Ferrari shows the pace at Monaco GP as Mercedes struggles

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest in the second practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday and got a further boost as Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany waves to the crowd after the second free practice at the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack in Monaco on Thursday.   -  AP

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest in the second practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday and got a further boost as Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled.

Ferrari had further cause for optimism heading to Saturday’s qualifying, with Kimi Raikkonen third fastest. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo split the teammates.

The mood inside the Mercedes camp was likely to be one of concern. Hamilton placed eighth and Bottas was 10th as Mercedes appeared to get their car set—up wrong when they switched to the quicker ultra—soft tires.

It was especially surprising considering Hamilton was quickest in the morning’s first practice run. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll’s miserable run continued. The 18—year—old Canadian crashed into the barriers near Casino Square, bringing the session to a brief halt while his car was lifted off the track.

The Williams driver has failed to finish his past three races and has yet to score a point.

In the morning session, Hamilton was fastest followed by Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Making his return to F1 as a one-off replacement for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who is skipping Monaco to compete in the Indianapolis 500 veteran Jenson Button was 12th best in the afternoon and 14th in the morning.

The Williams team carried a Manchester sticker on the front wing of their cars as a tribute to the 22 people killed and 116 injured in the Manchester bombing on Monday at an Ariana Grande concert.

The Mercedes team said it was also planning to carry a sticker on the front wing. A minute’s silence for the victims is also planned before Sunday’s race.

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