Charles Leclerc sets searing pace from Lewis Hamilton in second Monaco practice

Charles Leclerc lowers the pace in Monaco second practice, but Lewis Hamilton is not far behind...

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Practice
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8,…

Charles Leclerc set an electric pace from Lewis Hamilton to lead Friday’s second practice session at the F1 Monaco Grand Prix.

Home favourite Leclerc, who has never won before in Monaco, posted several blistering lap times to put his Ferrari top of the timesheets with a new benchmark of a 1m11.278 seconds.

At times the Monegasque was nearly a full second faster than anyone else on track, but Hamilton, who topped opening practice, eventually reduced Leclerc’s advantage down to just 0.188s.

Fernando Alonso put his Aston Martin an encouraging third, some 0.475s adrift.

Leclerc’s pace will be hugely promising for Ferrari in their hopes of taking the fight to Red Bull this weekend. He also had a couple of hairy moments where he narrowly avoided the barriers as he pushed hard.

It was another difficult session for reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who was fifth and over half a second slower than Leclerc.

Just like in FP1, Verstappen did not appear completely at ease with his Red Bull car and nudged the wall after a slide at Portier, but escaped damage.

Verstappen began the weekend playing down Red Bull’s chances in Monaco, suggesting the tight and twisty streets of Monte Carlo could expose some weaknesses of his car.

However, it is worth noting that Red Bull and Verstappen also had a tough start to last weekend’s race at Imola, before an impressive turnaround ultimately paved the way for another victory.

Lando Norris was fifth in his McLaren, ahead of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, who was nearly a second off the pace in eighth.

The Mexican complained about ride over team radio as he struggled with his RB20.

Alex Albon and George Russell completed the top-10 for Williams and Mercedes. 

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