Charles Leclerc’s name was once again at the top of the time sheet as the Monegasque driver set the fastest lap in the FIA Formula 2 free practice session in the streets of Monaco. Series veteran Sergio Canamasas was the second-fastest man on track, seven thousandths of a second ahead of Oliver Rowland.
Rowland set the pace in the early stage of the session. He settled down rather comfortably in provisional first place with a laptime of 1m23.386s, which he later improved to 1m21.356s. After the first ten minutes however, Canamasas stole the spotlight and snatched the top spot from his rival, bettering his lap time by two tenths of a second.
A short yellow flag interrupted the session around the thirty minute mark: Debris had to be collected from the track after Nabil Jeffri and Sergio Sette Camara had come together; this incident will be investigated after the session.
The drivers began to make their pitstops earlier than usual, so that there was no clear gap with without traffic on track. Nevertheless, Alexander Albon found some free air around the halfway mark to put himself on provisional first place, being the first man to dip under 1m22s. Shortly afterwards it was Norman Nato’s moment to shine as the Frenchman beat his rival’s time by three tenths of a second, while Leclerc jumped up to provisional second place.
With 15 minutes left to run it was Nyck de Vries who claimed the top spot with a lap time of 1m20.530s. Not long afterwards it was once again Canamasas on top: the Spaniard broke the 1m20s barrier with a time of 1m19.86s. Nato tried to reclaim provisional first place but his lap time was only good enough for second place.
The only man able to beat the experienced Canamasas was local hero Leclerc: The Monegasque rookie went one tenth of a second faster than Canamasas, and with ten minutes left one the clock, no one was able to beat him anymore.
The final stage of the session was interrupted by a planned virtual safety car test. With two minutes left to run afterwards, some drivers still managed to squeeze in a flying lap. Oliver Rowland jumped up to third place with his final effort, missing Canamasas’ mark by merely seven thousandths of a second, and Artem Markelov dashed up into the top ten as well.
AS the checkered flag fell, it was Leclerc in first place with a lap time of 1m19.772s, ahead of Canamasas and Rowland. Nato had to settle for fourth place ahead of Albon, Luca Ghiotto, Nyck de Vries, Artem Markelov, Nicholas Latifi, and Johnny Cecotto, while Jordan King barely missed out on the top ten in the final seconds of the session.
Today’s qualifying session will take place this afternoon at 1615 CEST for Group A and 1639 CEST for Group B. Group A consists of all drivers with odd numbers, and Group B consists of all even-numbered drivers.