Monaco GP: Charles Leclerc impressively tops FP2 as Lewis Hamilton stays in the mix

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc in Monaco Grand Prix practice.

Charles Leclerc impressed on his way to topping FP2 at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc went fastest in FP2 for the Monaco Grand Prix, pipping Lewis Hamilton to top spot, as the Mercedes driver backed up his table-topping pace from FP1.

Leclerc kept top spot when the majority of the field took in qualifying simulations on soft tyres, but perhaps most impressively, he was almost a second clear of the rest of the field after their opening 20-minute runs as he showed confidence throughout the session at his home circuit.

Charles Leclerc tops Monaco FP2 with impressive medium tyre pace

With rain seemingly in the air at the start of FP2, there was a queue to get out on track at the beginning of proceedings, with any wet weather potentially putting paid to the drivers’ run plans.

Long runs and qualifying simulations would usually be the order of the day in any given FP2 session, and a mixture of hard and medium tyres were on the cars early on as they looked to get more laps under their belts.

Unlike FP1, the drivers were looking to explore the limits of the track more in the early minutes, Leclerc putting his Ferrari quickest on a 1:13.404 in the first few minutes before Hamilton, the session-topper in first practice, went a tenth quicker than his 2025 team-mate.

Max Verstappen went even quicker still on the hard compound tyres, with he and team-mate Sergio Perez having set their quickest times in FP1 on mediums rather than softs.

Moments later, a 1:12.260 from Leclerc showed he was getting his eye in further at his home track, some seven tenths quicker than anyone else as the Ferrari driver going in search of his first podium around the streets near where he grew up.

Verstappen complained he was “jumping like a kangaroo” and that he was “getting headaches” for the bouncing he was enduring in his Red Bull, with the reigning World Champion looking to add to his two previous Monaco Grand Prix victories this weekend.

Leclerc, meanwhile, kept improving on his medium tyres and his 1:11.573 was almost a full second clear of second-placed Hamilton by the time the drivers came back into the pit lane after their first 20-minute stints.

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But with the weather holding off, the representative times would come as the drivers moved onto soft rubber partway through the session for qualifying simulations.

Verstappen went two tenths behind Leclerc’s benchmark on medium tyres, with the Ferrari driver going even faster to clock a 1:11.278 – a half-second buffer between himself and the Red Bull driver after their first soft-tyre runs.

Adding to his team-mate’s concerns about the ride of his Red Bull, Sergio Perez complained he could not see at certain parts of the track from his car, adding his car felt “horrendous” and could not see the apex of Massenet, going uphill.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso took Verstappen’s place behind Leclerc – albeit still almost half a second behind – though the Red Bull driver aborted his second flying lap after setting the fastest first sector of anyone after making contact with the wall on the exit of Turn 7 [Mirabeau Bas].

Evidence of Leclerc’s pushing was there for all to see as well, wrestling his SF-24 through the Fairmont Hairpin first after a near-miss with the wall and catching a moment of oversteer through Portier the following lap.

A 1:11.466 from Hamilton was the closest anyone came to toppling him in the session, with the seven-time World Champion backing up his early pace from FP1 in qualifying simulations.

Alonso, Verstappen and Lando Norris would round out the top five in FP2 for the Monaco Grand Prix, with another of hour of practice to come on Saturday before the all-important qualifying session follows.

Monaco Grand Prix 2024: FP2 classification

1 Charles LECLERC Ferrari 1:11.278
2 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.188
3 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.475
4 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull +0.535
5 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.675
6 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.684
7 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.784
8 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.821
9 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.979
10 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.982
11 Yuki TSUNODA RB +1.071 [medium tyres]
12 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +1.088 [medium tyres]
13 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +1.195
14 Esteban OCON Alpine +1.276
15 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +1.291
16 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +1.299 [medium tyres]
17 Pierre GASLY Alpine +1.472
18 Logan SARGEANT Williams +1.512
19 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber +1.779 [medium tyres]
20 ZHOU Guanyu Kick Sauber +2.495 [medium tyres]

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