Montreal vibrated to the rhythm of Formula 1 for the first time since 2019, Friday, as cars stormed the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.
World Champion Max Verstappen dominated both free training sessions on the day. He first set the tone for the first session with a time of 1:15.158 on the Red Bull wheel, shrugging off the storms that swept the circuit, under an overcast sky.
Then it did better with a time of 1:14.127 per second. Charles Leclerc barely ceded 81 milliseconds to the Red Bull driver, but he would be penalized 10 places, while Carlos Sainz Jr trailed at 0.225.
Sebastian Vettel surprised everyone a bit by setting the fourth fastest time, while alpine rider Fernando Alonso finished in the top five.
For his part, Lance Stroll tested different settings and set the fastest time 12 times, 1.269 seconds behind Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton settled for 13th in time.
Torontonian Nicholas Latifi, for his part, finished 19th on the wheel of his Williams, trailing by more than 2.3 seconds.
A third freestyle training session will be offered on Saturday, followed by a qualifying session in the afternoon. Cool weather is forecast for the occasion, as well as a chance for passing showers.
Verstappen fastest in first attempts
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. was 0.246 seconds behind Verstappen in second place in the first session, while Alpine driver Fernando Alonso caused a surprise by finishing third, by 0.373.
Perez and Leclerc completed the top five in the standings.
For his part, Stroll tested new components on the rear wing and achieved the seventh fastest time, 0.719 seconds over Verstappen. Hamilton scored the eighth fastest time ahead of Vettel.
Torontonian Nicholas Latifi finished 19th in the Williams Championships.
The session featured Esteban Ocon’s Alpine’s right front brake overheating, forcing him into the emergency pits after just three laps. The French team indicated that a piece of debris, possibly a piece of cloth, got stuck in the gear.
Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda, for his part, hit a safety wall when exiting a corner in the latter part of the session, without causing any real damage to his Alpha Tauri. However, Tsunoda will have to start at the back of the field on Sunday, as his team carried out an engine change at the weekend.
“We were able to compete as a team”
A second free practice session will take place later on Friday, followed by a third practice session on Saturday morning and qualifying in the afternoon.
Leclerc and Sainz will have to take advantage of this to improve their level of performance, and they know that very well. Monaco took the lead after the last four qualifying sessions, but each time victory was far from them the next day.
A trend that must change, or else Red Bull could soon make insurmountable progress and spin on their own towards winning the championship.
In Azerbaijan, Ferrari suffered another disappointment with a double retirement due to mechanical issues. She explained that the Italian team is working on “counter measures to strengthen the engine group,” stressing that the situation is “under control.”
Leclerc is not currently sanctioned on the starting grid on Sunday, having not – yet – exceeded the number of engine components authorized per season.
This could change if Ferrari decides to install a fourth turbocharger on the single-seat Monaco, which would then take 10 penalty places.
“At the moment no decision has been made,” Leclerc said Friday morning, noting that the Canadian circuit was not the worst place to receive this punishment. We will discuss it and try to make the best decision. »
For Japanese Yuki Tsunoda, whose AlphaTauri is equipped with a fourth engine, beyond the limit, the ax has already fallen: he will start at the back of the grid on Sunday.
Rating – First Free Training Session
Max Verstappen (Netherlands / Red Bull) 1: 15.158 (27 laps)
Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain / Ferrari) 1: 15.404 (34)
Fernando Alonso (Spain / Alpine-Renault) 1: 15,531 (31)
Sergio Perez (Mexico / Red Bull) 1: 15.619 (32)
Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1: 15.666 (30)
George Russell (GB/Mercedes) 1:15.822 (29)
Lance Stroll (Canada / Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1: 15.877 (32)
Lewis Hamilton (GB/Mercedes) 1: 15.877 (27)
Sebastian Vettel (Germany / Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1: 16.041 (33)
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia/McLaren-Mercedes) 1: 16.083 (29)
Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1: 16.165 (29)
Lando Norris (GB/McLaren-Mercedes) 1: 16.211 (17)
Alexander Albon (THA/Williams Mercedes) 1: 16.308 (29)
Yuki Tsunoda (Japan / AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1: 16.322 (33)
Esteban Ocon (France / Alpine Renault) 1: 16.421 (26)
Valtteri Bottas (Vin/Alfa Romeo) 1: 16.426 (27)
Zhou Guanyu (China / Alfa Romeo) 1: 17,152 (30)
Mick Schumacher (Germany / Haas-Ferrari) 1: 17.223 (25)
Nicholas Latifi (Canada/Williams-Mercedes) 1: 17.241 (33)
Kevin Magnussen (Den/Haas-Ferrari) 1: 17.555 (31)
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