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 1:13.622.
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.
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.
Mario Isola: "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."
Check out our Thursday gallery from Monaco, here.