Charles Leclerc heads surprise Ferrari one-two in Monaco Grand Prix Thursday practice ahead of Carlos Sainz… with Lewis Hamilton third ahead of title rival Max Verstappen
- Ferrari stormed to the top of the time sheets for Monaco GP Thursday practice
- Lewis Hamilton improved from the morning to go third quickest for Mercedes
- Chief title rival Max Verstappen was one place just shy of the Brit’s time
Charles Leclerc finished second practice as the surprise name at the top of the time charts ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull had been tipped to lead the way around the streets of Monte Carlo, but Leclerc’s pace in Thursday’s afternoon session indicates Ferrari could mount a challenge here this weekend.
Indeed, Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz finished second in the other Ferrari, with Lewis Hamilton third, one spot ahead of championship rival Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc surprised many by going quickest for Ferrari during Thursday practice
Charles Leclerc headed a Ferrari one-two around the streets of Monte Carlo
Hamilton, who heads into this weekend’s fifth round of the campaign 14 points clear of Verstappen, predicted that Red Bull will be tough to beat at a venue which has suited their machinery in previous seasons.
But Verstappen finished four tenths off Leclerc’s pace, while team-mate Sergio Perez was only eighth, one second back. Hamilton ended the day 0.390secs slower than Leclerc.
Formula One is back in Monte Carlo after last year’s race was pulled from the sport’s coronavirus-hit schedule. It marked the first time since 1954 that the sport’s grandest event did not feature.
The session came to an early end after a red flag was shown following an incident where the Haas of Mick Schumacher (not pictured) had pulled off the circuit
MONACO GP SECOND PRACTICE
1 Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1min 11.684sec
2 Sainz (Spa) Ferrari 1:11.796
3 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:12.074
4 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:12.081
5 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:12.107
6 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:12.379
7 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1:12.498
8 Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:12.708
9 Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:12.746
10 Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:12.982
11 Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:13.065
12 Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:13.175
13 Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:13.195
14 Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:13.199
15 Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:13.257
16 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:13.509
17 Latifi (Can) Williams 1:13.593
18 Mazepin (Raf) Haas F1 1:14.407
19 Schumacher (Ger) Haas 1:14.416
20 Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri 1:14.829
The unique street circuit is considered among the hardest in F1 and a number of drivers fell victim to the narrow confines of the two-mile course.
First, double world champion Fernando Alonso carried too much speed through Rascasse and hit the barrier. The Alpine driver broke his front wing in the accident and was forced to limp back to the pits for repairs.
Then Sainz nudged the barriers at the swimming pool complex but escaped without significant damage to his Ferrari.
Sergio Perez was fastest for Red Bull in Thursday’s first practice for the Monaco Grand Prix
Perez’s first session times would have been a boost for the Mexican who has struggled in 2021
In the afternoon running, it was the turn of Mick Schumacher. The rookie and son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who triumphed on five occasions in Monte Carlo, lost control of his Haas on the entry of Casino Square and hit the barrier.
He sustained a right-rear puncture in the accident and attempted to make his way back to the pits, virtually on three wheels.
But the 22-year-old was forced to stop on the exit of the tunnel and the red flags were deployed with five minutes remaining.
Brit Lewis Hamilton anticipates a tough weekend for Mercedes and was down in fifth in FP1
The world champion will be hoping to work his way up the order during the weekend
Elsewhere, Valtteri Bottas finished fifth for Mercedes, 0.423secs off the pace. Lando Norris, who earlier this week signed a new long-term deal with McLaren, was sixth, seven tenths back.
Meanwhile four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel struggled with his sight.
‘It feels like my eye is bleeding,’ he reported over the radio. ‘I’m just super emotional or there’s something in my eye.’ The Aston Martin driver ended the day in 10th.
MONACO GP FIRST PRACTICE
1 Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1min 12.487secs
2 Sainz (Spa) Ferrari. 1:12.606
3 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:12.648
4 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1:12.929
5 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:12.995
6 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:13.131
7 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:13.236
8 Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:13.732
9 Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri 1:13.746
10 Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 1:14.081
11 Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:14.090
12 Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 1:14.106
13 Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:14.205
14 Latifi (Can) Williams 1:14.268
15 Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:14.281
16 Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:14.320
17 Mazepin (Raf) Haas 1:14.616
18 Schumacher (Ger) Haas 1:14.801
19 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:14.840
20 Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:19.618
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz ended the first practice session as the second quickest driver
With a Monaco special livery, Britain’s Lando Norris ended was seventh fastest in FP1