FP1: Verstappen tops opening practice as Leclerc faces grid penalties in Canada

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Championship leader Max Verstappen completed another successful session by setting the pace in the opening practice for the Canadian Grand Prix while Ferrari's Charles Leclerc might be forced to start the Montreal race from the back of the grid. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on FP1.

Drivers had a full-packed programme for the opening practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix as teams were aware that it could have been the only dry weather session on Friday. That is why every drivers completed high mileage with the exception of McLaren’s Lando Norris, who had a few reliability issues to cope with in FP1.

The most diligent driver was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by notching up a total of 33 laps, but seven other drivers completed at least 30 laps in the first practice on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Reigning world champion and championship runaway leader Max Verstappen appeared to be quick from the beginning of the session, setting the pace early o non the yellow-banded medium compound. His team mate Sergio Perez could eclpise the Dutchman’s time on the C4 compound, but the Verstappen bounced back when drivers started to concentrate on the softest rubber. On this compound, Perez was unable to extract everything of his RB18 and ended the session in P4.

Sainz finished the session second, 0.246s adrift of Verstappen. The Spaniard appeared to be fastest through the first two sectors, but was unable to keep up with Red Bull’s superior straight-line speed in Sector 3. His team mate Charles Leclerc, who lost three possible wins in the last three races, only set the fifth fastest time, but he was not intrested in pursuing the fastest lap time as Ferrari is set to change multipe power unit components in his car.

The Scuderia has already installed a fresh internal combustion engine, a new MGU-K, a new MGU-H and a new control electronics into the Monegasque’s car which would not trigger any penalties as these new components are all within his allocation fo the 2022 season. However, Leclerc is expected to receive a new trubocharger later on over the weekend which would lead to a grid-drop penalty.

He might get further new components in a bid to stockpile fresh components for the later stages of the season. If Ferrari opts for this strategy, Leclerc would start the race from the very back of the field alongside AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, who has also received fresh components.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso secured a suprise P3 with Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton managing a P6 and P8 respectively. However, the trio set its best laps on the red-walled compound a bit later than the majority of the field, hence making benefit from the rapidly-evolving track.

Aston Martin continued to impress with their upgraded package which they debuted in Barcelona. Lance Stroll ended up seventh fastest on home turf with Sebastian Vettel grabbing the ninth position.

There was an extremely tight battle behind the tenth fastest Daniel Ricciardo with Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Alexander Albon, Yuki Tsunoda Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas all separated by only two tenths of a second.

Zhou Guanyu had a few difficulties on his first outing on the challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve while the Haas pair of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen suprised with their lack of pace.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:15.15826
255Carlos SainzFerrari1:15.404+0.246s33
314Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:15.531+0.373s30
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:15.619+0.461s31
516Charles LeclercFerrari1:15.666+0.508s29
663George RussellMercedes1:15.822+0.664s28
718Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:15.877+0.719s31
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:15.877+0.719s26
95Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:16.041+0.883s32
103Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:16.083+0.925s28
1110Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:16.165+1.007s28
124Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:16.211+1.053s17
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:16.308+1.150s28
1422Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:16.322+1.164s32
1531Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:16.421+1.263s25
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:16.426+1.268s27
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:17.152+1.994s29
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:17.223+2.065s24
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:17.241+2.083s32
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:17.555+2.397s30