Vettel takes charge in Monaco for FP2

© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel put in an impressive Thursday afternoon performance to go fastest in the second free practice session in Monaco.

His lap of 1:12.720s was set midway through the session. It was almost half a second faster than the next-best time, which was posted by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

Vetel's Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen was third faster ahead of the Toro Rosso pair of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz, with Max Verstappen sixth fastest comfortably ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez by a quarter of a second.

After topping the timesheets in FP1, Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas seemed oddly lacklustre in the afternoon. Hamilton was eighth fastest, with Haas' Kevin Magnussen splitting the two Silver Arrows in ninth place.

On the occasion of his one-off return to Formula 1, former world champion Jenson Button acquitted himself well with 12th place at the end of the day. That put him just behind his McLaren team mate Stoffel Vandoorne. The Briton celebrated his return by with an artful overtaking move on Vettel through the chicane on the final lap.

It had been a fairly laid back start to the second free practice session. Having missed out on track time in the morning with an ERS issue, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was first to come out after lunch. Raikkonen, Vandoorne, the two Toro Rossos, and the Haas cars of Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were among the other quick starters benefiting from a relatively clear track.

On his first day running at Monaco, Force India's Esteban Ocon made early contact with the barrier heading into Portier. He was able to return to pit lane for a check-up and was soon back out on track. That was in contrast to Jolyon Palmer who suffered an engine failure into Mirabeau, which forced him to park the Renault. The Briton was unable to take any further part in the session.

Marcus Ericsson was another driver seeking to make up for lost time, having suffered a gearbox failure in FP1. Twenty minutes into the session, he had a moment in Casino Square and lost the backend of the Sauber. The rear left of the car hit the outside barrier, sending him back to pit lane for a check-up before being able to resume.

Half an hour into the session, Ricciardo put Red Bull at the top of the times with a lap of 1:13.280s ahead of Kvyat, with Max Verstappen in third a tenth faster than Vettel followed by Sainz and Grosjean. The two McLarens were both in the top eight, Vandoorne just ahead of his new-this-week team mate Jenson Button. The top ten were rounded off by the two Mercedes drivers, Hamilton in particular struggling to get the supersofts up to temperature.

A switch to ultrasofts vaulted Vettel to the top of the timings ahead of Ricciardo with Raikkonen climbing to third ahead of the two Toro Rossos and Verstappen. However, ultrasofts failed to deliver a similar boost to either of the Mercedes drivers who remained stalled at the rear of the top ten.

Shortly before the one-hour mark, Lance Stroll became the latest to hit the barriers. In this case it was no mere glancing blow. The Williams lost grip as it crested Massenet and made heavy impact with the barrier at the left hander entering Casino Square. The damaged FW40 was hoisted away by the crane during a brief red flag stoppage.

When the session resumed, traffic was a major factor preventing drivers from improving their times. Teams switched to long distance simulations to gather tyre data, meaning there was little change in the order on the timing screens through to the chequered flag.

Free Practice 2 results

1Sebastian VettelFerrari1:12.720s38
2Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:13.207s+ 0.487s35
3Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:13.283s+ 0.563s45
4Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:13.331s+ 0.611s41
5Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:13.400s+ 0.680s42
6Max VerstappenRed Bull1:13.486s+ 0.766s35
7Sergio PérezForce India1:13.799s+ 1.079s44
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:13.873s+ 1.153s31
9Kevin MagnussenHaas1:13.890s+ 1.170s45
10Valtteri BottasMercedes1:13.902s+ 1.182s38
11Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:13.946s+ 1.226s41
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:13.981s+ 1.261s36
13Felipe MassaWilliams1:14.003s+ 1.283s46
14Romain GrosjeanHaas1:14.022s+ 1.302s43
15Esteban OconForce India1:14.093s+ 1.373s46
16Lance StrollWilliams1:14.474s+ 1.754s27
17Nico HülkenbergRenault1:14.870s+ 2.150s40
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1:15.616s+ 2.896s8
19Marcus EricssonSauber1:15.691s+ 2.971s31
20Pascal WehrleinSauber1:15.695s+ 2.975s36

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Gallery: All the pictures from Thursday in Monaco

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