Ferrari enjoyed a return to form in Friday’s second practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix, claiming a 1-2 result with Charles Leclerc leading teammate Sebastian Vettel at the end of the session.
The SF90 chassis, reputed to be the quickest car in a straight line, looked at ease on the high-speed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve layout which played to the car’s strengths. The result will be a welcome confidence boost for the Italian team, ending a run of races where rivals Mercedes-AMG have held sway in Friday practice.
In part perhaps, the result could be attributed to a rare error by championship leader Lewis Hamilton. The Englishman had led teammate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the timesheets in Friday’s opening practice session and the pair were the early pacesetters in FP2. With eight laps under his belt already, Hamilton took too much speed through the Turn 8/9 chicane, running wide onto the kerbs with then threw his F1 W10 into an oversteering slide into the wall.
Hamilton managed to limp his damaged car back to the pits, but with a damaged rear end his session – and the valuable track time that came with it – was over. His fastest time was still good enough to net him sixth-fastest overall, but the loss of mileage will put him on the back foot ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
Bottas finished the session third-fastest, just 0.134 seconds off Leclerc’s ultimate pace, while behind the Finn both McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen put in stellar performances to finish the day fourth- and fifth-quickest respectively. Sainz’s fastest lap, which was less than a quarter of a second slower than Bottas’, was particularly impressive.
Completing the top ten were the Racing Point and Renault entries, with both teams enjoying productive sessions that belied their form to-date in 2019. Sergio Pérez continued his solid pace from FP1 to lead the quartet in seventh, while teammate Lance Stroll also managed to unlock some pace that has been largely absent this season by finishing tenth-fastest in the sister RP19.
The Canadian youngster may, however, face a sanction from the FIA Stewards after being reported for moving across Romain Grosjean’s Haas’ in the braking zone on approach to the final chicane, forcing the Frenchman to take evasive action.
The Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg both used their upgraded engines – debuted at the Spanish Grand Prix – to increasing effect, clocking plenty of mileage between them to finish eighth and ninth fastest respectively. The pair’s fastest laps were within one second of Leclerc’s best effort.
Two teams that did not set the stopwatches alight were Red Bull Racing and Alfa Romeo, which had their cars mired in the bottom half of the timesheets at the end of the 90-minute session.
Max Verstappen found himself caught out by teammate Pierre Gasly at the final chicane, sliding sideways into the ‘Wall of Champions’ and grazing the right-hand wheels of his RB15. That contact left the Dutch driver confined to the pits so his car could be repaired, while Gasly again appeared to struggle with his car’s handling under braking and suffered several lock-ups.
One team who weren’t able to show their true hand were Red Bull, with Max Verstappen getting spooked by a slow moving Pierre Gasly on his push lap and clouting the Wall of Champions. The Dutchman was subsequently consigned to the garage for much of the session for repairs, while Gasly himself continued to look uncomfortable behind the wheel of the RB15, enduring several lock-ups as he wound up in P12, one place ahead of Verstappen but over a second off the pace.
Having been a solid sixth-fastest in FP1 and despite improving on his best time to the tune of half a second in FP2, Kimi Räikkönen was only sixteenth-fastest in his C38. Teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, who crashed in FP1, only ran late in the session as the Alfa Romeo team opted for a precautionary gearbox change that will likely see the Italian incur a grid penalty after qualifying.
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DU CANADA – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:12.177||39|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:12.251||+ 0.074||38|
|3.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:12.311||+ 0.134||46|
|4.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:12.553||+ 0.376||45|
|5.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:12.935||+ 0.758||41|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:12.938||+ 0.761||8|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:13.003||+ 0.826||39|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:13.016||+ 0.839||40|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:13.168||+ 0.991||42|
|10.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:13.171||+ 0.994||37|
|11.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:13.249||+ 1.072||38|
|12.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:13.345||+ 1.168||38|
|13.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:13.388||+ 1.211||22|
|14.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:13.436||+ 1.259||45|
|15.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:13.521||+ 1.344||40|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:13.542||+ 1.365||41|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:13.598||+ 1.421||39|
|18.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:14.870||+ 2.693||16|
|19.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:15.036||+ 2.859||36|
|20.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:15.287||+ 3.110||44|
Image via Scuderia Ferrari