Charles Leclerc topped the times in second practice ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. The Monacan outpaced his teammate Sebastian Vettel by seven thousandths off a second with Mercedes Valtteri Bottas third, a tenth off.
Ferrari looked very fast through the final sector and suggested that the team were holding back pace during FP1, before unleashing their pace in the afternoon. The Italian team set the pace early om using the mediums going initially a second faster.
Mercedes then responded going a second faster, but Ferrari went back to the top. It suggested that the German manufacturer was holding back, and it didn’t post a time during FP1 and at all on the softs. That allowed Valtteri Bottas to go third.
Lewis Hamilton, who is usually so good in Montreal lost track time, lost control of his car at Concorde when his rear slid out clouting the wall. The five-times champion managed to return to the pits despite a punctured tyre but the incident damaged his car’s floor.
Mercedes changed the rear end of the car as a precaution and he was unable to take any further part in the session. Hamilton looking for his seventh win in Montreal this weekend, but this could be a dent in confidence or make him stronger.
McLaren also showed some great pace, with Carlos Sainz going fourth three tenths off the pace. However, more importantly for the Spaniard, he had half a second over his closet midfield rival the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.
Despite showing good pace early on, Max Verstappen dropped down the order to thirteenth, behind his teammate Pierre Gasly. The Dutchman looked to be on the pace of the front runners before being held up behind the Frenchman, he then brushed the Wall of Champions.
Magnussen’s teammate Romain Grosjean was seven tenths slower in seventeenth. Racing Point and Renault completed the top ten, Sergio Perez leading Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll.
The Canadian and Grosjean are under investigation for banging wheels with the Haas as he passed it into the final chicane.
The nature of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve means small margins can mean everything in terms of position. Just half a second separated Magnussen in fifth and Alex Albon’s Toro Rosso in fourteenth.
That will give McLaren hope, Sainz in fourth gives them hopes of hanging on to that superiority on Saturday, and look a strong bet to make it into Q3 in qualifying – even though Lando Norris was seven tenths off his team-mate in eleventh.
Antonio Giovinazzi missed almost an hour of the session while Alfa Romeo carried out a precautionary gearbox change following his practice one crash.
While Williams propped up the times with George Russell nineteenth and Robert Kubica twentieth.
Tomorrow’s qualifying is looking to be a battle between Mercedes and Ferrari. However, it depends how much the ‘spec 2’ Mercedes can perform and despite its struggles today Hamilton can’t be counted out given his record in Montreal he cannot be counted out.
As ever the midfield looks very tight, that will make for a very close qualifying session. It could be a close battle in Q2 to which of them get through to Q3.