Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Mistake-free Verstappen fastest in Canada

Mistake-free Verstappen fastest in Canada

Under-fire Dutchman Max Verstappen delivered a flawless riposte to his critics on Friday when he topped the times in both practice sessions for this weekend s Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

The Australian lapped the unforgiving steel-lined streets of the Mediterranean principality in one minute and 11.841 seconds to outpace the Dutchman by almost two-tenths of a second with the first lap under 1:12 at the track. The tyres were holding on really well at the end when I was challenging Valtteri because he was fuel saving which shows our auto was working well and for sure we have a very competitive vehicle at the moment.

Mercedes' championship leader Lewis Hamilton, chasing a record equaling seventh Canadian Grand Prix win, was fourth best ahead of his Ferrari championship rival Sebastian Vettel and team mate Valtteri Bottas. Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest for Ferrari but the competitive picture was skewed by Mercedes opting against using Pirelli's fastest compound - the hyper-soft - on either auto across both practice sessions.

"They'll be hard to beat, " the Australian said.

Stroll, in his second season with Williams, posted the 19th fastest time of 1:14.703, outpacing only his Russian teammate Sergey Sirotkin.

Vettel's campaign started in spectacular fashion after he recorded back-to-back wins, but following an accident through no fault of his own with Max Verstappen in China, before falling off the track in Baku, and Mercedes and then Red Bull's resurgence in Spain and Monaco respectively, Vettel heads to Canada winless from his last four races.

"Starting on the hypersofts sets us up to be aggressive in attack, so should hopefully make for some good TV as well", Ricciardo said.

Latifi, the Force India reserve driver, ran only in the first of two 90-minute practice sessions before handing the pink auto back to regular driver Sergio Perez of Mexico. "There was some electrical stuff going on that hindered us this morning and then this afternoon, so not the best day, but we're OK". "Now we just have to break it down and get it in the best position for (qualifying)". "The lap time, I can't say I'm too excited about". The main thing was to get through the program, which we did. We learned a bit and I know the direction I want to go set-up wise.

The afternoon practice session, like the morning one, delivered two major incidents when Spaniard Carlos Sainz smacked the wall in his Renault, bringing a red-flag interruption for seven minutes, and later when Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne went into the barriers at Turn Eight, breaking the suspension of his McLaren. He attended the Canadian Grand Prix the last two years without getting a chance to drive. Raikkonen, the 38-year-old Finn, has been accused of touching the woman's breasts after the Montreal race two years ago.

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