Canadian GP | Raikkonen leads Hamilton in FP2

Kimi Raikkonen tops FP2 at the Canadian Grand Prix, from Lewis Hamilton.

After Lewis Hamilton topped the morning session from of Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen fought back come second practice to put the Italian constructor on top – leaving morning pace-setter Hamilton two-tenths shy of Raikkonen’s pace. Meanwhile, spins befell Vettel, Grosjean, Bottas and Vandoorne as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve continued to show a lack of grip.

In the morning session, Fernando Alonso made his return to Formula One after sitting out the crown in the calendar, the Monaco Grand Prix, to race in Indycar during the 101st running of the Indy500.

Alonso’s return at the Canadian Grand Prix, however, came to a close as well as expected when the Spaniard was forced to abruptly park his McLaren on track and bring his running to an end. But while the Honda power unit was the immediate suspect, the cause for Fernando’s retirement was hydraulics. Leaving the two-time F1 champion with stiff steering and gearbox issues.

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Fernando Alonso sits pondering in the McLaren garage during FP1 at the Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: McLaren F1.

Fernando was not alone in suffering a short FP1, and in fact his lasted far longer than fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz’s. For the Toro Rosso’s session failed to even last a single lap as he came to a halt at the hairpin during his opening install lap.

Carlos’s early end meant Toro Rosso ran the opening session with a singular car, with which Kvyat ended the session in 10th place. Sainz’s parking also meant his car could not be returned to the garage until the session had finished, leaving only the break between running to solve their engine problems.

Toro Rosso’s work, though, was sufficient and when FP2 went green, Sainz was straight out on track. Breaking the silence alongside championship leader Sebastian Vettel, the second fastest man in FP1 having fallen 0.198 seconds short of Hamilton’s benchmark.

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Sebastian Vettel flicks through turn two during FP2 at the Canadian Grand Prix with the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres fitted. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari.

Being the first cars out on track, Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel laid down the initial benchmarks. With Sainz posting a calm 1:21.491 with his first time of the weekend, while Vettel lowered the top time into the 1:15s shortly into his run.

When later on the ultrasoft Pirelli rubber, rather than the earlier favoured supersofts, Vettel continued to lower the benchmark back towards the morning flyer inside the 1:13s. Shaving tenths of a second off his personal best time to head Raikkonen in a Ferrari one-two separated by a tenth of a second.

Things early on in the second session of the day, though, were not going perfectly for Vettel despite being the initial pace setter. For while he led Raikkonen, Vettel narrowly avoided ending his session in the wall of champions when he suffered a moment on exit of the final corner. Briefly fighting for control as he accelerated down the pit straight.

“I nearly lost it in the final corner,” chuckled Vettel on the Ferrari radio.

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Romain Grosjean returns to the Haas garage during FP2 at the Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Haas F1 Team.

A lack of grip was a reoccurring sight in the morning session as multiple drivers found themselves spinning – with turn six particularly catching out drivers across the field. With the dirty track – part permanent raceway and part public road – visibly dusty when drivers strayed from the racing line.

Yet come FP2, the dirty track was not the cause as Romain Grosjean span on two successive laps at the same corner – turn six. Suggesting the Frenchman was fighting with his Haas more than the track. Barking down the radio; “I can’t spin twice at the same corner, something is not going right.”

Unfortunately for Grosjean, things continued to take a turn for the worse as the session progressed. Spinning again, this time at turn two, and raising his frustrations as the clock ticked on.

Grosjean returned to the radio; “What the hell is going on – I’m starting to be a bit fed up.”

Away from Romain, Red Bull, too, had issues in FP2. Seeing Daniel Ricciardo stuck in the garage early on in the session after reporting a loss of power. “It’s going to take a bit of time to solve, unfortunately,” came the initial response before later investigations left the units future usage in doubt.

Meanwhile, like Grosjean, Verstappen allowed his frustrations boil over on the radio as he cried; “Nothing is working. Nothing,” and needed calming down by his engineer who advised moving to ‘Fail 42’ to solve his dashboard disdain.

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Max Verstappen takes in the applauds of the crowds during FP1 at the Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Red Bull Racing.

As the session rolled on and issues befell Ricciardo and Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen bettered his team-mate’s pace to take the top spot on the leaderboard. Lowering the top time into the 1 minute 12s on the ultrasoft tyres after particular gains were found in the middle sector.

Raikkonen was joined in out-pacing Vettel’s early benchmark by the German’s closest championship rival – Lewis Hamilton. With the Mercedes driver nestling between the Ferrari duo, two-tenths down on the Finn’s pace.

Times posted by Massa and Ocon, albeit a further second down the order from Hamilton, were enough to secure sixth and seventh in the standings for a majority of the session.

Their places only disrupted by late gains from Fernando Alonso come the chequered flag, when the McLaren driver pushed on to move up and snatch seventh after a nine-lap stint on ultrasoft tyres.

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Fernando Alonso pushing late on in FP2 at the Canadian Grand Prix. Photo credit: McLaren F1.

Following the flying laps that saw Raikkonen and Hamilton adopt the top two slots on the timesheet, long runs and race simulations began to roll out the Montreal pit lane.

But while race simulations unfolded, problems still arose for teams across the paddock. Seeing Stoffel Vandoorne spin at the final corner before Valtteri Bottas span in the first sequence of corners and Vettel spun at turn six.

Stoffel’s spin luckily began soon enough into the chicane so that the Belgian did not become the latest casualty of the wall of champions, too.

But the session was not yet over and time remained for one last driver to come to a permanent halt on track. With that man Max Verstappen, as his Red Bull slowed to a stop between turns seven and eight with a suspected gearbox failure. Instigating a brief red flag period for marshals to enter the circuit.

Pos Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 41 1’12.935
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 41 1’13.150 0.215
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 41 1’13.200 0.265
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 42 1’13.310 0.375
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 25 1’13.388 0.453
6 Felipe Massa Williams 38 1’14.063 1.128
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 19 1’14.245 1.31
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 46 1’14.299 1.364
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 38 1’14.461 1.526
10 Sergio Perez Force India 41 1’14.501 1.566
11 Romain Grosjean Haas 33 1’14.566 1.631
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 38 1’14.604 1.669
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 43 1’14.621 1.686
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 35 1’14.676 1.741
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 8 1’15.072 2.137
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 40 1’15.127 2.192
17 Lance Stroll Williams 40 1’15.240 2.305
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 31 1’15.611 2.676
19 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 20 1’15.624 2.689
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 31 1’16.308 3.373