Verstappen quick again in Canada; Ricciardo hits trouble

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Verstappen quick again in Canada; Ricciardo hits trouble

Formula 1

Verstappen quick again in Canada; Ricciardo hits trouble

Max Verstappen stayed on top of the timing screens for both Friday Canadian Grand Prix practice sessions but teammate Daniel Ricciardo suffered reliability issues.

While Verstappen followed his strong morning performance by leading the way again in FP2 with a 1m12.198s, Ricciardo was confined to the pits with an unspecified problem for much of the session. Although he ended up third overall courtesy of some late low fuel laps, Ricciardo finished running with just 17 laps to his name, compared to 39 for his teammate.

It’s not yet clear if the issue for Ricciardo is related to his power unit, which is an old MGU-K as Red Bull attempts to avoid a penalty after the Monaco race winner suffered trouble in Monte Carlo.

Red Bull’s desire to avoid a penalty was highlighted by Verstappen leading both sessions, with Kimi Raikkonen in second place on a 1:12.328. The gap back to fourth was more notable, with Mercedes — not using a power unit upgrade in Montreal as originally planned due to a “quality issue” — over half a second off the pace with Lewis Hamilton. But the championship leader used supersofts to set his best time compared to hypersofts for the other teams in the top ten.

Sebastian Vettel also missed out on some running as Ferrari worked on his car in the garage at the start of the session, with the German fifth quickest on a 1:12.985. Valtteri Bottas was sixth — 0.076s slower than Vettel but using ultrasoft tires as Mercedes saves its hypersofts for Saturday — ahead of Romain Grosjean in seventh, although the Haas driver’s session was ended slightly early as he reported hitting an animal on track.

Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten, with Charles Leclerc in 11th and Brendon Hartley 12th just 0.023s off the leading McLaren.

For the second session in a row, a Renault incident caused a red flag and a short delay. While Nico Hulkenberg was the culprit in FP1 due to a gearbox problem, the afternoon saw Carlos Sainz spin at Turn 7 and hit the wall with the rear of the car, damaging the rear wing and crash structure.

Sainz was able to limp back to the pits under the red flag, but the contact required extensive work on the car and he didn’t emerge again to add to his nine laps.

While the Wall of Champions didn’t claim any victims, Stoffel Vandoorne also hit the wall out of Turn 9, breaking his right rear suspension with a glancing blow of the concrete. The damage was too severe to make it back to the pits and Vandoorne had to park his car on the exit of the hairpin, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car and interrupting running for further seven minutes.

Williams again struggled on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin propping up the times in 19th and 20th respectively, some two and a half seconds off the pace.

–Chris Medland

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