Vettel on top in second practice

Henrietta Brewer
May 26, 2017

Last year's race victor Lewis Hamilton, who had topped the morning season ahead of Vettel, failed to improve on that time in the afternoon and trailed Vettel by more than a second in eighth, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas 10th. They have two wins each and are relishing what is, surprisingly, their first championship tussle.

At the front of the field, another close battle looks in store between Mercedes and Ferrari, and Red Bull appear closer than they have been so far this season.

It was the first time Button has driven a 2017 spec vehicle and he admitted the new machines will take some getting used to.

Vettel says the latest change is aimed at giving more more feel, and that it helped him readjust the clutch position after experiencing some wheelspin when the lights went out at Barcelona. "It doesn't deter from the fact he's an exceptional driver and he continues to show that".

New TV customers can continue to enjoy great entertainment with award-winning dramas, must-see series and comedies when they Join Sky TV and get 33% off selected Sky TV Bundles for 18 months. "I don't think we need to do too much to the auto set-up wise at the moment, just a couple of small tweaks overnight perhaps". Mercedes has won on each of the last four visits to the principality. Not because he was unpopular, but because the team no longer has to deal with an ongoing saga that the media feasted on.

Wolff said the auto had looked competitive in the morning and Mercedes would have to backtrack.

"The gap to Sebastian, to Lewis, is bigger than I was hoping for this year".

In other words, the fight has been taken outside of Mercedes itself.

"We neglected the sound with the current engine generation", he said. Hamilton had seemed somewhat irked by Vettel's aggression — although it was exactly the kind of in-your-face driving Hamilton revels in.

"We run slightly different configurations but I don't think it really makes any difference to the actual start".

Hamilton insisted he is tough enough to withstand any pressure Vettel puts on him.

"I take a lot of pride in the fact that I'm very strong mentally and that's something you can admire about someone else you're fighting with, like Sebastian or Fernando [Alonso]", Hamilton told reporters. The answer is always very definitely no because for a start I love what I do, and I think in no time I'd be bored silly.

The key adjustment in the dynamics of this year's championship, said Hamilton, is that Mercedes are no longer split by their drivers' rivalry, but united in a fight to beat Ferrari.

With the F1 title shaping into a two-way race, neither can afford a slip.

Hamilton won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2016 - ending a run of three straight victories at the circuit for the now-retired Nico Rosberg.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third quickest, a positive development for the former champions, ahead of Hamilton's Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas and Ricciardo in fifth.

With overtaking notoriously hard, pole position holds increased value.

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