Canadian F1 GP: Verstappen leads Sainz’s FP1


The defending champion has always been at the forefront of the era in Montreal, which is making its first appearance on the calendar since the controversial events of 2019.

Verstappen kicked off the weekend in which he is set to make his 150th GP by taking a 0.25 second lead over the fastest Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso third ahead of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

While the threat of rain was only calculated at 20% for the session, looming gray clouds led to a flurry of track activity as soon as the one-hour countdown began.

Yuki Tsunoda was followed in the windy conditions by the Alfa Romeos and Daniel Ricciardos as only the Williams and Alonso duo initially remained in their garages.

And of those who jumped in straight away, all but Tsunoda and Leclerc (both on softs) emerged with a set of C4 Pirelli yellowwall tyres.

Initial markers flirted around the low 1m20s and high 1m19s efforts before Verstappen began to slow the pace considerably as he posted a 1m17.991 to sit 1.4s behind Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas, Ricciardo and Sainz all circled a second adrift of Verstappen before Hamilton cut to 1m18.613s to close the gap to six tenths.

See also  Jimmy Smith reacts to Vince McMahon's temporary resignation as WWE CEO and Chairman

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

All 20 cars had ventured out after six minutes to maximize track time after Thursday night’s showers, before Bottas climbed to the top with his 1m17.902s effort.

Verstappen at this stage was on a cool lap to re-energize his tires but then quickly smashed the second and third fastest sectors to reclaim the lead in a 1m16.507. This duly decimated Bottas’ time by 1.4 seconds.

Monaco winner Sergio Perez’s first significant race moved the Mexican half a second behind his team-mate until Verstappen set another fast lap.

The RB18 rider swept the sector at this point to dive to 1m15.799s, initially pushing him 1.2s ahead of Perez at the top of the standings.

Verstappen found an extra nine hundredths on his next attempt before Perez stormed to the top after 14 minutes with a 1m15.660s, which put him quickly four hundredths ahead.

After a hectic start to the race, track activity all but died down after the first third of the session before Perez and then Verstappen switched to soft tires after 28 minutes.

See also  SL vs AUS 5th ODI Dream11 prediction: Top picks for Sri Lanka vs Australia game in Colombo

However, Verstappen made a quick return to the Red Bull garage as a rear anti-roll bar issue caused his inside wheel to lift.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

But after Sainz took the lead with a 1m15.441s to take a tenth clear of Perez, Verstappen – despite conceding the first and second sectors to rival Ferrari – set the fastest time of the session.

He ran to his pace of 1m15.158s to sit 0.25s on the Spaniard before a final shift to medium for the peloton as they sought to figure out their respective race pace.

Behind Verstappen, who complained of cutouts as his rebadged Honda engine greedily consumed its electric hybrid assist, and Sainz was Alonso aboard his Alpine.

The double champion had played his fast and loose game in the last corner when an oversteer had taken him to the “wall of champions”.

Perez raced to fourth as Leclerc, who retired while leading the Azerbaijan GP last time out with a powertrain failure, was half a second behind Verstappen as he raced at fifth place.

See also  Serena Williams returns to tennis at Eastbourne in doubles after one year | Tennis News

Leclerc entered the session with new internal combustion but retained a used turbocharger to leave an impending grid penalty unconfirmed at this stage.

George Russell was sixth quickest in his Mercedes while Lance Stroll kicked off his home run leading a decent charge from Aston Martin in seventh.

Hamilton, who had complained about rear car balance, split Astons as Vettel finished ninth – the German having claimed pole in 2019 thanks to a 1m10.240s.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, completed the top 10 ahead of Pierre Gasly while Lando Norris finished 12th but ran 12 laps behind his team-mate as McLaren spotted a problem with the Briton’s car.

Alex Albon led Tsunoda and Ocon, whose session was cut short early by a right front brake fire caused by detritus entering the duct.

Bottas led a moderate Alfa Romeo front into 16th, while Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi and Kevin Magnussen completed the order.

In keeping with tradition in Canada, local groundhogs enjoyed a high-risk game of dodging cars as they rushed down the track.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here