Verstappen leads opening practice as F1 returns to Canada

Zak Mauger/Motorsport Images

Verstappen leads opening practice as F1 returns to Canada

Formula 1

Verstappen leads opening practice as F1 returns to Canada

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Max Verstappen topped a blustery first practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s world champion ended the session 0.246s clear of the field after a couple of minor niggles through the hour. The first was an apparent anti-rollbar misconfiguration halfway through the session that required him to pit after three-wheeling over some curbs, and near the end of practice he complained that his power unit’s electrical deployment was clipping at the end of the straights.

Carlos Sainz was next in the order for Ferrari, just 0.1s ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso — whose car was rapid in the flat-out third sector, which comprises just the hairpin and the final chicane. The Spaniard also used the medium tire for his fastest lap, while the rest of the field set their best times on softs.

Sergio Perez followed in fourth and 0.46s off the pace ahead of Charles Leclerc, who was a full second adrift and complained of high tire wear.

Leclerc was equipped with a new internal combustion engine, MGU-K, MGU-H and control electronics after his power unit failure last weekend in Baku, but crucially the team has avoided taking a new turbocharger by salvaging the part from his first motor. The Monegasque has already hit his turbo limit for the season and is guaranteed a penalty for it sooner rather than later.

George Russell was sixth for Mercedes, almost 0.2s back in sixth ahead of eight-placed teammate Lewis Hamilton, who’s running an experimental floor to deal with the W13’s propensity for bouncing and complained of a serious lack of rear grip throughout the session. Lance Stroll split the pair in seventh to open his home grand prix.

Sebastian Vettel followed in ninth in the second Aston Martin ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. Pierre Gasly was 11th ahead of Lando Norris, whose session was restricted to 17 laps with a technical problem that had his car on jacks well before the end of the hour.

Alex Albon was 13th for Williams ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who was running with a new power unit that will lead to him dropping back on the grid on Sunday.

Esteban Ocon lost some time early to an overheating right-front brake after some debris got caught in the brake duct. The Frenchman finished 15th, also with some new power unit parts, ahead of Alfa Romeo teammates Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.

Mick Schumacher was 18th ahead of Nicholas Latifi in his first home grand prix and Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, who propped up the order with some new power unit parts after his DNF in Baku last weekend.

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