What the teams said - Friday in Canada
The day started brightly, with a Mercedes one-two in first practice, led by Hamilton. With a healthy gap to Ferrari and Red Bull, it looked like plain sailing for the Silver Arrows. But roll on FP2 and Hamilton got all out of shape into Turn 8, getting on the kerb and losing the rear. He slid into the wall, puncturing his rear tyre and causing enough damage that he had to sit out of the remainder of the session. That certainly put a dampener on the day, but at least Bottas was able to complete his programme in FP2 after suffering a fuel pressure issue late on in FP1.
Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:12.767, P1; FP2: 1:12.938, P6
"The morning session went smoothly; the track was very dirty in the beginning, but we're all in the same boat. I made a mistake in FP2 and damaged the car. The boys tried really hard to fix it, but there wasn't enough time. I don't remember the last time I missed a whole session before. It's definitely not great to watch the session from the garage; it feels like sitting in the headmaster's office, wishing to be back in class. It was an innocent mistake, I was doing multiple laps on the Medium tyre and was really trying to find the limit. Obviously I went slightly over, I had a big snap out of Turn 9 and was drifting for a long time, hoping I wouldn't hit the wall. But these things happen; you just have to put it behind straight away you and get back on the horse. Luckily Valtteri had a good session today, so there'll be a lot of analysis from that. The boys will do a great job fixing the car tonight and we'll come back ready for a better day tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:12.914, P2; FP2: 1:12.311, P3
"I really enjoyed today, it was good fun out there. This track is always very dusty at the beginning and keeps improving, so you need to find the grip step by step. That's what I like about this circuit because it's different every time you go out and you always need to discover it again, get a feel for it and learn. The car feels strong, but we have some work to do on the balance; the car became more difficult to drive with the changes we made for FP2, but it also felt a little quicker. So we need to review if there's anything we could have done better for FP2 and what we're going to do for tomorrow. It's nice to have a new engine with a bit more power; it's not a huge difference, but you can feel it, and it's a really good feeling. The car seemed strong on both long and short runs, but Ferrari was very quick on the straights, so I expect it to be a very close fight tomorrow. But I like this track and I'm confident, so I'm looking forward to qualifying."
James Allison, Technical Director
"It was a day with some promise in it, but also some difficulty. We had a fuel system problem with Valtteri in the morning which fortunately we've understood and should have dealt with properly for tomorrow. We lost some track time with that in the morning and then we lost a bit more in the afternoon as a result of Lewis touching the wall. But in amongst those two difficulties, the car was actually pretty well behaved and seemed to be relatively quick on short and long run alike. We still managed to run all three tyres and get a feel for what they're going to be like in race conditions on a track which today was around about the sort of temperatures we can expect to see on Sunday. We can see very clearly that the rear tyres are going to get pretty hot, but we saw some hope that we should be able to manage that and not let it run away from us. But we also saw in the single lap work that it is going to be a good old fight between us and Ferrari who we have long feared at this track. So it's going to be an interesting fight tomorrow and again on Sunday."
Many in the paddock were talking up Ferrari's chances before the race, but they didn't look like contenders in first practice. Leclerc struggled for grip, locking up his tyres whilst Vettel spun at the hairpin in a disappointing showing. That changed in more representative conditions in the afternoon when they made the best use of the soft compound in the warmer temperatures, Leclerc leading the way with Vettel not too far behind. When the engines get turned up tomorrow, will they remain on top of the pile?
Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:13.905, P5; FP2: 1:12.251, P2
"It was an interesting session: the track was rather slippery at the start and I know it’s going to improve bit by bit as the weekend progresses. We struggled again with the tyres, especially in terms of performance over a long run. We will have to work on that in the third free practice session, because having a good grid position is vital.
"At the moment, I’d say we’re not the quickest, especially over a single lap, where our main rivals seem to have a slight edge. We lack grip in the slowest corners and I’m still not getting the feeling I want from the car. We will try changing some settings to find the right balance, which is eluding us at the moment."
Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:13.720, P3; FP2: 1:12.177, P1
"It has been a positive day overall. There was quite a bit of concrete dust on the track this morning, which, in combination with high temperatures, gave us a challenge in terms of grip. The conditions improved throughout the day and I felt more comfortable in the second session. We made a good step between FP1 and FP2 and will have to continue working hard to repeat this tomorrow. It is still difficult to say where we will stand in qualifying. We expect our competitors to be strong and will do our best to secure a good result."
A mixed day for Red Bull. Gasly was ragged at times, running off and struggling for both grip and pace. Verstappen meanwhile looked quick - until he became the first driver to hit the infamous Wall of Champions. His mitigating excuse was that he did find himself bottled up behind his team mate through the final corner, costing him downforce. Nonetheless it was a tough moment for Verstappen and a costly one as he was forced to sit out most of the session whilst his team repaired the damage to his RB15.
Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:13.755, P4; FP2: 1:13.388, P13
“For me FP1 was fine and I felt good in the car. It maybe didn’t look easy from the outside in FP2 but from my side the car also felt good. I couldn’t finish the push lap in FP2 which was unfortunate. As I arrived at the last chicane I was in the wake of Pierre’s car and I understeered into the wall. It’s a shame and we missed a bit of running but when we were running the pace was pretty decent. Of course we want to do better and I think the slippery track was also not in our favour today but the long runs look competitive, so I’m happy about that, even with the disrupted running and we just have fine tuning to do for tomorrow. It’s very dusty out there and I had to use four or five tear offs when usually I don’t even use one, it’s a bit too much, especially off-line, but hopefully conditions will improve tomorrow.”
Pierre Gasly - FP1: 1:14.570, P13; FP2: 1:13.345, P12
“Today we tested a lot of things in FP1 and FP2 but at the moment I seem to be lacking a bit of pace, so we need to analyse everything tonight and come up with some solutions for tomorrow. We had high tyre degradation but maybe that will make the race interesting on Sunday as also other teams were struggling with the tyres so we are in the same boat. I didn’t see exactly what happened with Max, I was preparing my lap and starting a new push lap, when they told me he was coming so I tried to push and be out of his way. It’s still early to say what’s possible in qualifying tomorrow and we have one more practice session, so we need to do some work tonight. I don’t know if we will be able to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari but we will try everything we can.”
Sainz spent much of FP1 with the bright green flow-vis paint covering his MCL34 as McLaren gathered data about aerodynamic modifications to both their front wing and rear diffuser. Whatever they've added appeared to work with the Spaniard not just 'best of the rest' in P4 in second practice, but within a few tenths of the big hitters out front. Encouraging indeed.
Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:13.973, P7; FP2: 1:12.553, P4
“We can be pretty happy with Friday. The run plan was ambitious, doing a lot of out-ins, getting in a lot of tests for the aerodynamicists, a lot of components back-to-back and trying to find the right compromise. In that sense, I think we’re working in the right direction and it’s good to have new parts to try in search of performance.
“I felt comfortable with the car from the morning session and that obviously helped to put together a decent lap and to have good pace on the long run. That was encouraging, but today is only practice, so we need to keep our heads down and work hard to see if tomorrow we can confirm the pace of today.”
Lando Norris - FP1: 1:14.246, P11; FP2: 1:13.249, P11
“Overall it wasn’t a great day for me. I got to grips with the track reasonably quickly – it’s not the most difficult to learn – but I struggled to make any advances. I’m struggling with some things that I’m finding difficult to improve on.
“There’s potential – Carlos is extracting a lot more out of the car than I am. So the pace is there in the car but I’m just not doing a very good job. I’m going to try to improve on that tomorrow so things should be better.”
Andrea Stella, Performance Director
“Both sessions went as planned today. We had some test items to go through in free practice, which we’ve brought here thanks to the hard work going on back at the factory to deliver upgrades for us to check. The drivers and the team here trackside have also done a good job managing a couple of busy sessions with lots of changes.
“The car is behaving okay, although there are some issues with the balance and grip that we’ll try and improve overnight. We seem to be in the game to compete for a place in Q3 tomorrow, although we know that the midfield is very tight and therefore it will be challenging.”
Haas had a mixed day - Grosjean struggled for grip, spun in first practice before complaining repeatedly about his rear tyres in FP2. Haas will want to work on the set up of the Frenchman's car ahead of tomorrow. Magnussen was quieter and looked the quicker of the two but did fall foul of the track, running the wrong side of the bollard when misjudging the last corner, and had to explain himself to the stewards afterwards.
Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:14.645, P15; FP2: 1:12.392, P11
“It’s not been ideal. I generally struggled with the pace and the grip – in the rear end mainly. The balance has been inconsistent, and around here that doesn’t bring confidence. We’re going to try to understand what’s happening. Kevin’s been very fast in FP2, which is good to see, so I’m sure we’re going to find something and get up there tomorrow.”
Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1:14.202, P10; FP2: 1:13.598, P17
“It’s not been too bad today. Our running on low fuel was good, on high fuel we just need to make sure we’re on top of the tyre management, that’s still the main thing to work on. We’ll do what we can tonight to learn what we need in order to get more from the soft tyre here. I’m not sure – in terms of the qualifying pace, how much more there is to come, hopefully a bit. It was running smoothly today, we had no major issues. Our main focus is on the race pace.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“As normal in Canada, FP1 is all about cleaning the race track – just to get a feel for it. FP2 is more representative of what you need for the actual set up. We had a good day of work, we completed the program laid out. We’re pretty happy with what we learned, and we’re ready for tomorrow.”
It was a quiet day down at Renault, who once again used Friday's practice sessions to gather data and optimise car set up, rather than focus on headline times. The good news is that Ricciardo looked quick and was more positive about tyre wear than a number of drivers. Whether they can take that into qualifying and push for the top 10 remains to be seen.
Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 1:14.474, P12; FP2: 1:13.168, P9
“I’m reasonably happy with today. It’s always fun around here and I really like the track. It was a decent Friday, the car feels good, but we’ll have a look at a few things and make some tweaks. Our short run pace was fine, it’s tight in the midfield but we ran quite early in the session and maybe others had the advantage of the track improving. Our long runs were also OK, but graining on the Soft is something to look out for over the weekend.”
Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:14.123, P8; FP2: 1:13.016, P8
“Today’s been pretty good and we achieved a lot of running. We seem to be close to where we’re aiming but still want a bit more. We looked at the pace of a few others and know that there is still a bit of time to be found. Both my long runs had quite a different balance so we’ll work out which one works better and go from there. We went through quite a few items and that was positive for us. All in all, a good day where we put in a lot of laps around a really fun race track; I like it here!”
Nick Chester, Chassis Technical Director
“It was a reasonable day for us. We had a decent programme of items to evaluate, which we worked through quite well. We conducted tyre evaluations, which proved interesting as the gaps between the compounds were a little different to what we were expecting. The track was very dusty to start the day and that meant we couldn’t learn that much in FP1, but it continued to improve over the course of the afternoon. FP2 was more representative and we enjoyed some solid running there across both low and high fuel. It’s been a straightforward Friday with no real problems, but as ever, the midfield is super tight and we have a bit more to find tomorrow.”
Giovinazzi made a mistake in FP1, getting on the kerbs and losing control of his Alfa in Turn 9. He crunched into the wall, which ended his involvement and resulted in a precautionary gearbox change that limited the Italian's involvement in FP2. Raikkonen did get a fair amount of running in both sessions and looked there or there abouts for the top 10 shootout tomorrow. Alfa though, flattered to deceive in practice in Monaco, so will be looking to right those wrongs and carry this pace into qualifying and the race.
Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:13.945, P6; FP2: 1:13.542, P16
"We started okay, it’s still not the best feeling with the car, but we tried a few different things for the second practice. We still have a lot of work to do and if we can go a few tenths quicker then we can move up some positions as it is very tight in the midfield."
Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:14.582, P14; FP2: 1:14.870, P18
“It was a tough day for us, in which we haven’t completed a lot of laps. During FP1, I got a bit too much of the inside kerb on turn eight and that pushed me a bit too wide on turn nine. I lost the car on exit and there was the smallest touch with the wall, but enough to cause damage. FP2 was pretty much lost, as we only went out to check the car, so we lost a lot of track time today. We have a lot of work ahead of us tonight."
Perez kept his head down and delivered a full programme for the team, with encouraging signs that Racing Point are more on the pace than they were last time out in Monaco. Stroll, at his home race, had a couple of minor moments but other than that, the Canadian was happy with the performance of his RP19.
Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:14.172, P9; FP2: 1:13.003, P7
“We did a lot of work today and looked quite competitive, but it’s tomorrow and Sunday that matter. The track was really dirty all day long and so there was big track evolution with every lap – right up until the end of the session. We ran several different packages on the car, collecting the information we needed and analysing which parts are working the best. The main job tonight is to choose the best solution so that we can be even more competitive tomorrow. It’s always a really tight grid here and all the midfield teams look very closely matched once again. The performance of the tyres and the high degradation is also going to play a big factor on Sunday and should make it more interesting.”
Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:14.812, P17; FP2: 1:13.171, P10
“It has been a promising start to the weekend here in Montreal - certainly better than Fridays at recent races. The car feels alive at the moment, which is a good base on which to start building, as both the performance and the high fuel runs seemed promising. No doubt there are still some things we can do to improve, but we are definitely in the fight. We just have to keep working on things tonight, improving the details to find some more lap time. The field is very tight, with only a couple of tenths between fifth and tenth, so it’s going to be really close tomorrow.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“We end today pleased with what we’ve learned about the car and the tyres. The car crews had a big job list with lots of changes being made between the cars and between the sessions as we compared various different test items. The information we have collected will guide our decision-making for the rest of the weekend and the next few events. The dusty track surface didn’t make for easy testing conditions, but we pushed on with our programme and 139 laps represent a couple of race distances split between the two cars. It’s only Friday, but we appear to be in better shape here with good tyre data to help prepare us for Sunday when the weather is expected to be even hotter than today.”
Both Toro Rosso drivers complained about the feeling of the car, with both struggling around this tricky circuit. Albon couldn't pinpoint the problem, while Kvyat couldn't get his tyres into a working range. They did manage plenty of laps and thus the team have a wealth of data to get through, so hopefully the team will come back stronger tomorrow.
Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:15.343, P18; FP2: 1:13.521, P15
“It was an interesting couple of sessions today. This track always makes you study hard overnight on Fridays, so we will do our best to put together what we learned in FP1 and FP2 to try and find that little extra step tomorrow that we were missing today. We need to analyse where we were losing to our competitors – it’s the small things that can make a big difference - and if we manage to work well overnight we should be OK. This track may not suit us as well as previous tracks, but we can still do a good job for the rest of the weekend.”
Alex Albon - FP1: 1:14.703, P16; FP2: 1:13.436, P14
“It was a tough day for us. We need to try and do our homework tonight and come back with some solutions tomorrow. I think the balance isn’t too bad, we’re just lacking a bit of pace, so we need to understand why. We’ve had tough days before, so I’m confident we can analyse the data from today and figure out where to improve for tomorrow.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“The track started extremely dirty with lots of dust around, so the first runs in FP1, particularly for Alex who is new to the circuit, was all about putting in the laps and trying to build up the consistency. The grip level was very low for everyone but we seemed to struggle more than others, so we made a few changes during the first session to address this. We weren’t planning any big test items in FP1, because to run tests in Montreal is extremely difficult due to the rate of track evolution, so we spent most of our time tuning the grip and balance of the car. However, we ended FP1 with neither driver particularly happy with the car from a balance perspective, but also with the general grip levels of the car.
"We went into FP2 after making quite a few setup changes based on what we could see in FP1. We improved the situation, but in terms of competitiveness, we’re not where we expect to be - there’s still a bit more to find. While the cars were better in this session, they still struggled with overall grip. Overheating is also an issue here due to the track temperatures being high, but it appears others are managing it better than what we were able to today. We came here expecting graining to be a big problem, which it was on the C4 and C5. We have quite a bit of work to do for tomorrow to see what kind of changes we need to make to the car.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director
“On the PU side we had no major issues with any of our four cars today. However, looking at the time sheet from both sessions, we still have a lot of work to do to prepare for the rest of the weekend, but we know what we need to do to improve. That job starts with reviewing all our data tonight. I first came to this circuit with Honda over 30 years ago and I must say they have done an excellent job in rebuilding the pit buildings and other changes that make it easier for all of us to do our jobs.”
Latifi stood in for Kubica in first practice, the Canadian making his debut for the team in front of a home crowd. Unfortunately, it wasn't a stellar outing, with lock ups aplenty for the development driver. Roll on FP2 and Kubica was back in the cockpit at the venue where he won his only F1 race. Both he and Russell managed to keep their session clean, although the balance of the FW42 wasn't to the rookie's liking today. Can Williams turn that around overnight?
Robert Kubica -FP2: 1:15.287, P20
"The track today was quite slippery. I didn’t expect such conditions as we are sliding quite a lot. When I started the first few laps in FP2 there was a lot of dust, but these conditions were the same for everyone. It is good to be here, I came with a positive mood and there are no dramas but of course there are no big surprises. FP2 we managed to complete what we planned, now we have to do some homework, squeeze the knowledge from Nicholas, George and myself, to try to speed up a bit for tomorrow."
George Russell - FP1: 1:15.989, P19; FP2: 1:15.036, P19
"I enjoyed driving at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve; a new track for me. Our performance was as expected, the low fuel pace was on plan with our high fuel slightly better. It was a bit slippery at times, as anticipated, but overall, I enjoyed it. We have some work to do tonight to see what we can achieve tomorrow."
Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1:16.199, P20
"Today was my first FP1 of the season and I felt well prepared as I have had three full in-season test days with the team. For me, everything went very well with a smooth session and we ran a good programme. The track conditions were tricky due to the dust, but I kept the car out of the walls and got some good laps in to gather data for the team. It’s a very special feeling to drive in front of your home crowd. Montreal is the city that I was born in, I have a lot of family and friends here, so it was a special feeling pulling out of the pitlane."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
"At the start of FP1 the track was very dirty, making learning very difficult. Fortunately, we were able to gather some data with both cars whilst the track continued to improve. Nicholas focussed on some initial tyre work, running both the Option and Qualifying compounds, whilst George did some early set-up work using two sets of the Option tyres. Nicholas did a very good job in difficult low grip conditions, which was testament to his preparation at the recent track tests and in the simulator.
"Robert took over from Nicholas in FP2 and was able to build on the work that Nicholas had started as we continued to investigate the behaviour of the tyres on this smooth track. Robert was quickly up to speed and was able to complete some useful work ahead of tomorrow. George enjoyed a trouble-free session and was able to complete a good low-degradation long run on the Prime tyre at the end of the session."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"So far we’ve seen a less than typical Canada in many ways. Temperatures have been higher than usual, and the track also seems to have been more slippery than normal: it’s hard to know if those two facts are connected. We’re expecting more warm weather over the rest of the weekend, which will have an effect in terms of wear and degradation, on a circuit that always has quite high traction demands. As a result, the drivers will need to manage thermal degradation carefully, especially at the rear, which will have an effect on qualifying and race strategy."