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Leclerc overtakes Hamilton in Monaco FP2 as Verstappen ‘bounces like a kangaroo’

Charles Leclerc set a blistering pace in Free Practice 2 of the Monaco Grand Prix, beating Lewis Hamilton for the fastest time in his home race.

A 1:11.278 was enough for Leclerc to lead Friday’s second session behind FP1 pacesetter Hamilton as the Monegasque fell below the 2023 race’s pole time of 1:11.365.

Fernando Alonso came third for Aston Martin as Red Bull and Max Verstappen battled, with the world champion complaining that the bounces he was experiencing were like a “kangaroo” and left him with headaches.

However, he finished fourth, as his teammate Sergio PĂ©rez was only eighth, and also had problems with vibrations in a session that did not feature a red flag, but did feature many minor hits on the wall.

With the threat of rain in the air, Hamilton was the first driver to emerge from the pits on medium tyres, with Leclerc as Verstappen took on the hardliners aboard his RB20.

The Dutchman set the pace from the start with a 1:13.775 on his C3 tyres, while Hamilton and Leclerc traded fastest laps on their yellow-marked medium C4 tyres.

The Ferrari 2025 teammates reduced the benchmark from Hamilton’s 1:13.309 to Leclerc’s 1:11.573, but were almost a second ahead of Hamilton in P2 and 1.150s clear of Verstappen in third as he complained about “jump like a kangaroo, man. My head hurts, it’s crazy.”

Following these initial races, the field pitted to switch to soft C5 tires for qualifying simulations, as Perez described the violent nature of the bumps as “horrendous” as he hit the Massanet wall.

On his first lap on soft tyres, Leclerc shaved 0.295 seconds off his fastest time and clocked a 1:11.278 that would take him to the top of the session.

On a second attempt, he was purpled in Sector 1, but opened slightly at Portier and abandoned the turn before entering the explosion through the tunnel. Leclerc also brought out a brief caution in the closing laps after going wide and spinning at Sainte Devote.

Hamilton also aborted his first lap on soft tyres, but recovered with a series of personal bests in each of the three sectors to finish 0.188 seconds behind in what was an encouraging day for the three-time Monaco winner.

Alonso placed third with Aston Martin, ahead of Verstappen, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll, Alex Albon and George Russell.

Russell’s second Mercedes complained of strong braking vibrations at the seafront chicane when he took 10th place.

Piastri fails to ride on soft tires

Yuki Tsunoda was 11th for RB, as Oscar Piastri did not have the opportunity to run on soft tires after hitting the wall, the two being the first driver to set a time one second less than Leclerc (1.071s less in the case of Tsunoda ).

Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg sandwiched Esteban Ocon in a Haas sandwich on 13-14-15 while 2018 Monaco winner Daniel Ricciardo was 16th, 1.299s slower than Leclerc and two tenths slower than Tsunoda, but also on tires media.

Pierre Gasly, who missed most of FP1 with a wastegate problem on his Alpine’s power unit, returned to the track and took 17th place, ahead of Logan Sargeant, who hit the wall interior by Anthony Noghes from the beginning.

The two Stake drivers finished 19th and 20th in the times with Valtteri Bottas 1.779s off Leclerc in 19th and Zhou Guanyu some 2.495s off the pace; both drivers had used medium tires.

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