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Practice report
Formula 1 Canadian GP

F1 Canadian GP: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in FP2 before rain hits

Lewis Hamilton headed a Mercedes 1-2 in Formula 1's second free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, as a downpour flooded the track in the final five minutes.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

The second practice session was extended by half an hour following the opening session's curtailment as technical issues emerged with the circuit's CCTV system.

This left the teams, who had managed only the most cursory of laps in FP1, with much in the way of data to gather ahead of Saturday's preparations for qualifying.

Charles Leclerc was first to bother the stopwatch, setting the opening benchmark of a 1m16.564s on the medium tyres, but the Ferrari driver was soon usurped as Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas threw their first efforts into the fray.

Max Verstappen then posted a 1m15.333s despite submitting complaints about his Red Bull's downshifts, taking the times down into the 1m14s with a 1m14.726s.

Leclerc then returned to the top and slotted in a 1m14.576s, before taking another two tenths out of his best time. His team-mate Carlos Sainz found even more time with a 1m14.196s, as the Ferraris found pace on their soft-tyre running.

A tenth uncovered by Leclerc placed the Monegasque back on top of the charts, where he remained after the opening half-hour; the times were frozen when Nico Hulkenberg ambled along the start-finish straight with a smoking car.

The German came to a stop ahead of Turn 1 to prompt a largely unwelcome red flag, creating a delay of about 10 minutes until the session resumed with just over 50 minutes remaining.

Marshals attempt to extinguish a fire on the car of Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Marshals attempt to extinguish a fire on the car of Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sainz picked up from where he'd left off and filed a 1m13.844s to collect top spot, as the Ferraris had been split moments before the first red flag by Verstappen as the Dutchman passed the slowing Hulkenberg.

With rainclouds looming and teams eager to collect more data, the session was once again paused as Esteban Ocon came to a halt at Turn 9 having been ordered to stop his Alpine.

Having helped the marshals wheel away his stranded A523, Ocon ensured the session could resume in a timely manner - although it had denied Leclerc a chance of overhauling his team-mate having set a purple first sector.

With the threat of rain impending, many of the teams opted to conduct their longer runs in the remaining 40 minutes; although Alonso set a best opening sector on a lap with the soft tyres, he could not carry that pace through the final sector and slotted his Aston Martin into fifth place.

When the session drew into its final half-hour, radio messages began to emerge that rain was 10 minutes away. Making hay, George Russell then fired his Mercedes onto top spot with a 1m13.745s, where he remained for a few mere seconds before Hamilton eclipsed him with a 1m13.718s.

Rain did not quite arrive as expected to afford more time for the teams to gather information on a dry circuit, but there were no other real challenges to the upper echelons of the timing board.

The wind then picked up, whipping up a cloud of pollen in the opening sector. Gusts and falling track temperatures then began to provoke more mistakes from the drivers, as Sainz and Alex Albon both sustained off-moments in the final 15 minutes.

Owing to slippery conditions at Turn 4, many of the drivers were afforded the chance to bolt on inters as the circuit was declared wet by race control - despite the lack of precipitation.

With five minutes remaining, a sudden deluge hit the track at the hairpin - although the southern part of the circuit remained largely dry to create a split in conditions.

Lando Norris was the first driver brave enough to continue exploring the circuit on intermediates after everyone else pitted, but he eventually conceded defeat and parked up in the pitlane. Aston Martin's spirits remained undampened, however, and both Alonso and Lance Stroll opted for exploratory laps on inters, followed by a handful of other curious teams.

But the circuit had become significantly wetter, rendering the inters barely able to deal with the standing water that had quickly suffused the track. Stroll and Sainz both suffered wide moments at Turn 8, escaping to the run-off.

Hamilton's time thus stood strong over Russell's, as Sainz completed the top three over countryman Alonso, who had split the Ferraris following the Ocon red flag.

Verstappen was only sixth, albeit just under a tenth clear of Bottas, as Sergio Perez and Stroll were eighth and ninth fastest.

Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri both endured wall-bothering antics, the latter's scrape against the Wall of Champions much more evident, but the McLaren emerged from the corner largely unblemished as the two claimed 10th and 11th.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 30 1'13.718  
2 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes Mercedes 31 1'13.745 0.027
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari Ferrari 39 1'13.844 0.126
4 Spain Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes 38 1'14.044 0.326
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 38 1'14.094 0.376
6 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Red Bull 34 1'14.142 0.424
7 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 40 1'14.220 0.502
8 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Red Bull 29 1'14.250 0.532
9 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 31 1'14.419 0.701
10 France Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 39 1'14.477 0.759
11 Australia Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 38 1'14.533 0.815
12 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 36 1'14.544 0.826
13 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 40 1'14.617 0.899
14 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 37 1'14.811 1.093
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Red Bull 43 1'14.941 1.223
16 Netherlands Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Red Bull 38 1'15.002 1.284
17 Thailand Alex Albon Williams Mercedes 33 1'15.003 1.285
18 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 17 1'15.092 1.374
19 United States Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes 38 1'15.426 1.708
20 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 11 1'16.369 2.651

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