Verstappen fastest in Canada practice

Red Bull's Max Verstappen sets the fastest time in both practice sessions on Friday at the Canadian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen was fastest in both Friday practice sessions for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver narrowly beat Lewis Hamilton in the morning session before improving his time in the afternoon, finishing the day with a best time of 1:12.198.

Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo was third both times, but was less than half a second off the Dutchman’s pace in both practices.

Kimi Raikkonen set the second best time of the day, ending FP2 just over 0.1s adrift of Verstappen’s benchmark, while Sebastian Vettel was almost 0.8s slower.

Valtteri Bottas finished sixth in the afternoon and was the slowest of the drivers from the top three teams, but Mercedes didn’t run the hypersoft tyres, having brought fewer of the softest compound than their rivals, although Hamilton managed his best time on supersofts, while Bottas used ultrasofts for his fastest time of the afternoon.

Romain Grosjean remains one of just two drivers yet to score any points this season, and he had an eventful FP2 after hitting a groundhog, resulting in damage to the front of his Haas. Despite the collision, the Frenchman finished the afternoon seventh, while teammate Kevin Magnussen was down in 13th.

It was a difficult day for Renault as both drivers missed time on the track and caused red flag periods. Nico Hulkenberg’s car stopped on track in FP1, leaving the German unable to set a lap time in the morning session. Carlos Sainz showed good pace at the start of the day, but spun and collided with a wall after just nine laps in FP2.

Further time was lost in FP2 when Stoffel Vandoorne struck the wall, breaking his suspension. The incident resulted in a lengthy virtual safety car period and limited the Belgian to 14 laps in the session. Fernando Alonso had a solid day in the sister McLaren, finishing both sessions inside the top 10.

There was a change of lineup for Force India at the start of the day as reserve driver Nicholas Latifi sat in for Sergio Perez in FP1. The F2 driver was almost a second off the pace of the Williams cars, but missing the opening session didn’t seem to affect Perez, as he ended the afternoon just 0.07s behind his teammate.

Brendon Hartley comes into this race following reports Toro Rosso wanted to replace him with McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris, but he had strong pace in the Honda-powered car in Montreal, finishing FP2 over 0.6s faster than teammate Pierre Gasly.

Last year’s F2 champion Charles Leclerc ended the day just outside the top 10, almost 0.3s faster than Marcus Ericsson, despite damaging his long run tyres after running wide.

Both Williams drivers had collisions in the morning, with Lance Stroll glancing the Wall of Champions to pick up a puncture before Sergey Sirotkin hit a barrier elsewhere on the track. Although they avoided further damage in the afternoon, they ended FP2 as the slowest two cars on the track.

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