Both teams returned to the grid for a second free practice session ahead of the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, hoping to apply the lessons learned from Friday morning’s first practice.
The session was led by Carlos Sainz Jr. from Ferrari, followed by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Leader Max Verstappen, who appeared to be struggling against his RB19 setup, took seventh place in morning practice.
Sergio Pérez, Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate, and Charles Leclerc completed the top five from the morning session.
Leclerc hopes to finally break through with a win in Monaco, riding the streets he grew up on. Leclerc’s bitter history at Monaco is well documented, but with one lap pace this year’s Ferrari looking strong, there’s a good chance he could be in pole position on Sunday, with the chance to finally win at home.
The 2023 Monaco Grand Prix is set for Sunday, and here’s everything you need to know to watch. Until then, we’ll give you a hands-on overview of the second training session.
Before we get started on FP2, here are some moments from today’s FP1. First we see Nico Hülkenberg taking a stab in his left rear:
And then this from Alex Albon who had FP1 shut down early, because he lost the rear on the exit of Turn 1:
In the pre-training event at F1TV Will Buxton confirmed that the first practice session, which saw Ferrari duo Sainz and Leclerc in the top five, was run with all teams on hard or medium tyres. While that may speak of race pace, qualifying in Monaco is a ballgame, so we’ll learn more when the team takes to the road on soft tyres.
Sam Collins, back to F1TV the studio, discussed the improvements Mercedes have brought to Monaco, showing the “conventional” sidepods, which are being compared to what we saw this year from Alpine and Aston Martin.
Collins also noted that Mercedes “could do well” at the Monaco Grand Prix as a result of changes to their W14.
Mercedes isn’t the only team with some new components for Monaco. In this video from Haas, Matteo Piraccini walks viewers through some of the changes they’ve made:
Before we go green, let’s take a moment to appreciate the sights from Monaco:
And now FP2 is underway, but not for Albon. The team is still working on Albon’s car after his crash in FP1.
FP2 starts with every team except Ferrari on medium tires. Leclerc and Sainz are running in a tough complex.
After the first set time, Verstappen topped the timetable, followed by Alonso, Hamilton, Russell, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Leclerc, Kevin Magnussen, Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon completing the top ten.
Meanwhile, Buxton reported from Lando Norris’ garage that some extensive work was being done for Norris’ MCL60, suggesting that the “frantic” work being done made it look like routine.
Ten minutes into the session, Hamilton raced to the top of the standings with a lap time of 1:13.984.
Maybe Gino. Possible.
15 minutes into practice, the current top five are Verstappen, Alonso, Sainz, Hamilton and Ocon. However, one might consider the Advantage: Ferrari, given that Sainz clocked the hard compound, while the other four clocked the medium.
So you want to become an F1 driver:
We also need to take a moment and appreciate the cover that Valtteri Bottas has brought to the grid. this week:
F1TV cutting back to Collins in the studio, and Motorsport Engineering Reporter walks us through the changes Alpine has brought to the track this week. The team has revamped the sidepods, following in Aston Martin’s footsteps.
Given what Aston Martin and AMR23 have done this season, that might not be such a bad idea.
Speaking of Aston Martin, in the 36th minute Alonso posted a lap time of 1:12.786, propelling him to the top of the standings. Many believe that this could be the week that Alonso takes his 33rd career F1 win.
For the record, the spin comes from a soft compound. Bottas also posted a lap in the softs which pushed him to P3 for now
There’s a second terrifying moment later with Russell exiting the tunnel and descending towards the tricky Nouvelle Chicane. Russell had to go off course to avoid running behind Alonso, which triggered a radio relay from the Aston Martin driver to his team:
On the way, here are the current top ten:
Go for a walk
Of those ten, only Red Bull duo Verstappen and Pérez used medium tires. The other eight recorded their time at the soft compound.
Leclerc pulled off an incredible spin in the 28th minute, propelling himself into the top three:
This is Carlos P1 and Charles P3 for now!#MonacoGP
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 26, 2023
With their initial run on soft tyres, Verstappen went to P3, and Pérez to P5:
If you thought this was going to be a weekend where Red Bull would be vulnerable, that might support that position.
Here are the top eight with around 26 minutes remaining:
Meanwhile, with around 24 minutes of the session remaining, Albon was still in the garage while the team at Williams continued to work on his car.
Leclerc at about 23 minutes radioed to his team that the front end of his SF-23 was “jumping a bit”.
Welcome to Alex’s track!
Oh wait, Verstappen posted 1:121.462 with 21 minutes remaining to get himself to the front of the court. Death, taxes and Verstappen ahead.
Alonso seems to play in:
Is it time to talk about Norris? With less than 20 minutes left, Norris sits in P5, despite missing the early part of the session.
Was this just a shameless opportunity to wrap up my private interview with Norris a few weeks ago? Possible …