Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice session ahead of this weekends Canadian Grand Prix. The Dutchman set his fastest time on the ultrasoft tyres going .08 of second faster than Lewis Hamilton, who was on the slower soft tyres.
Verstappen has been under pressure recently but responded to the criticism of his driving by going faster with his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo third fastest. He set his fastest time thirty minutes into the session, while Hamilton responded he proved he wasn’t a match on the ultrasoft tyres.
Ricciardo then responded to Valtteri Bottas’s time on the ultrasofts, by pushing the Finn down to fourth. Before Sebastian Vettel responded with a time which left him .05 off the pace and put him ahead of both the Finn’s.
This weekend both Renault and Honda have brought upgrades which could help Red Bull to decide whether to switch to the Japanese manufacturer for 2019.
While Hamilton has expressed concern that Mercedes has been forced to delay the introduction of there new power unit until Le Cassette in two weeks time because of a “quality issue” with their upgraded engine.
It is believed to be a tolerance that would have made the engine unlikely to last the seven races engines need to run this season.
Fernando Alonso showed that the Renault upgrade has delivered a step forward for the French manufacturer. The McLaren driver best of the rest and was just half a second off the leading Renault powered car.
While their customers were performing well, it was a difficult start for the works Renault team with Carlos Sainz ninth. While Nico Hulkenberg failed to set a time after his RS18 stopped on track before he set a time with a gearbox issue.
The German was forced to stop on track, he attempted to restart the car on the track. But he was forced to stop his car on track after failing to restart the power unit and stopped on the track causing a red flag.
Like Renault, Honda has also brought an upgrade for this weekend and Pierre Gasly used it to good effect going tenth fastest.
Lance Stroll was the only driver to hit the Wall of Champions, the Quebecer suffered a puncher meaning he was only nineteenth. Fellow Quebecer Nicholas Latifi wasn’t fairing much better he was twentieth.
Stroll’s team-mate Sergey Sirotkin crashed into the wall at turn six, the Russian spun his car and rear-ended his car into the barrier.
Sauber had an encouraging session with Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc thirteenth and fourteenth respectively, between the two Haas cars.