An ultra-tight opening practice session suggested that Mercedes-AMG might find itself threatened this weekend, but by Thursday afternoon it would appear any suggestion of that had vanished.

Once again, the Silver Arrows were the class of the field, finishing a mammoth seven-tenths of a second quicker than their nearest rivals. Current championship leader Lewis Hamilton led the way, as he had done in FP1, but once again found his position at the top of the timing screens threatened by teammate Valtteri Bottas who was just 0.081 seconds slower than the Briton’s quickest lap.

With the afternoon’s session a better indicator of potential qualifying form, it was ominous to say the least that no other team could run close to the factory Mercedes’ pace. Sebastian Vettel was a distant third-fastest in his Ferrari, surviving a heavy lock-up into Sainte-Dévote and narrowly avoiding the loss of his front wing in the process. Teammate Charles Leclerc was unable to get a clear lap and was an unrepresentative tenth-fastest.

Pierre Gasly led Red Bull Racing’s charge with the fourth-quickest time, albeit 0.8 seconds adrift. After getting his RB15 between the Mercedes’ in FP1, teammate Max Verstappen had his session disrupted by a water leak in his car. He made it back on track with a few minutes to go, but his fastest lap of the session put him sixth on the time sheets.

The standout performer of the session was Toro Rosso rookie Alexander Albon, who finished FP2 a superb fifth-fastest on a circuit where he claimed pole position in the Formula 2 Championship the year before. The Anglo-Thai driver appeared to enjoy his time behind the wheel and finished nine places up on teammate Daniil Kvyat.

The Haas and Alfa Romeo runners showed solid pace in their battle for midfield honours. The quartet was led by Kevin Magnussen (P7), who was closely shadowed by the Alfa Romeo duo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen. Romain Grosjean was eleventh-fastest in the second Haas Ferrari.

Conversely, Renault couldn’t maintain its relative position on the timing screens from FP1 and tumbled down the order, with Nico Hülkenberg and defending Monaco winner Daniel Ricciardo a lowly P16 and P17 respectively, only quicker than Racing Point’s Lance Stroll – clearly struggling on a circuit where he has never enjoyed good results – and (predictably) the Williams duo of George Russell and Robert Kubica.

The Formula 1 field will have its traditional ‘rest day’ on Friday and resume action on Saturday for a final practice session at 11:00 local time (UTC +2), followed by qualifying at 15:00.

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:11.118 41
2. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10 1:11.199 + 0.081 48
3. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:11.881 + 0.763 42
4. Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing RB15 1:11.938 + 0.820 39
5. Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:12.031 + 0.913 51
6. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB15 1:12.052 + 0.934 17
7. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:12.174 + 1.056 54
8. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:12.239 + 1.121 51
9. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1:12.342 + 1.224 51
10. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF90 1:12.350 + 1.232 42
11. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team VF-19 1:12.392 + 1.274 51
12. Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:12.393 + 1.275 27
13. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1:12.419 + 1.301 47
14. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:12.577 + 1.459 39
15. Sergio Pérez Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:12.752 + 1.634 44
16. Nico Hülkenberg Renault F1 Team RS19 1:12.872 + 1.754 49
17. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team RS19 1:12.888 + 1.770 53
18. Lance Stroll Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1:14.558 + 3.440 40
19. George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:15.052 + 3.934 37
20. Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1:15.146 + 4.028 45

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.