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Max on top after Monaco Friday practice: 'Difficult start, but a good day'

Published on 26 May 2023 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen was quickest after Friday practice at he Monaco Grand Prix. The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was six hundreths of a second faster than local hero Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque’s Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz complete the top three, with Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Lando Norris (McLaren) occupying fourth and fifth place.

Reflecting on practice, Max said: “The second session was much better than the first with the car more competitive. Compared the Ferrari, we’re falling short in the way the car behaves over the bumps and kerbs. That’s definitely something we’ll have to work on for tomorrow, because the Ferraris are close. Aston Martin are close too. We’ll need a bit more to stay ahead of them.”

Although Max and the RB19 struggled at the start of the day with P6 in FP1, the Dutchman found pace in the second Friday session. “Yeah, the car was a lot better, I was able to push more and get closer to the barriers. So although it didn’t start that great, we had a good end to the day.”

At the start of FP2, Max is one of the first drivers to head out on track. He does so on the medium Pirelli tyres. After a cautious first timed lap, the Red Bull racer’s second attempt lifts him to first. Lewis Hamilton briefly steals top spot away, but Max regains P1 following his third flying lap.

At the halfway mark, most teams are switching from the hard and medium tyres to the soft compound. Max’ first lap on the softs propels him to P3, soon followed by the reigning champion clocking the quickest lap of the session.

With seventeen minutes to go, the red flag comes out following a crash at the swimming pool section. Carlos Sainz has lost control of his Ferrari, and has ended up in the barrier. With eleven minutes to go, the session is resumed with most drivers circling round on medium Pirellis. Lap times are not bettered, meaning Max ends Friday at the top of the timing sheets.

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Results second free practice Monaco:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:12.462 29
2Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:12.527+0.065s32
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:12.569+0.107s22
4Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:12.682+0.220s31
5Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:12.906+0.444s18
6Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:12.960+0.498s28
7Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:12.991+0.529s29
8Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:13.050+0.588s32
9Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:13.089+0.627s27
10Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:13.162+0.700s29
11Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:13.185+0.723s30
12George RussellRUSMercedes1:13.191+0.729s31
13Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:13.354+0.892s31
14Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:13.457+0.995s27
15Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:13.520+1.058s32
16Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:13.641+1.179s22
17Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:13.663+1.201s33
18Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:13.673+1.211s29
19Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:14.217+1.755s9
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:14.238+1.776s32