Hamilton tops quiet second Monaco GP practice


Lewis Hamilton continued his good start to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend by finishing fastest in a quiet second free practice session on Thursday afternoon.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:17.192 to finish seven-tenths of a second clear of teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

However, the session was noteworthy for the lack of on-track action in the final hour of the 90-minute scheduled run time.

Most of the drivers opted to head out early on in FP2 with the soft compound tire fitted in a bid to evaluate their one-lap pace for qualifying on Saturday, with Hamilton and Rosberg setting the pace. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen followed for Ferrari in third and fourth place, suggesting that the Italian team will once again be the best of the rest once again this weekend.

The session was brought to a halt after 15 minutes when Roberto Merhi crashed into the wall at the exit of the tunnel, damaging the front end of his Manor car and leaving debris strewn across the track.

By the time his car had been cleared and the track was green again, rain had begun to fall on the circuit. Pastor Maldonado was sent out by Lotus on the super-soft tire, only for the team to quickly realize its mistake and order the Venezuelan to carefully return to the pits and miss the wet patches.

Once Maldonado had pitted, the rain grew stronger. With no wet weather forecast for the rest of the weekend, the teams opted to rest their cars, meaning that there was no on-track action until the final ten minutes of the session.

Most of the drivers opted to head out on track on the intermediate tire late on, and although it is unlikely to be of much use, the wet weather data could be handy to teams should rain strike over the weekend.

Kvyat continued Red Bull’s good start to the Monaco weekend by finishing fifth in the final standings, ranking ahead of Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen. Alonso finished eighth for McLaren, whilst Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth place respectively.

With dry weather forecast for the rest of the weekend, there is unlikely to be any repeat of this quiet session in FP3 on Saturday. Once again though, it is Mercedes who set the pace, and the Silver Arrows will be preparing for another intra-team fight for pole and the race win on Saturday and Sunday.