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#F1 Vettel Tops Free Practice with Fastest Ever Lap of #MonacoGP

The fastest lap in the 75-year history of the Monaco Grand Prix was established during FP2 this afternoon, courtesy of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel who set a best time of 1m12.720s, beating Daniel Ricciardo’s previous benchmark of 1m13.622s.

Ferrari and Red Bull lead the charge through the streets of the Principality and Ricciardo felt the high downforce setup gave him a better feeling in the car than he’s had all season. Wider cars were highlighted as an area to watch around the tight confines of Monaco and there were quite a few drivers who made contact with the barriers during Free Practice. Whereas the likes of Kimi Raikkonen got away with a light kiss, Lance Stroll hit them hard in FP2 as his rocky start to life in F1 continued.

Mercedes admitted to taking the setup in the wrong direction for FP2 and both cars found themselves down the pecking order in 8th (Hamilton) and 10th (Bottas). Expect to see their true pace seem them battling with Ferrari at the weekend, but for now the returning Button, replacing Alonso at McLaren for the weekend, even passed Hamilton out of the tunnel.

As expected, the ultrasoft proved to be around 0.7 seconds faster than the supersoft.
With degradation practically zero, the purple tyre is anticipated to be the favoured tyre for both qualifying and the race. The unusual timetable in Monaco, featuring free practice on Thursday, no running on Friday, and the track open to public traffic overnight, means that the normal pattern of track evolution is affected, with very little rubber laid down.

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Daniel Ricciardo. Image via Red Bull

To extract the maximum from the tyres, many drivers did a preparation lap before their
flying lap: with managing traffic being the other key factor behind a quick time.

“Monaco is not a circuit that generally holds many surprises: we saw very limited
running on the soft and the majority of action on the ultrasoft, exactly as we expected.
Even this compound is on the hard spectrum for the very specific low-grip conditions of
Monaco: ideally we would bring specialised compounds for this event, even softer than
the current ultrasoft. Nonetheless, we already saw the fastest-ever lap of Monaco even
in FP1, which subsequently became even faster in FP2. Some drivers who want to do
something different in qualifying might choose to run the supersoft in Q2 on Saturday: in
the event of an early safety car, this is a gamble that could pay off.”

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