Canadian GP: Hamilton tops FP2, then crashes

Lewis Hamilton topped the second practice session for the Canadian GP – then crashed into a tyrewall at the hairpin on an exploratory out-lap in heavy rain.

Hamilton had already survived two scary moments during the session at Montreal’s infamous final chicane in the dry, first avoiding Romain Grosjean and later bouncing across the kerbs on an aborted quick lap.

Following heavy rain, Mercedes then made an ill-advised decision to send its drivers out on intermediate tyres on a track that had been soaked in an attempt to gather start data.

After he literally sailed into the tyrewall, Hamilton simply reported: “aquaplaned”.

Story of the session

With rain clouds threatening at the start of the 90-minute session there was a mad dash to get on track, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel taking the supersoft straight away. Once into the 1m16s bracket with 1m16.534s, Vettel lowered his time to 1m16.304s on his third flying lap on the tyres.

Hamilton’s initial soft-tyre run was ruined when he happened across a dawdling Romain Grosjean at the final chicane, the Mercedes taking to the escape road to avoid a potentially nasty collision. He also complained about a vibration on the tyres, and was then called into the pits to switch to supersofts as the rain threat increased.

After a poor first session, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was much more competitive in FP2, working his way down to 1m16.310s on the supersoft tyre, just 0.006s slower than Vettel.

Hamilton then went onto the supersoft and suffered his second big moment of the session, when he got the final chicane all wrong and bounced across the big kerbs, fortunately keeping his car out of the so-called ‘Wall of Champions’.

After a cool-down lap, he leapt from 15th to first with a 1m15.988s, three tenths quicker than the Ferraris. In comparison, Nico Rosberg only produced a 1m16.440s.

Then the rain arrived just over an hour into the session, curtailing the long runs and sending all the cars into the pits.

Pastor Maldonado was best of the rest for Lotus, ahead of Valtteri Bottas (Williams) and the second Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

Felipe Massa was eighth in his Williams, ahead of Daniil Kvyat – whose Red Bull had hit a left-rear brake problem before the rain hit – and teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

The other main incident of the session was Nico Hulkenberg appearing to suffer a left-rear puncture on the soft-compound tyre, claiming that he didn’t hit anything to cause the problem.

Pirelli investigated the issue, and claimed it was a wheelrim issue that caused the tyre to lose pressure, rather than the rubber itself.

Hulkenberg was 11th, ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso) and Sergio Perez (Force India). Fernando Alonso was 15th for McLaren, as Jenson Button toiled again and was 2.1s off Hamilton’s pace.

Hamilton's bizarre crash

Both Mercedes performed a crowd-pleasing lap in the rain on intermediates on a soaking-wet surface, apparently to gather start data from a wet start.

But Hamilton, who was first on track, aquaplaned as he approached the hairpin and went straight on into the tyrewall.

Although the impact was slow speed, it was enough to destroy his front wing. And further damage might have been incurred to the rear of his car while it was recovered.

Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1.  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes 1:15.988   22
2.  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari 1:16.304 + 0.316 19
3.  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari 1:16.310 + 0.322 20
4.  Nico Rosberg  Mercedes 1:16.440 + 0.452 22
5.  Pastor Maldonado  Lotus 1:16.600 + 0.612 15
6.  Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1:16.849 + 0.861 18
7.  Romain Grosjean  Lotus 1:16.864 + 0.876 15
8.  Felipe Massa  Williams 1:17.041 + 1.053 19
9.  Daniil Kvyat  Red Bull 1:17.092 + 1.104 10
10.  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull 1:17.111 + 1.123 16
11.  Nico Hulkenberg  Force India 1:17.120 + 1.132 15
12.  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber 1:17.261 + 1.273 17
13.  Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso 1:17.318 + 1.330 23
14.  Sergio Perez  Force India 1:17.367 + 1.379 20
15.  Fernando Alonso  McLaren 1:17.627 + 1.639 21
16.  Max Verstappen  Toro Rosso 1:17.657 + 1.669 23
17.  Felipe Nasr  Sauber 1:17.751 + 1.763 21
18.  Jenson Button  McLaren 1:18.135 + 2.147 20
19.  Roberto Merhi  Manor 1:19.531 + 3.543 15
20.  Will Stevens  Manor 1:19.734 + 3.746 13
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Canadian GP
Track Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Article type Practice report