special weekend,” said Monaco citizen Leclerc prior to practice starting, “and even more this weekend, obviously, coming here in full red with Ferrari and also with the chance to have a very good result, so we will push. Obviously we’ve had a difficult start to the season. The low-speed corners weren’t great in Barcelona, but normally Monaco is pretty different. We will try to turn things round. It’s not going to be easy but we will give it everything.”

In FP1, however, the Ferraris were still only fourth and fifth best behind the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas and the Red Bull of Verstappen. Hamilton clocked a lap of 1:12.106 in FP1.

Those three and Vettel stayed in the pits in the early going as Giovinazzi clocked a 1:13.794. Albon improved on that and turned a 1:13.082.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Centigrade).

Ten minutes in, the now on-track Vettel set a 1:12.982 only to have Albon beat that at 1:12.834. And now Bottas, Leclerc and Hamilton joined the fray.

The Mercedes drivers were on the medium compound Pirelli slicks, but Bottas still managed a 1:12.708 followed by a 1:12.315. Hamilton moved into second at 1:12.381, then took over first at 1:11.926. That was 0.660 of a second quicker than Vettel’s third-place on the soft tires.

Bottas then improved to a 1:11.959.

Actually it was Verstappen who got the closest to the Mercedes pair as he took over third by setting a 1:12.052.

Leclerc was gearing up for a fast lap but had to back off when Russell went off in Turn 1.

At the half-hour mark the order was: Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Gasly, Vettel, Albon, Leclerc, Norris, Sainz and Hulkenberg.

Vettel then got down to a 1:11.881 on the soft tires. And the order further down the top ten continued to shift around.

Forty minutes into the session Bottas did a run on the softs and turned a 1:11.597 and then a 1:11.275. Hamilton was now third ahead of Albon, Verstappen, Gasly, Magnussen and Giovinazzi.

Hamilton tried a fast run but had traffic and backed off. Gasly, meanwhile, moved up to fourth just past the midpoint of FP2. Then Hamilton had another go and his 1:11.245 netted him the lead. But not for long as Bottas responded by turning a 1:11.199.

Hamilton’s next attempt ended with him go straight at Turn 1. He geared up for another go that resulted in the lead at 1:11.118.

Verstappen was now out of his car which had a swarm of mechanics working on it with just over 30 minutes remaining in the session. The order was now: Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Gasly, Albon, Verstappen, Magnussen, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen and Leclerc.

The Mercedes drivers were now concentrating on long runs as were most of the others. Vettel provided some drama by locking up, going straight, and coming within a few inches of hitting the barriers at St. Devote.

Verstappen finally got back out on track, but radioed in that the car was not handling well at all. Plus he had traffic, and therefore could not improve on his sixth place.

The top ten remained the same at the end of FP2.