Max Verstappen wins FP2 and Carlos Sainz crashes

As FP1 front-runner Carlos Sainz crashed and brought out the red flag, Max Verstappen won the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Except for the two Ferrari hard-shod cars, almost the entire field started their lap counters on medium tyres, and as the times dropped, the record for the fastest lap time swiftly changed hands. Lando Norris took a remarkable fifth place for McLaren, while Fernando Alonso finished fourth for Aston Martin. Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly, and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10. They finished within seven-tenths of Verstappen's record time. As practice began, there was a long line at the end of Monaco's narrow pit lane. The drivers were eager to get out onto the circuit as soon as possible in order to make the most of their session time.

Early on, it was Alonso, Verstappen, and Hamilton battling it out, with Verstappen's 1:13.857 putting him a tenth clear of Hamilton, and after a few runs on medium tyres, Alonso put himself in the middle of his fellow World Champions, just 0.015 seconds behind Verstappen's benchmark before Red Bull's driver improved to 1:13.567. Despite the fact that Sainz, the fastest driver in FP1, finished third on hard tyres and was followed by teammate Leclerc in what ultimately turned out to be a Red Bull one-two in the opening runs, the real test of one-lap speed would not occur until the qualifying simulations with soft tyres on. It was the Aston Martins who were the first to use soft tyres and Alonso was the first to dip below 1:13 this weekend. Comparing his time on medium tyres with his 1:12.786, he improved nine-tenths.

Sainz, however, continued to outperform his fellow countryman by clocking a 1:12.569, which indicates that Ferrari is still competitive this weekend. Verstappen recorded the fastest opening sector of all the drivers, but after weaving through slower cars on his rapid lap, he finished third-fastest overall. However, after attempting a second lap, the Red Bull driver moved back to the top of the standings with a time of 1:12.462, knocking Sainz off the lead. Then, Leclerc moved in between the Dutchman and his Ferrari teammate. When Yuki Tsunoda clipped the wall at the Nouvelle Chicane entrance and punctured his AlphaTauri, it served as a reminder of the dangers of Monaco.

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Sainz, however, soon caused the red flag to be raised after colliding with the interior wall on the second apex of the Swimming Pool section. The Spaniard was forced into the wall on the exit after turning right a tiny bit too soon and clipping the barrier. Though his Ferrari technicians needed to put in some more effort to make his car ready for the race on Saturday, he avoided injury. With just 12 minutes left in the session, the marshals cleaned up the wrecked Ferrari and the session resumed. Unfortunately, the session's final minutes were devoted to race runs, so there were no further opportunities for performance runs. Despite being involved in a collision, Sainz valiantly claimed third place on the leaderboard, solidifying Verstappen's dominance at the top. Leclerc trailed less than a tenth of a second behind Verstappen after giving his all in the session.

Although Lando Norris had to deal with electrical problems that delayed the start and required repairs in the McLaren garage, he still almost matched Fernando Alonso's record. He also secured a fantastic fifth place in the race. Due to some issues with his car, the British driver was instructed to decrease throttle inputs to prevent an unscheduled pit stop. Although Sergio Perez held seventh place on the timing screens, Hamilton secured sixth place driving his Mercedes. However, he was aware that he didn't have the required equipment to push for a faster time. Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon clinched the top 10 spots, with Lance Stroll from Aston Martin trailing closely behind. Additionally, Bottas outperformed the two Alpines, finishing eighth. 

Alex Albon's Williams FW45 suffered a crash in FP1. However, the team repaired the car sufficiently, allowing Alex to return to the session. Alex Albon wrapped up the session by overtaking his teammate Logan Sargeant and securing the 19th position on the leaderboard.

Monaco GP FP2 Results:

POSTIMEDRIVER
11:12.462Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
21:12.527Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
31:12.569Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
41:12.682Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
51:12.906Lando Norris (McLaren)
61:12.960Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
71:12.991Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing)
81:13.050Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
91:13.089Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
101:13.162Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
111:13.185Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
121:13.191George Russell (Mercedes)
131:13.354Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
141:13.457Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
151:13.520Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
161:13.641Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
171:13.663Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri)
181:13.673Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
191:14.217Alex Albon (Williams)
201:14.238Logan Sargeant (Williams)

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