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What we learned from Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix

What we learned from Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix



What we learned from Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix

What we learned from Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix

Expectations of more Mercedes dominance at the Monaco Grand Prix were realised in Thursday's pair of practice sessions as Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both and only Max Verstappen seemed able to take the fight to the Silver Arrows, with Ferrari way off the pace.

Mercedes' run of one-two finishes to start the season has led to criticism of Formula 1's uncompetitive nature in 2019, but it seems even a track that has previously been the world champions' kryptonite won't stop them.

So is there any chance of anything other than another Mercedes lockout?

Hopes rest with Verstappen

Hamilton was the quickest man in both sessions, although Bottas was in close quarters each time.

Verstappen was also on his tail in FP1, even ahead of Bottas, but the Red Bull was hampered by a reported water leak in FP2 and the Dutchman's late-session attempts were wrecked by car handling issues.

With Verstappen looking to respond to last year's FP3 crash, which ended his hopes of winning, it seems hopes of a competitive race rest with the Dutchman.

Given both Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly were in the top five in FP2, it seems the Honda-powered cars have form around Monte Carlo, and Verstappen might be able to claw back some performance come Saturday.

Ferrari comfortably adrift

Charles Leclerc getting within thee tenths of Hamilton in FP2 – a gap effectively slightly bigger given Monaco's short distance – was as close as Ferrari could get to Mercedes in both sessions.

Sebastian Vettel won here for the Scuderia two years ago, but was never able to get within a sniff of the Silver Arrows and it seems even the second row of the grid could be a challenge for at least one of the Ferrari cars.

With the rain that had been forecast for Saturday now expected to arrive after qualifying, it seems the red cars will have wounds to lick once again come race day.

Renault wretched again

Daniel Ricciardo took a redemptive win here last year, but going 17th-fastest will be of some concern for the Australian and Renault, who saw Nico Hulkenberg finish just one place ahead.

Albon ended Thursday with the honours in Class B, even matching the pace of Gasly in the Red Bull and the Thai driver's pole position here in Formula 2 last year suggests he could be one to watch in the weekend.

Alfa Romeo appeared to be the most consistent of the midfield runners, with Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen matching each other largely in both sessions.

Racing Point look off the pace, however, with Lance Stroll especially struggling to find his rhythm across both sessions, failing to pull away from the pace of the sluggish Williams, having gone slower than them in FP1.


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