FP2: Leclerc fastest as Hamilton hits wall

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Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have turned the tables by going fastest in second practice, edging out everybody else after Mercedes put in a dominant display in the morning’s practice session.

Valtteri Bottas was a close third to keep Mercedes at least present at the front. Lewis Hamilton had to settle for 6th after early contact with the wall saw him sit out the most of the session.

Carlos Sainz enjoyed an extremely fruitful session to go 4th fastest, notably less than 4 tenths down on the pace setting Ferrari. A worry for the McLaren driver might be the number of harder tyres his team brought along to Canada, as it was clear that the softs aren’t going to last very long if race temperatures will be as high as they were today.

Kevin Magnussen was 5th fastest, improving from 10th in the morning session. Perez in 7th stayed just ahead of both Renaults while his Racing Point team mate, Lance Stroll, completed the top 10.

The Mercedes were quickly on the pace again, taking the top two spots on the timing sheets on their first laps out on track, 15 minutes into the session. Hamilton at the time proved a few tenths quicker than his team mate, but that might be due to him using the medium tyre compared to the hard one on the Finn’s car.

Ferrari were again nearly a second down with their medium tyres, more or less evenly matched with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton went on to do more laps on the medium compound, but half an hour into the session found himself hitting the wall at Turn 8. The Brit had mounted the kerbs on the inside of the chicane, which proved enough to unsettle the car and slide the right rear into the wall.

Hamilton made a slow return to the pits, where engineers kicked off at inspecting the car and getting rid of the punctured Pirelli tyre. He didn’t return to the track, and hence completed just 8 laps, making it a disrupted Friday for the Mercedes driver.

Bottas meanwhile had lined up with soft tyres, and turned up fastest, only to see Leclerc and Vettel go even faster a few minutes later when they too tried out of the soft tyres. Verstappen didn’t get anywhere close, thanks to hitting the wall of champions on his first quick lap. The Dutchman ended up too close behind Gasly, lost downforce and hit the wall with the front right. Seemingly without damage, he dutifully returned to the pits for a checkup.

The long runs later on also proved how badly the soft tyres degraded. With track temperatures nearly 50°C, Hulkenberg pitted after 12 laps, reporting them “a bit dangerous”, while Vettel noted on his 13th lap that “the rear are melting away”. Clearly, with these conditions, the medium and hard are going to be the better racing tyres.

Results

Pos. No. Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:12.177 39
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.251 +0.074s 38
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:12.311 +0.134s 46
4 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:12.553 +0.376s 45
5 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:12.935 +0.758s 41
6 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:12.938 +0.761s 8
7 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:13.003 +0.826s 39
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:13.016 +0.839s 40
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:13.168 +0.991s 42
10 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:13.171 +0.994s 37
11 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:13.249 +1.072s 38
12 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 1:13.345 +1.168s 38
13 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:13.388 +1.211s 22
14 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:13.436 +1.259s 45
15 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1:13.521 +1.344s 40
16 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:13.542 +1.365s 41
17 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:13.598 +1.421s 39
18 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:14.870 +2.693s 16
19 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:15.036 +2.859s 36
20 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:15.287 +3.110s 44

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