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Hamilton Back On Top In Canada As Red Bull Stall

  • 3 min read

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in an extended second practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday as rain and a technical glitch kept the mighty Red Bulls off the top of the timing sheets.

Building on the momentum of a double podium at the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton clocked a best lap of one minute, 13.718 seconds around the island circuit where he claimed the first of his record 103 grand prix wins in 2007. He is a seven-times winner of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Right behind the seven-times world champion was his Mercedes team mate George Russell just .027 seconds back.

“I think there’s plenty more to improve on the car before we get to qualifying and I think all we can read into it is that the car is in OK shape,” said Mercedes technical director James Allison. “Lewis was impeded on his final corner so there is more.”

The dominant Red Bulls, who have won all seven races this season, never featured on a steamy overcast day with world championship leader Max Verstappen sixth best and Sergio Perez eighth.

While Mercedes and Ferrari’s results were promising, it was still too early to tell if they can close the gap on Red Bull come Sunday’s race.

“It is nice to be at the front rather than the back but I don’t think you can read too much into it,” said Allison. “We chose, thinking that this rain was coming a little sooner than it came, we ran our long run at the beginning of the session and our short runs at the end. Everyone else did it vice-versa, so we were doing our short runs when the track was at its best.”.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who finished second last year in Montreal behind Verstappen, had the third best time ahead of Aston Martin’s double-world champion Fernando Alonso.

Charles Leclerc was fifth best ahead of Verstappen.

The Red Bulls had appeared to be keeping their powder dry for a late run but any hope of getting top the timing sheets ended when a massive rain storm swept across the circuit in the closing minutes.

The Canadian Grand Prix got off to a stuttering start when first practice was halted due to technical issues with track cameras that developed after Pierre Gasly’s Alpine came to a stop on the side of the track with a clutch issue bringing out the red flags after just five minutes.

While Gasly’s car was quickly pushed to safety, racing never resumed as technical issues prevented a restart.

Only 12 cars managed to set a flying lap with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas fastest ahead of the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll.

Due to regulations that there must be 2.5 hours between practices, the FIA would not extend the session but instead added 30 minutes onto the second.

“I don’t know what happened with CCTV cameras or something like that,” said Hamilton. “I’m glad that we got to go out and it was nice to have an hour and a half session.

“I love driving this track.

“The car didn’t feel bad but I think we’ve definitely got some work to do.”