After one day off from track action, the engines are ready to roar again in a sunny Monaco.
The weather forecast predicted rain to fall on the street circuit, but the sun is shining bright, with a track temperature of 32°. The chance of rain is still 40% for FP3, so who know if we’ll have some surprises in time for Qualifying.
The available Pirelli tyres for the weekend are the C3 (hard), C4 (medium) and C5 (soft).
On Friday Mercedes dominated both sessions. During FP1 Max Verstappen and his Red Bull split both Mercedes, while in FP2 Vettel was able to make it to the top 3. Only 10th Charles Leclerc, local hero, who needs a flawless performance this afternoon if he wants to celebrate his first victory here in Montecarlo.
Both Carlos Sainz and the Haas drivers have to recover some time lost during Free Practice 1: the Spaniard had a battery issue which forced him to stay in his box all session long, while the Haas had an issue with the telemetry and radio communications.
The first significative lap time is clocked by Valtteri Bottas after 15 minutes of action. With a lap time of 1.12.238s the Finn leads Vettel and Leclerc, while Hamilton is back in 8th position, complaining about some vibrations. Before the green flag, his mechanics were working on the front suspensions.
While Hamilton puts himself in 2nd position behind his team mate, Sebastian Vettel loses his Ferrari at the Sainte Devote, hitting the barriers. Front wing and suspension broken for him, it is going to be a busy day for the Prancing Horse mechanics, who will have to wait until the end of the session to repair the damages.
Meanwhile Leclerc is investigated for a procedure infringement during the Virtual Safety Car period. The Monegasque will know if he is going to get a penalty after the end of the session.
After the end of the brief period of Virtual Safety Car, the actions continue smoothly, as Verstappen puts himself in 3rd position. Is he going to be the one to challenge Mercedes in Qualifying?
Twenty minutes into the session and Kimi Raikkonen is currently 7th while his team mate Antonio Giovinazzi is 10th. Alfa Romeo showed a good pace on Thursday, a Q3 placement would be great for the team to celebrate the 300th Grand Prix for Kimi Raikkonen and to give a good start for tomorrow race for Antonio Giovinazzi, who needs to deliver and collect his first points.
After 30 minutes Valtteri Bottas raises the bar and clocks a lap time of 1.11.835s. Last year’s pole lap time was a 1.10.810s (Daniel Ricciardo). A new record is probably on the way.
Speaking of Ricciardo, the Australian, who won the GP last year, is still struggling with his Renault. He is 14th when there are only 20 minutes left, led by his team mate Nico Hulkenberg in 13th position. They both improve their lap time, placing themselves in 6th and 7th position.
Leclerc clocks another fastest time with a new set of Soft tyres, scoring the best time in Sector 2, with 1.11.265s and nobody can make better than him in this session.
We’ve seen a lot of rescues have been made during the session in several parts of the track, but Sebastian Vettel was the only one to hit the barriers.
Leclerc closes on top, followed by Bottas and Hamilton. In 4th Verstappen, followed by his team mate Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi who finishes in a good 6th position. Great job from the Toro Rosso as well, as Kvyat finishes 7th and Albon is 10th.