The F1 circus moves onto France this weekend with there still being some hopes that a team other than Mercedes will win the race. Ferrari looked to have achieved that in Canada but again they found a way to not finish first. Or did they? Friday wasn’t just about practice sessions but Ferrari trying to get rid of that five-second penalty and belatedly win the Canadian Grand Prix.
Drivers’ Championship –162 Lewis Hamilton 133 Valtteri Bottas 100 Sebastian Vettel 88 Max Verstappen 72 Charles Leclerc
Constructors’ Championship – 295 Mercedes 172 Ferrari 124 Red Bull 30 McLaren
The weekend began as it may well end with a Mercedes 1-2 in the first practice session. Lewis Hamilton recorded a time 0.069 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas. They had a good lead over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who was 0.373 seconds off the pace.
Max Verstappen filled fourth spot (0.880 seconds slower than Hamilton) with Sebastian Vettel back in fifth. Ferrari again have upgrades to their car this weekend and part of this is a new front wing. The hope is that this might somehow find the pace that will make them more competitive.
Sixth fastest was Pierre Gasly in the other Red Bull. Both Red Bulls have upgrade Honda engines for the weekend. Seventh was another good performance from McLaren’s Lando Norris, just ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Daniel Ricciardo was ninth as he tested out the new engine and aerodynamic upgrades his Renault has this weekend. He’s got the full set of upgrades while Nico Hulkenberg’s car doesn’t have a new engine. If it had, then there would have been grid penalties imposed.
Not so lucky on that score is Daniil Kvyat. His Toro Rosso has a new engine and he’ll start at the back of the grid this weekend. The same would have happened to his team-mate Alexander Albon (who finished tenth in first practice). However, the new engine has been delayed preventing a situation where both Toro Rosso’s would have grid penalties in the same race.
It wasn’t an easy session for some drivers with gusty winds. There were a few complaints about tyres wearing out quicker than usual.
Canadian Grand Prix Result Confirmed
There was more important business to be dealt with in the gap between the two practice sessions. Ferrari held a meeting with the race stewards as they tried their best to overturn the penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Italian team claimed to have new evidence. However, the stewards felt there was nothing “significant and relevant” that wasn’t already available when the decision was made. Sebastian Vettel commented that he was “very disappointed” at the decision.
If that wasn’t bad enough news for Ferrari, there was more on its way in the second practice session. It was another Mercedes 1-2 but this time with Bottas ahead of Hamilton by 0.424 seconds. The defending champion had a spin while on what looked like being his fastest lap, more about that in a moment.
Charles Leclerc was again third fastest but 0.649 seconds behind Bottas. Sebastian Vettel was fourth, 0.079 seconds behind Leclerc. It wasn’t a case of the usual suspects filling the top six spots. Lando Norris ruined that by finishing fifth ahead of Max Verstappen. Seventh fastest was the other McLaren of Carlos Sainz with Pierre Gasly behind him in eighth. Ninth and tenth went to Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen.
There were problems between Verstappen and Hamilton with the Mercedes driver ending up being investigated by the stewards. He departed the track at Turn Three and distracted Verstappen when making his return. The British driver had no action taken against him with both drivers of the opinion the situation wasn’t particularly dangerous.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a report on the final practice session and qualifying. Til then enjoy your racing.