Back to front as homeboy Leclerc leads Ferrari double in Monaco

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Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc at home on Thursday

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc stormed around his hometown track with the fastest time in second free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday after trailing in last in the morning session.

Leclerc only managed a handful of laps in the morning after gearbox problems, but under crisp blue skies showed he can't be discounted in Sunday's fifth GP of the season.

It was an impressive performance from Ferrari as new boy Carlos Sainz was second fastest, with seven-time world champion and current championship leader Lewis Hamilton in third for Mercedes.

Hamilton, targeting his 99th win on Sunday, leads Dutchman Max Verstappen by 14 points after four races in the chase for the drivers crown.

Verstappen was hot on Hamilton's heels in the second session placing seven hundredths of a second behind him in his Red Bull.

Monaco's iconic street circuit welcomed 7,500 fans to its grandstands for practice as the race returned to the schedule after a coronavirus-enforced cancellation in 2020.

There will be no on-track action Friday with the next practice session on Saturday morning before qualifying.

Second free practice times

1. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:11.684 (30 laps), 2. Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari) 1:11.796 (32), 3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:12.074 (28), 4. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:12.081 (27), 5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:12.107 (32), 6.Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:12.379 (24), 7. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:12.498 (28), 8. Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda) 1:12.708 (24), 9. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:12.746 (28), 10. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:12.982 (26), 11. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:13.065 (31), 12.Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 1:13.175 (27), 13.Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:13.195 (26), 14. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:13.199 (28), 15. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:13.257 (26), 16.George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1:13.509 (31), 17.Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1:13.593 (31), 18. Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari) 1:14.407 (26), 19. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:14.416 (25), 20. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:14.829 (11)

First free practice times

1. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda) 1min 12.487sec (36 laps), 2. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1:12.606 (32), 3. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:12.648 (39), 4. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:12.929 (37), 5. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:12.995 (34), 6. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:13.131 (36), 7. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:13.236 (31), 8. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:13.732 (33), 9. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:13.746 (39) 10. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:14.081 (31), 11. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:14.090 (33), 12. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:14.106 (27), 13. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 1:14.205 (37), 14. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1:14.268 (41) 15. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:14.281 (36), 16. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:14.320 (37), 17. Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari) 1:14.616 (33), 18. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:14.801 (35), 19. George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1:14.840 (35), 20. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:19.618 (4)

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