Verstappen back on top in FP2 as Sainz crashes

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Max Verstappen topped the second practice session at Monaco this weekend as he looks to have found his feet in his RB19. Mercedes will be feeling mixed emotions following their updates, as George Russell struggles with his Mercedes, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton ends the session in P6. Ferrari went second and third fastest as the Aston Martin of Alonso is hot on their heels in P4.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

As the drivers set out for the second practice session of the weekend, teams will be eager to fine tune their setups ahead of the most important qualifying session of the year. The traffic mayhem resumed with most of the drivers out on the track at all times, learning and adapting their cars to the tight and tricky streets of Monaco.

Mercedes’ highly anticipated upgrades have so far proven promising, with seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton often finding himself battling Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso for top spot early on.

Over at Ferrari, things got agonizingly close as Carlos Sainz almost drove into the back of his oblivious team-mate at the exit of the swimming pool chicane. The Spaniard approaching at full speed rapidly met the rear-wing of his slowing Monegasque team-mate and did well to avoid a collision.

With more than 5 minutes until we reach the halfway point of the session, it’s back to business for Red bull as Max Verstappen led another 1-2 for the Bulls. Checo was 0.336s adrift from his World Champion team-mate who went fastest with a 1.13.312.

Aston Martin released their drivers on fresh softs, being the first to do so. Alonso de-crowned Verstappen for top spot and went 0.526s quicker than the Dutchman. Team-mate Lance Stroll split the two bulls with a 1.13.642.

As we reach the halfway point of the session, Sainz took a fresh set of softs and put his red Ferrari on top spot, being the first driver to dip into the 1:12s with a 1:12.569. Alonso and Ocon rounded off the top 3 at that stage.

A few minutes later, both Red Bull Bulls went out for their first runs on the Soft compound tyres. An unsatisfied Verstappen only managed to put his RB19 in third, 0.168s away from Sainz. Meanwhile, Perez went fifth fastest, ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Williams’ Alex Albon made his first appearance of the session with 23 minutes to go. The team pulled of an impressive repair job following his shunt at Sainte Devote in FP1 and had to replace Albon’s Gearbox, floor, front left suspension, and his rear wing, forcing the team to use the “old” rear wing.

With just under 20 minutes left of the session, Yuki Tsunoda and Carlos Sainz both hit the barrier, in separate incidents. Tsunoda’s Alpha Tauri pretty much replicated Nico Hulkenberg’s incident in FP1, puncturing his left rear tyre on the wall sticking out at the Nouvelle chicane.

Sainz fell victim of the second chicane at the swimming pool section and brought out the red flag. Whilst on a push lap, the Spaniard turned right and he clipped the barrier with his right front tyre which broke the suspension sending the SF-23 across the chicane into the wall opposite him.

As the session resumed, most drivers began their race runs on the medium compound tyre and with five minutes to go, Max Verstappen led the field with a 1:12.462.

Leclerc and Sainz completed the top 3, with Alonso in fourth, Norris in fifth and Hamilton rounding off the top six, with all drivers being within 5 tenths of Max Verstappen, as the Dutchman looks to re-assert his dominance in F1.