Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari one-two in the second practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton hit the wall and missed significant track time.
Hamilton had been quickest as Mercedes started the weekend strongly on Friday morning, but he was on his eighth lap of FP2 when he slid wide at Turn 8 and clouted the wall. The championship leader was trying to catch the slide but had not corrected the car quickly enough and hit the wall hard with the right-rear corner, causing damage that forced him to limp extremely slowly back to the pits.
That Hamilton got the car back was impressive given the strength of the impact, but Mercedes opted to change the whole rear end as a precaution and he did not return to the track.
It would have been interesting to see Hamilton’s pace in qualifying trim given Ferrari’s performance, as Leclerc led the way in a turnaround from FP1. This morning, Ferrari was the best part of a second off the pace, but Leclerc’s second timed lap saw him produce a 1m12.177s to lead teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.074s.
Valtteri Bottas was third quickest on the soft tire runs, 0.134s off Leclerc’s time, while there was a surprisingly strong performance from Carlos Sainz as he ended up fourth for McLaren, 0.376s adrift of the fastest lap.
Sainz’s time is slightly tempered by the fact that Max Verstappen backed off on his soft tire attempt after hitting the ‘Wall of Champions,’ with the Dutchman referencing how close he was to teammate Pierre Gasly at the time as a potential reason. Verstappen only brushed the wall but felt the impact to be strong enough to back off completely and return to the pits, leaving him down in 13th place without a representative time.
That Gasly was only one place ahead of Verstappen was disappointing for Red Bull, meaning it was Kevin Magnussen in the Haas who was closest to Sainz but still some 0.4s adrift of the McLaren.
Hamilton ended up sixth due to not running again, with Sergio Perez in seventh ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll. Although Stroll will have been encouraged by the pace as he seeks to escape Q1 for the first time this season, the Canadian was involved in an unnecessary incident late in the session as he did not leave Romain Grosjean enough space under braking for the final chicane and tapped the Haas, forcing Grosjean to cut the corner. The incident will be investigated after the session.
Magnussen also finds himself under investigation, facing a trip to the stewards to explain why he failed to rejoin the track correctly after going wide at one stage.
After a strong FP1 — aided by using the soft tire — Kimi Raikkonen slipped back to 16th, while teammate Antonio Giovinazzi was 18th after missing the start of the session while the team changed his gearbox as a result of a crash in the first session.