Montreal FP2: Hamilton fastest in extended session

Montreal FP2: Hamilton fastest in extended session

Montreal FP2: Hamilton fastest in extended session
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second practice session for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, with George Russell a close second in the sister Mercedes.

However Mercedes one-lap pace in FP2 could be deceiving, as the Black Arrows set their times towards the end of the session when the grip was better, as opposed to Red Bull, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, preferring to start their session with race simulations.

So it would be probably wise to wait until the third practice session on Saturday before judging how good Mercedes are or will be.

Behind Mercedes, the two Spaniards, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso were third and fourth fastest, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen fifth and sixth.

The session that was extended to 90 minutes had its fair share of Red flags, two to be precise, and the rain arrived in the final ten minutes of the session, intensifying in its dying moments, which meant the teams made the best out of the extended second practice.

The intensity was much that Sainz reported aquaplaning on his way back to the pits, while Valtteri Bottas lost control of his Alfa Romeo.

Buildup towards FP2

There was nothing to take away from FP1 that practically ended just after three minutes from starting with Pierre Gasly breaking down bringing out the Red flag, after which the session was not resumed as it was revealed that there was an issue with the CCTV cameras at the track.

As such the drivers spent the 60-minute session waiting in their cars in the pits for a chance to do some running that never transpired.

So the first practice session was all wasted for the teams and drivers who needed to get up to speed on the track that is expected to evolve as the weekend progressed.

The 2009 Formula 1 Champion Jenson Button stressed on the importance of track time around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

He told Sky Sports F1: “It’s a very different track compared to Barcelona. It does take a while to get up to speed. The circuit does improve a lot over the race weekend.

“You want to get out there and do as many laps as you can but they will get an extra half an hour, so it’s not all bad. I was at an event yesterday and most of the people there have been coming for 20 to 30 years. These things happen, it’s disappointing.

“It’s not a normal circuit as well, so hopefully the fans will be around for the second session,” Button concluded.

Montreal FP2 session highlights

The good news just before the start of FP2 that the CCTV issue was sorted with a backup solution made available in case the problem recurs.

The FIA said in a statement: “The local organisers have now completed their work to resolve the CCTV issues and following a test of the system the delay in the feed appears to have been rectified.

“We therefore anticipate that FP2 will start on time at 16:30 (21.30pm BST) and run for 90 minutes. In the event of any further issues a backup system is in place to utilise the FOM trackside cameras as required.”

The second practice session started in ambient temperatures of 23C while the track temperature was 38C, but with a 40% chance of rain arriving over the 90-minute session.

The teams and drivers didn’t waste any time and were out on track as soon as the session was given the green light with Lance Stroll leading the pack.

Early on in the session, Verstappen complained to the pit wall about about the downshifts on his RB19. He said: “These downshifts are a joke.”

That was after he had just posted the fastest lap time up to the moment of the session.

Esteban Ocon had a close moment with a Ferrari who was impeded him in Turn 6, but there was no contact.

After 15 minutes of the session, Sainz had a moment in the final chicane, as he was a bit aggressive with the kerbs, his SF-23 going airborne and then getting too close for comfort to the Wall of Champions while exiting the corner.

Early on, Mercedes seemed to be focusing on long runs on high fuel, while Red Bull and Ferrari were doing some qualifying simulations.

Thirty minutes into the session, Nico Hulkenberg brought out the Red flag as his Haas lost drive and stopped on the side of the track in a cloud of smoke, on the start/finish line.

This time, the session was resumed quickly, with 53 minutes remaining on the clock. No CCTV issues so far.

Just after the session was resumed, Sergio Perez brushed the wall at Turn 7 while he was on his out-lap, and returned to the pits immediately to have his RB19 checked for damage.

The Mexican was soon back on the track.

Yuki Tsunoda had a big lock up at Turn 1 and run wide, but didn’t hit anything. His AlphaTauri remained in one piece.

Less than ten minutes after the session was resumed, the Red flag was out again. The culprit? Alpine yet again, but this time it was Ocon as he stopped on Turn 9 after the team instructed him to stop the car immediately.

The session was resumed with 43 minutes remaining, with most of the teams setting out on doing some race simulations.

Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries had a close moment in the pitlane as replays showed AlphaTauri releasing their driver into the path of his Haas counterpart, but closely avoided contact.

With thirty minutes remaining from FP2, AlphaTauri informed De Vries that rain would be coming in ten minutes.

Oscar Piastri, in the final 15 minutes of the session, brushed the Wall of Champions with his MCL60, but survived the incident, reporting that everything felt ok with the car.

Before Piastri, Gasly lost the rear of his Alpine at the same place, but kept it out of the wall. Russell also had a close moment at the wall.

The rain arrived with 12 minutes remaining, and despite the track remaining dry, both Red Bull drivers bolted on a set of Intermediate tyres to do a heat cycle on them, but soon the intensity of the rain increased.

How they finished

Sainz was the closest driver to get to the Mercedes pair in FP2, third fastest and 0.126s off the pace of Hamilton whose best time was a 1:13.718. Russell was 0.027s behind his teammate.

Alonso was fourth fastest in the Aston Martin, 0.326s slower than Hamilton, and was 0.050s ahead of Leclerc in fifth.

Verstappen was only fifth fastest, 0.424s away from the top spot and 0.048s slower than Leclerc.

In seventh, Bottas posted a lap time of 1:14.220, and was followed by Perez, the Mexican 0.030s behind the Finn.

Stroll was ninth fastest in the other Aston Martin with a 1:14.419 and was 0.375s off the pace of teammate.

Gasly round off the top ten with a 1:14.447.

FP2 Official Results