Sebastian Vettel dominates FP2 in Monaco as Mercedes struggles
Monaco Grand Prix - FP2

Sebastian Vettel dominates FP2 in Monaco as Mercedes struggles

A blistering lap from Sebastian Vettel put him half a second clear at the top of the timesheets in second practice for the Monaco Grand Prix as Mercedes struggled for pace.

Vettel's 1:12.720 is the fastest time ever around the streets of Monaco, bettering Lewis Hamilton's best lap from FP1 by 0.7s on the ultra-soft tyres. Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat had exchanged times at the top of the timesheets prior to Vettel's new Monte-Carlo benchmark. Vettel initially went fastest on his first lap on the ultra-softs, before making a 0.039s improvement on his second attempt.

2016 Monaco GP polesitter Ricciardo was Vettel's nearest challenger but was 0.487s off the pace. Kimi Raikkonen led the impressive Toro Rosso duo of Kvyat and Carlos Sainz, who appear to be well suited to the high downforce characteristics of the Monaco street circuit and showed strong pace in both practice sessions.

Max Verstappen was sixth fastest ahead of Sergio Perez while Mercedes failed to show its true speed in FP2 as Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were over a second off the pace in eighth and tenth. Fears over the Mercedes' long wheelbase going into this weekend could be coming true with the Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Red Bull looking much more competitive with their significantly shorter wheelbases compared to the Mercedes.

McLaren enjoyed an encouraging Thursday as Stoffel Vandoorne and Jenson Button were just outside of the top ten. The Woking squad sits bottom of the constructors' championship after five grands prix but it sees Monaco as its best chance of scoring its first points of 2017 due to engine performance not being a key factor at a street circuit like Monaco.

It was deja vu at Williams, which continues to struggle for pace around Monaco. Felipe Massa was only 13th fastest while Lance Stroll's running was cut short by 30 minutes after losing the rear of his car into Casino Square resulting in a hefty impact into the barriers. That brought out the virtual safety car which was soon followed by the red flag. Once the session got back underway once more, teams focused on heavy fuel running.

Nico Hulkenberg made up for a lack of running in FP1 and completed 38 laps on his way to 17th ahead of teammate Jolyon Palmer, whose session ended after seven laps with a technical issue at Portier. Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein were separated by just 0.004s in 19th and 20th.

In traditional Monaco fashion, there will be no running on Friday before FP3 and qualifying taking place on Saturday.

Betting on Motorsports? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more

Related news

Dovizioso resists Marquez for Austria win

Dovizioso resists Marquez for Austria win

Andrea Dovizioso scored his and Ducati's third win of the MotoGP season at the Red Bull Ring, seeing off Honda's Marc Marquez after a tense head-to-head duel.

Championship leader Marc Marquez claims third straight pole in Austria

Championship leader Marc Marquez claims third straight pole in Austria

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez claimed pole for the third straight MotoGP race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Marquez seals third MotoGP win in Czech Grand Prix

Marquez seals third MotoGP win in Czech Grand Prix

Marc Marquez took a dominant third victory of the MotoGP season at Brno, timing his pitstop to perfection on a drying track to outfox his championship rivals.

Marc Marquez beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno

Marc Marquez beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno

Marc Marquez took his fourth pole position of the 2017 MotoGP season after edging Valentino Rossi by less than a tenth of a second in Czech Grand Prix qualifying at Brno.

Sebastian Vettel quickest as Robert Kubica enjoys impressive F1 return

Sebastian Vettel quickest as Robert Kubica enjoys impressive F1 return

Sebastian Vettel kept Ferrari at the final day of F1's in-season testing, an event dominated by Robert Kubica's 149-lap return with Renault.

Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc tops opening Hungary test

Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc tops opening Hungary test

Ferrari academy driver Charles Leclerc picked up where Sebastian Vettel left off at the Hungarian Grand Prix by topping the order on the opening day of F1's second in-season test.

Sebastian Vettel wins tense Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel wins tense Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel claimed Ferrari's first win since May after holding firm under late pressure to win the Hungarian Grand Prix, a victory aided by teammate Kimi Raikkonen holding off a late charge from Lewis Hamilton.

Rookie Lappi takes extraordinary Finland win

Rookie Lappi takes extraordinary Finland win

Esapekka Lappi and Tommi Makinen's Toyota team claimed a home victory on Rally Finland in only Lappi's fourth start in a World Rally Car.

Esapekka Lappi leads Rally Finland into final day

Esapekka Lappi leads Rally Finland into final day

World Rally Car rookies Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen will start the final day of Rally Finland first and second, with Lappi holding a comfortable lead for Toyota.

RELATED NEWS

Dovizioso resists Marquez for Austria win
Austrian Grand Prix

Dovizioso resists Marquez for Austria win

Andrea Dovizioso scored his and Ducati's third win of the MotoGP season at the Red Bull Ring, seeing off Honda's Marc Marquez after a tense head-to-head duel.

Championship leader Marc Marquez claims third straight pole in Austria
Austrian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Championship leader Marc Marquez claims third straight pole in Austria

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez claimed pole for the third straight MotoGP race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Marquez seals third MotoGP win in Czech Grand Prix
Czech Grand Prix

Marquez seals third MotoGP win in Czech Grand Prix

Marc Marquez took a dominant third victory of the MotoGP season at Brno, timing his pitstop to perfection on a drying track to outfox his championship rivals.

Marc Marquez beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno
Czech Grand Prix - Qualifying

Marc Marquez beats Valentino Rossi to pole at Brno

Marc Marquez took his fourth pole position of the 2017 MotoGP season after edging Valentino Rossi by less than a tenth of a second in Czech Grand Prix qualifying at Brno.

Sebastian Vettel quickest as Robert Kubica enjoys impressive F1 return
Hungary test - Day 2

Sebastian Vettel quickest as Robert Kubica enjoys impressive F1 return

Sebastian Vettel kept Ferrari at the final day of F1's in-season testing, an event dominated by Robert Kubica's 149-lap return with Renault.

Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc tops opening Hungary test
Hungary test

Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc tops opening Hungary test

Ferrari academy driver Charles Leclerc picked up where Sebastian Vettel left off at the Hungarian Grand Prix by topping the order on the opening day of F1's second in-season test.

Sebastian Vettel wins tense Hungarian GP
Hungarian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel wins tense Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel claimed Ferrari's first win since May after holding firm under late pressure to win the Hungarian Grand Prix, a victory aided by teammate Kimi Raikkonen holding off a late charge from Lewis Hamilton.

Rookie Lappi takes extraordinary Finland win
WRC Rally Finland

Rookie Lappi takes extraordinary Finland win

Esapekka Lappi and Tommi Makinen's Toyota team claimed a home victory on Rally Finland in only Lappi's fourth start in a World Rally Car.

Esapekka Lappi leads Rally Finland into final day
WRC Rally Finland

Esapekka Lappi leads Rally Finland into final day

World Rally Car rookies Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen will start the final day of Rally Finland first and second, with Lappi holding a comfortable lead for Toyota.