CANADIAN GP – Max Verstappen fastest in second practice ahead of Charles Leclerc by eight-hundredths

Testing & Race Reports

Max Verstappen was fastest in the second practice for the Canadian Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver set a 14.127 on the soft tyre which put him eight-hundredths ahead of his championship rival Charles Leclerc, after setting his fastest lap just before the half way mark.

The Dutchman was over a second faster than his fastest time in FP1 with the Red Bull looking settled around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Leclerc meanwhile goes into the race expected to take a penalty for exceeding his power unit allocation, but he was still a tenth faster than his teammate Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen improved by almost a second during the hour-long session, while Leclerc looked quick in the middle sector. Sainz meanwhile was two tenths off Verstappen and a tenth faster than Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel who was fourth, the two drivers have been noted by the race director for an incident involving driving unnecessarily slowly at the pit exit ahead of their respective qualifying simulation runs.

Leclerc was the only driver able to get near Verstappen. But following the session, it was confirmed he will take a ten-place penalty for exceeding his allocation of control electronics element on his power unit.

Speaking this morning, Leclerc conceded it was “not the best position to be in” facing penalties so early in the season.

The race-simulation times at the end of the session were less instructive than usual, as Verstappen and the Ferraris were on different tyre compounds. But Red Bull looked impressive on his long run on medium tyres, while the two Ferrari’s on softs were a little bit behind on pace.

After heavy rain and a tornado warning on Thursday, F1 managed to complete both of its Friday practice sessions without any interruption, with a heavy downpour occurring shortly after track running concluded.

Fernando Alonso put his Alpine fifth, the two-time champion four-tenths off Verstappen after going nearly three and a half tenths faster than Pierre Gasly. Alpine has proved to be competitive in the midfield this season, fighting with Alpha Tauri, but has looked to excel at high-speed street circuits like Montreal.

George Russell put his Mercedes seventh nearly a tenth behind Gasly, however, the nature of the circuit once again highlighted the team’s issues with porpoising. While it appeared to be more settled than in Monaco and Baku, Russell still complained about “massive hopping” through Turn Nine.

Lando Norris put his McLaren eight going four-tenths ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with Esteban Ocon rounding out the top ten. Ricciardo avoided an incident with the  Alfa Romeo of Guanyu Zhou through Turns Three and Four, the Chinese driver being unaware the Australian was on a hot lap.

Sergio Perez was surprising off the pace, in his Red Bull in eleventh, more than a second off his teammate. The Mexican was two tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton, with the seven-time champion describing his Mercedes as “undriveable” and was four tenths off his teammate Russell. Mercedes had spent much of the day looking at setup changes to the car.

Kevin Magnussen put his Haas fourteenth over a hundredth quicker than his teammate Mick Schumacher. Zhou settled for sixteenth, almost a second off the pace while Alfa Romeo teammate Valtteri Bottas didn’t set a time because of an issue.

Yuki Tsunoda was seventeenth ahead of the two Williams, with Alex Albon over a tenth faster than his teammate Nicolas Latifi.

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