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2017 Monaco GP: Free Practice Review

Free Practice 1

Free Practice for the Monaco Grand Prix got underway at the famous street circuit on Thursday. The first two free practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix are traditionally held on the Thursday before the race weekend with a rest day on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton set the pace during FP1 with the fastest time of 1:13.425. Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari got close with a 1:13.621 which was just 0.196s off the pace.

With degradation very low the drivers did not spend much time on the two hardest compounds available to them which was the super soft and the soft compound tyre.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished his first free practice session in P3 0.346s off Hamilton’s time. His team mate Daniel Ricciardo finished 5th behind Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

Daniil Kvyat put in one of the best performances of the session. Although not completing the session with the fastest time, he did finish the session with the fastest time on the super soft tyre. His overall time of 1:14.111 was good for 7th fastest overall. Kvyat edged out drivers who were slower slower on the ultra soft tyre. One such driver was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who was pushing quite hard in the Ferrari coming very close to the barriers and at times leaving a bit a tyre art on the armco barriers.

On his return to Formula 1, Jenson Button finished 14th fastest setting a time of 1:14.954. Considering that he’s been out of Formula one since November, Button did not fair too badly.

Technical problems for Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson prevented them from setting any times in the session.


Free Practice 2

Free Practice 2 saw Ferrari come out on top with Sebastian Vettel setting the fastest time of the session and in doing so set lap record around the Monaco street circuit. Vettel’s fastest time of 1:12.720 was 0.487s clear of 2nd fastest man Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

After setting the fastest time in FP1, Lewis Hamilton ended his FP2 8th fastest with Valtteri Bottas 10th.

Mercedes seemed to struggle with grip and tyre warm up issues. Mercedes could not explain the downturn in performance and put it down to setup issues with the car. Hamilton described the difference in pace as “night and day” and admitted that the team has some work to do for Saturday.

“I’m not sure why the tyres weren’t working but the difference between the two sessions was night and day,” said Hamilton.

Toro Rosso continued with their strong show of pace this weekend by finishing 4th and 5th fastest with Daniil Kvyat ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz.

FP2 saw drivers tagging the barriers with Lance Stroll the first casualty. Stroll ran wide into the barrier at Massenet (Turn 3). The Williams driver ran a bit to hot into the corner and got on the brakes a bit late which sent the rear of the car into the barrier.


Marcus Ericsson tagged the barrier at Casino Square after getting on the power a little early sending the rear of the car into the barrier. The Swede managed to keep his car going and returned to the pits with minimal damage.

Esteban Ocon had a similar incident to Ericsson out of Portier. The young rookie got his Force India back to the pits and was back out shortly after.

Renault’s problems continued in the second practice session after Jolyon Palmer suffered, with what looked like, an engine failure.

The long run pace suggests that Ferrari have the upper hand at the moment with Red Bull not far behind. If Mercedes can get around their setup issues then they could give Ferrari a run during qualifying.

With Monaco, track position is important. Passes come at a premium but will not be impossible. Aerodynamics play less of a role at Monaco than other circuits and we should see things mixed up a bit during qualifying and the race.




Photo credit Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

About Ritesh K Bhana

Ritesh likes to think he is a true Tifosi, but he still remains fair to other teams. He supports two other teams which are not Red Bull and McLaren. Follow Ritesh on twitter @Humanshield_1

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