June 6, 2023

Verstappen quickest as Sainz ends his Friday in the barriers · RaceFans


Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended Friday practice in Monaco as the fastest driver as Carlos Sainz Jnr crashed his Ferrari into the barriers.

Verstappen narrowly went faster than the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sainz in the session. The latter crashed at the exit of the Swimming Pool chicane which ended his running with 20 minutes of the session remaining.

Just as in the earlier session, drivers had clear blue skies and warm temperatures greeting when when they headed out for the second and final hour of practice for the day. All teams sent their cars out on medium compound tyres save for Ferrari, who opted for hards for their first runs of the session.

Two cars did not join the early rush. After crashing into the barriers at the end of first practice, Alexander Albon was left stuck in the garage as his Williams mechanics continued to work on repairs to his car. Lando Norris also was confined to the garage as McLaren worked on the front of his car.

Gallery: Monaco Grand Prix practice in pictures

Fernando Alonso set the first representative time of the session with a 1’14.611, before Verstappen became the first driver of the day to break into the 1’13s to go quickest of all. His team mate Sergio Perez went second with a lap almost three tenths slower, before Alonso improved to split the two Red Bulls.

Lewis Hamilton briefly popped up to the top of the times in the updated Mercedes, beating Verstappen’s best by just one-thousandth of a second, before the championship leader shaved a tenth off his personal best to retake the top spot. Norris was sent out for his first laps in the McLaren 10 minutes into the session.

After teams called in their drivers to make adjustments, Alonso was sent out on soft compound tyres for the first time in the day. He blitzed around the circuit and went easily fastest of all with a 1’12.786. The two Mercedes of George Russell and Hamilton moved to around four tenths of a second away from the Aston Martin driver, while Esteban Ocon went second just ahead of the Mercedes.

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Next it was Ferrari’s turn to test the soft tyres, with Sainz – the fastest driver in first practice – moving to the front with a 1’12.569. Leclerc could not match his team mate’s best time on the softs, going third fastest, while Verstappen also could not emulate Sainz and replaced Leclerc in third, 0.168s slower than the best time.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Verstappen improved to a 1’12.462 to move back to the top of the times, a tenth of a second faster than Sainz’s previous benchmark. Leclerc improved to go just over half a tenth away from Verstappen into second place ahead of his team mate.

Sainz continued to push on his soft tyres in an attempt to reclaim the fastest time, but he misjudged the exit of the Swimming Pool chicane and clipped the inside barrier, damaging his suspension and sending him into the outside barrier. With the Ferrari laying crashed at the side of the road, the red flags flew so Sainz’s car could be cleared.

When the session resumed, there was just over ten minutes of running remaining. As cars heading back out, Albon finally joined his fellow drivers on track for the first time in the session, Williams having finally finished repairing his car.

There were no major improvements in the final minutes of the session as teams appeared to focus more on race pace and higher fuel runs. When the chequered flag flew at the end of the hour, Verstappen was confirmed as the fastest in the session, just six hundredths of a second faster than Leclerc and a tenth ahead of Sainz in third.

Alonso was fourth in the Aston Martin, with Norris fifth in the McLaren despite his early delay. Hamilton was sixth in the Mercedes, with Perez seventh ahead of Valtteri Bottas and the two Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon which completed the top ten.

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