Max Verstappen silenced his critics following statements of head-butting anyone who criticized his driving by taking both Friday practice sessions in preparation for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada.
The Dutchman set the best time of the day in the second session by 0.130 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, while Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo took third after spending most of the session in the pits with a power unit issue.
Both sessions were a fierce battle with both Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton trading the best times. However, in the last session, Verstappen completed his best time in the halfway through the round, while Hamilton dropped from view when Raikkonen and Ricciardo improved their times. The big disappointment of the day was Sebastian Vettel, who missed the early part of the session when his Ferrari stayed in the garage for most of that period. The German was 0.787 seconds off Verstappen, and still has 24 hours to improve his car for Saturday’s qualifying.
Throughout the entire sessions, a few incidents occurred, but all were minor. Hometown hero Lance Stroll was the first victim to strike the famous “Wall of Champions” with his Williams team, while Romain Grosjean struck a groundhog on the circuit with his American Haas F1 car. Nico Hulkenberg capped off a dreadful day for Renault, encountering a gearbox issue in the first session, stopping his car onto the main straight, which brought out the first red flag of the day.
Hulkenberg’s teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr., lost his back end through Turn 7, clouting the car severely and along with Stoffel Vandoorne, who did the same thing a few minutes later at Turn 8, brought out the second red flag of the day.
Hamilton ended up fourth, while Vettel, despite his short session was fifth. Valtteri Bottas finished in sixth, while Grosjean even with a confirmed road kill, took seventh. Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez finished eighth and ninth, respectively, with Fernando Alonso taking tenth. The second American Haas F1 team driver Kevin Magnussen finished the day in 13th.
It should be a battle for the rest of the weekend as all the top three teams can take advantage of the clear weather and better rubber to set fast times on both qualifying and race day.