World Champion Max Verstappen set the pace during second practice for Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix in hot and sunny conditions on Thursday afternoon.
As grip ramped up around the Circuit de Monaco Verstappen, who took his sole Monaco win to date in 2021, clocked a time of 1:12.462s.
READ MORE: F1 2023 Monaco GP – FP2 Results
That left him just 0.065s in front of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc amid encouraging one-lap pace from the SF-23.
Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz – who fronted Thursday’s first practice session – was third but brought out the red flags two-thirds of the way through the session after hitting the wall.
Sainz turned in too early for the second part of Piscine, broke the front-right suspension on the inside wall, and suffered a second impact against the outside wall beneath the pit lane.
Sainz’s SF-23 did not sustain major damage but it curtailed his running.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was fourth, two-tenths behind Verstappen, while Lando Norris was a promising fifth for McLaren, within half a second of the world champion.
Lewis Hamilton was the lead Mercedes driver in sixth place, with George Russell only 12th, as the team completed its first day in the updated W14.
Sergio Perez, last year’s victor in Monaco, could muster only seventh, over half a second behind his Red Bull team-mate and title opponent.
Valtteri Bottas lifted Alfa Romeo into contention in eighth spot while Alpine duo Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10.
It was a tightly-contested session around the narrow streets as 18 of the 20 drivers finished within 1.2s of Verstappen.
Williams was the outlier as Logan Sargeant finished half a second behind midfield tailender Oscar Piastri while Alexander Albon was at the back.
Albon only competed in the final 10 minutes of running after Williams repaired his FW45 in the wake of his FP1 accident.
Saturday’s final practice session is scheduled for 12:30 local time