Verstappen admits rivals closed the gap

The FIA will be looking closely at the criteria required for the grade 1 license issued to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve following the lost first free practice sessions at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix.

CCTV cameras which are to be provided by the promoter and the circuit failed which meant race control was “blind” to any cars in trouble on track.



Mercedes top time sheets

So the practice session was cancelled and an extra 30 minutes added to FP2 later in the afternoon. The loss of practice one meant the teams running orders were thrown into chaos.

Some teams started FP2 with their qualifying simulations while others were trialing their long run pace and tyre degradation.

Of course the likes of Mercedes who ran the qualifying simulation later in the session when the track had gripped up ran their quick singles laps in more favourable conditions than the likes of Red Bull who did theirs early in the session.

This saw the Mercedes duo top the FP2 time sheets with Max Verstappen almost half a second down.



Perez ‘our rivals looking good’

Sergio Pérez only managed the right quickest time and revealed to the post session media, “It’s a shame about FP1, we really needed it.

“I think we have a good base, and we have to make sure we play a bit with the car. It was all a bit in a hurry and there’s plenty to understand for tonight.

“I think [our rivals] are looking good. We need to improve our ride as well.”

Norris criticises his team



Max: “car not fantastic”

Championship leader Max Verstappen was unhappy with the RB19 as the team struggled to find a good balance over the bumps and kerbs in Montreal.

“I think we still have some work to do,” Verstappen revealed. “The car is not fantastic at the moment over the bumps and over the kerbs.

“It’s not too bad but we definitely need to fine tune a few things.”

Insider claims to know Hamilton’s replacement



Verstappen suspects rivals closed the gap

Verstappen was asked whether Red Bull’s rivals had closed the gap on the unusual layout of the Canadian track.

“Yeah, let’s see,” he replied. “I think we didn’t have a good day, maybe they had a good day.”

“We know our limitations with the car and with the track, how it is now with the kerbs and the bumps. It’s definitely not suiting our package for now, but we’ll try to find a few improvements.

“Of course, it was not very straightforward with no running in FP1, but it’s the same for everyone, at least we got some running in FP2. A bit more of a tricky session but sometimes you have those days.”

Two new F1 driver contracts signed



Better day for Ferrari

Both Ferrari’s and Fernando Alonso finished the session ahead of Verstappen although the running on Saturday is expected to be we for both the final practice session and qualifying. 

Alpine had a difficult day and a quirk of the regulations means Esteban Ocon will start the wet Saturday sessions at a disadvantage.

Ocon didn’t run at all in the 4 minutes of free practice one then hit trouble after 17 laps of the extended second practice due to a loss of water pressure in his A523.

“A difficult day for us,” lamented Ocon. “Obviously not what we wanted because we didn’t do many laps like everyone in FP1, but in FP2 also we struggled as we did only a run and unfortunately that’s going to hurt us for tomorrow.”

Red Bull deny Verstappen request



Ocon suffers from quirky regulation

The with his car stranded behind the crash barrier the rain came late in the session. The majority of drivers bolted on the intermediate rain tyres something Ocon clearly was unable to do.

The current regulations dictate that each driver receives four sets of intermediate tyres for a race weekend. However, if either FP1 or FP2 is declared wet as was the second session in Canada, then an extra set is made available to drivers using the intermediates on Friday.

With both Saturday sessions likely to be wet, Ocon believes he will be at a disadvantage.

“We start the day with a bullet in the foot, because we are not going to have that extra inter tyres that others could carry after today,” said the Frenchman. 

“So I’m going to have very limited running probably in FP3 compared to the others.”



FIA may intervene

Nico Hulkenberg will suffer the same fate because his Haas F1 caught fire during the session and was being rebuilt by the team’s pit crew as the rains fell.

The Williams team decided not to send their drivers out in the rain and they too will be down a set of intermediates. Given they have only enough parts to upgrade Alex Albon’s car the team may have been concerned about damage to their cars.

The FIA may come to Ocon’s rescue if they do as they did at the previous race in Spain. Despite neither session being wet on Friday, all of the drivers were issued with an extra set before the wet qualifying session began.

READ MORE: Mercedes HQ blocking Hamilton deal

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.