It was a lovely clear day in Montreal, but a dusty Free Practice session for the Formula 1 drivers at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The track had not been used for over a year due to construction and many drivers had to quickly come to terms with its nuances or suffer the consequences.
Free Practice 1
Canadian-born Nicholas Latifi – Williams’ reserve driver – replaced Robert Kubica in Free Practice one and found himself having to swerve to avoid hitting a groundhog. Perhaps the little fur ball just wanted to wish his fellow Canuck good luck?
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas had identical times and led the field by some margin. However, Bottas later suffered a fuel pressure issue.
The track got the best of Antonio Giovinazzi who “touched the wall” at turn 9 and was spun around. His rear suspension took some damage that would later compromise FP2.
Alex Albon found himself in the way of teammate Daniil Kvyat, who called in “tell him to let me by.”
Also, a slow Lance Stroll found himself in the way of Lewis Hamilton as the Briton attempted to finish a lap.
Ferrari was still well behind the times of the two Mercedes. Charles Leclerc locked up and Sebastian Vettel spun out at the hairpin.
FP1 Results: Hamilton 1, Bottas 2, Leclerc 3, Verstappen 4, Vettel 5, Raikkonen 6, Sainz 7, Ricciardo 8, Perez 9, Magnussen 10
Free Practice 2
Five time world champion Lewis Hamilton had a rare moment of oversteering in Turn 8 which led to him slamming into the wall at Turn 9 with his right rear wheel. The #44 Mercedes picked up some damage and the entire rear-end of his car had to be replaced, resulting in Hamilton missing over an hour of FP2.
Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly also had issues at the chicane, both going through the run-off areas.
Carlos Sainz had his best free practice so far with new team McLaren. The Spaniard finished FP2 in fourth place with his best time only 0.376s behind Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari which led the field.
Antonio Giovinazzi missed the first hour of FP2 due to damages sustained in FP1 as the team changed “the gearbox on his car as a precaution.”
A slow-moving Pierre Gasly disturbed Max Verstappen’s push lap causing Max to brush the Wall of Champions with his front right. Max had to return to the garage as a result and missed much of FP2.
Gasly continued to look uncomfortable on the track and suffered several lock-ups.
Ferrari on soft tyres took advantage of Hamilton’s bad luck. Vettel went out first and was fastest, but not for long. Despite running very close to the Wall of Champions, Leclerc took the quickest lap.
FP2 Results: Leclerc 1, Vettel 2, Bottas 3, Sainz 4, Magnussen 5, Hamilton 6, Perez 7, Ricciardo 8, Hulkenberg 9, Stroll 10
All-in-all, a very eventful and exciting Friday session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The track has a reputation and it certainly lived up to it today. Many drivers complained about tyres throughout FP2 so it’ll be interesting to see what the teams choose to use on Sunday – which promises to be even hotter than today. Is a Ferrari upset in the forecast? Can another rookie get their first win in Montreal this year? And most importantly – who will the infamous Wall of Champions claim as its next victim?