FP2. Verstappen Fastest Again Ahead of Raikkonen
After a tricky weekend in Monaco, Max Verstappen appears to be a man on a mission in Canada, with the Dutchman following up his table topping time in FP1 by going quickest again in FP2 on Friday afternoon.
With the conditions potentially most similar to those the drivers will experience during qualifying and the race, given the 14.00 local start time, the Red Bull driver once again demonstrated the strength of his RB14’s chassis around the Montreal track, lapping in 1m 12.198s on the hypersoft tyres.
Verstappen’s team mate Daniel Ricciardo was confined to the garage for a major chunk of the session with issues with his power unit. However, the Australian made it back out towards the end of the session, winding up in third place to underline Red Bull’s strength.
Between them, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was the man hottest on Verstappen’s heels, some 0.130 seconds adrift of the 20-year-old.
Lewis Hamilton was fourth – a strong result given that the British driver didn’t bolt on the fastest of the Pirelli tyres, the pink-walled hypersoft – with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas in sixth, sandwiching the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in fifth.
Haas had been hoping that, despite their spare parts shortage, their VF-18 would be quick around the Montreal track, and so it proved, with Romain Grosjean impressing to go seventh quickest. However, an incident with some local wildlife forced the Frenchman into the garage with damage to his front wing late on.
The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez – back in the car after sitting out FP1 to let local boy Nicholas Latifi drive the car – exploited their Mercedes power plants to go eighth and ninth, ahead of the McLaren of Fernando Alonso.
Two drivers who didn’t enjoy FP2 were Renault’s Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne. Sainz spun his car after getting on the power too early out of Turn 7, with his Renault smacking backwards into the wall and bringing out the red flag, as the marshals leapt into action to sweep up the debris the Spaniard had scattered over the track.
Vandoorne, meanwhile, got a bit too greedy at the exit of Turn 9, banging the right-rear tyre of his McLaren into the wall and wrecking its rear suspension. That incident brought out a Virtual Safety Car to remove the stricken McLaren.
Further back it was an impressive session for Charles Leclerc, as he stuck in a lap that was good enough for 11th place in his Sauber, with Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley 12th despite a couple of lurid slides in his STR13. Kevin Magnussen was unable to match Haas team mate Grosjean’s pace, ending up in 13th, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, who didn’t manage to exploit any significant advantage from the upgraded power unit his Renault time had brought to Canada.
Local hero Lance Stroll, meanwhile, ended up a disappointing 19th, one place ahead of Williams team mate Sergey Sirotkin. The home fans will be hoping Williams can add some speed to the FW41 overnight…