RACE DEBRIEF

    Max Verstappen led both practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to get his 2022 Canadian Grand Prix off to the best possible start. But it was tougher going for team mate Sergio Perez, who blamed a set-up issue for leaving him P11 in Free Practice 2.

    Monaco winner Perez was P4 in FP1, 0.461s off his team mate, but slumped to P11 in FP2, just over a second adrift, with the Mexican – who moved to P2 in the drivers’ championship following the race in Azerbaijan last weekend – explaining his issues in Montreal.

    READ MORE: Verstappen pips Leclerc by 0.081s to sweep Friday practice sessions in Montreal

    “We had an issue with the set-up, but luckily we managed to find it out, part of it,” said Perez. “So I think the long run, it was a bit more representative but still we had an issue there so hopefully we are able to sort out everything. Unfortunately not much we could do in the session today.

    “I’m a bit on the back foot today,” added Perez, “but hopefully tonight, we are able to make the right compromises… definitely [Max looks] strong out there so hopefully we are able to be competitive.”

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    Perez struggled with the set-up of his RB18 around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

    Verstappen looked supremely confident in his Red Bull RB18 straight off the bat in Montreal, with the championship leader – winner of four of the last five Grands Prix – pipping Leclerc in FP2 by a narrow 0.081s, with the Monegasque set to take a grid penalty for Sunday’s race after changing power unit elements.

    READ MORE: ‘It was a disaster’ – Hamilton says Mercedes W13 ‘getting worse’ after experimental Friday in Montreal

    “Quite a positive day,” said Verstappen, speaking just before a post-session deluge hit the track. “Immediately the car was working quite well. Of course there’s always things you’re looking at to try and find a bit more of a complete balance, but overall today for me was a good start to the weekend.

    “The long run’s good,” added Verstappen. “[The track] is still hard on tyres around here as well, brakes and tyres, so there’s still a few things to improve, but even with the things I want to improve, it was a good day… It’s good to see that for the Sunday, we have a competitive car. Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll see.”

    2022 Canadian GP FP2: Onboard for Max Verstappen’s fastest lap