A lot to look forward to in Canada, after the dramatic events of last week’s grand prix in Baku, be it Ferrari’s ongoing implosions, or Mercedes’ chronic bouncing, and last but not least, which of the drivers will be gracing the Wall of Champions this year.
Ferrari head to Montreal trying to find positives within their recent troubles, as Charles Leclerc is still feeling the pain of two DNF’s – Barcelona and Baku – in three races, as he now contemplates how to recover the 34-point deficit to Championship leader Max Verstappen.
Mercedes have their own troubles to think about, as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve should be a track that induces “porpoising”, or is it bouncing, but it may also be bottoming in their ever troublesome W13.
The FIA announced they will be clamping down on the “bouncing” for the sake of the drivers health and safety, after Mercedes themselves and their drivers were the major plaintiffs against the phenomenon.
The World Champions – not wrongly accused of trying to push for a regulation changes – could end up shooting themselves in the foot, as the quick fix will be raising the car’s ride height, something the Silver Arrow does not enjoy.
Montreal received the F1 circus with a stormy weather, but it cleared up in time for FP1 as the new generation of F1 cars ran in anger around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
At some point, Max Verstappen reported having his “inside wheel in the air”, and head back to the pits for the team to have a look at his rear roll bar, and was soon back out on track, setting the fastest time soon after.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1 that there are no updated for the RB18 this race, and said: “It’s the same Red Bull that it was seven days ago.
“Obviously with a tight turnaround between the races it’s very difficult to bring in anything new here, particularly with the budget cap as well this year,” he added.
But it was Yuki Tsunoda who got the first official kiss from the Wall of Champions, but lived to fight another day.
Maybe a sign of things to come from the Japanese driver?
Towards the end of the session, a groundhog almost caused an international crisis between Canada and Spain, as it dashed onto the track and almost got runover by Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. A close call there.
Verstappen’s session topping time was a 1:15.158, compared to 1:10.240 which was the last pole clocked around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that belongs to Sebastian Vettel back in 2019 when he was still a Ferrari driver.
Carlos Sainz was the second fastest, 0.246s off the pace of the reigning World Champion, as compatriot Fernando Alonso was a brilliant third in the Alpine, 0.127s further down the road.
Worth noting is that Alonso’s best time was set on the Medium compounds, while the top two times were set on the Soft. In comparison, Esteban Ocon was only 15th fastest in the other blue and pink car.