FP2: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 during disrupted second Canadian GP practice session
Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets during an extended second practice for the Canadian Grand Prix as track action properly got under way at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve following a curtailed first session – albeit with two red flags and some late rain impacting the flow.
Only a handful of laps were completed in FP1 due to problems with the CCTV equipment around the track that meant the one-hour outing could not be resumed after an early red flag – triggered by the Alpine of Pierre Gasly grinding to a halt.
As a result, F1 governing body the FIA confirmed that FP2 would be extended by half an hour, increasing the scheduled running time from 60 to 90 minutes, with the session starting at 1630 local time rather than 1700 as originally planned.
That led to packed programmes up and down the pit lane as the drivers got reaccustomed to the Montreal venue, while the teams – many of whom are running updates this weekend – attempted to gather as much data as possible.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2023
Practice 2 results
|1 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||1:13.718|
|2 George Russell RUS Mercedes||+0.027s|
|3 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||+0.126s|
|4 Fernando Alonso ALO Aston Martin||+0.326s|
|5 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.376s|
Amid warm conditions, but with rain threatening, there were different run plan approaches on show over the first third of the session, with some drivers opting for shorter stints and others for longer stints using a mixture of the soft and medium compound tyres.
At the end of it all, it was Hamilton who held the quickest time with a 1m 13.718s on softs, putting him 0.027 seconds clear of team mate George Russell, as the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc sandwiched Fernando Alonso’s upgraded Aston Martin in positions three to five.
However, the soft-shod runs were influenced by several factors. Red flags were triggered by Nico Hulkenberg coming to a halt with smoke coming from the back of his Haas and Esteban Ocon being told to stop his Alpine due to a suspected loss of water pressure, before rain hit the track in the closing 10 minutes and prompted some slippery moments.
While there were several improvements shortly before the weather conditions deteriorated, Red Bull had long switched their focus to longer runs on medium tyres, leaving world champion Max Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez in sixth and eighth respectively.
Valtteri Bottas put his Alfa Romeo between the Red Bulls in seventh, as the other Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and Gasly’s repaired Alpine rounded out the top 10 positions – the latter surviving a wild slide through Turn 4 when the wind picked up.
Oscar Piastri was another to encounter some drama as he tagged the ‘Wall of Champions’ late on, winding up 11th from Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, McLaren team mate Lando Norris, Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo and the AlphaTauris of Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries.
Alex Albon placed 17th as Williams trialled a raft of new parts on his Williams, while Ocon and Hulkenberg took 18th and 20th respectively after their aforementioned problems, and team mate Logan Sargeant – not running any updates – ended the day 19th.
Drivers and teams will debrief their altered Friday running into the night before returning to the track for final practice at 1230 local time on Saturday, with the all-important qualifying session to follow at 1600.