For the first time since 2019, Formula 1 single-seaters regained their right to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Friday afternoon in anticipation of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Credit where credit is due, Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda was the first to storm the Île-Notre-Dame route to cheers from a crowd in the stands.
If the pilot of the AlphaTauri team was able to enjoy a rare moment of glory when leaving the pits, the main tenors quickly corrected him.
Max Verstappen, faster aboard his Red Bull a few hours earlier, stayed in front of the peloton until the end of the second private practice session.
The Dutchman, leader in the drivers’ championship after the first eight stages of the 2022 season, covered the distance in 1 minute and 14.127 seconds, overtaking Charles Leclerc by 81 thousandths of a second.
If the Monegasque manages to set the fastest time in qualifying for the fifth Grand Prix in a row on Saturday, he can at best go from 11th to 11th placee Place when the red lights go out on Sunday.
After his engine failure in Azerbaijan last week, the mechanics had no choice but to replace many of the components in his single-seater’s engine. According to the regulations, he will be penalized with ten places on the starting grid.
Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, still in the hunt for his maiden F1 win, was third.
Walk 12th placee
Fourth in the standings, Sebastian Vettel caused a few surprises by leading his Aston Martin to fourth place. His partner, Quebecois Lance Stroll, couldn’t do better than the 12e Position.
Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), George Russell (Mercedes), Lando Norris (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) followed in turn.
Less than a second separates the top ten riders on the board.
Disappointment for Sergio Pérez, only 11e at the wheel of the second Red Bull. However, he limits the results of this first day as strategies (fuel on board and attitudes) vary from driver to driver.
“This car is undriveable”
The chances of seeing Lewis Hamilton earn an eighth win in Montreal, a feat unmatched by any other driver in history, are slim.
The seven-time world champion only managed 13th placee Best time in the second practice session and didn’t hide his frustration over the radio waves.
“This car is undriveable,” he shouted to his engineer.
Last week the Brit finished fourth in Baku, not without suffering at the wheel of his Mercedes. We saw him take several seconds before he got out of his car complaining of severe back pain.
Cool and rainy
Although the two free practice sessions took place in dry conditions, heavy rain fell in the late afternoon just a few minutes after the F1 race.
Apparently the bad weather in the area will continue for much of Saturday. A much cooler temperature is also expected.
“Tomorrow could be interesting with the rain,” said Stroll. In such conditions it is always different. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. »
The name of Nicholas Latifi, the other Canadian, is also 19 at the bottom of the field againe Rank. If he doesn’t finish last it will be because Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) was unable to do a flying lap due to mechanical issues.