Canadian GP: Verstappen does talking on track, tops opening practice

Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

It was the best time in Friday afternoon's practice and a full second better than his best lap in the morning, when he was also the fastest.

"Ferrari and Red Bull were running the HyperSoft tyres, which we will only start using tomorrow so that's why our times didn't look that good today".

Then came three-time defending Montreal victor Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. "Starting on the softer tyre is a benefit as it's quite slippery on track and in the race I think we'll be competitive".

He has managed just one podium finish in a 2018 season littered with accidents, including a crash with his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in Baku.

"I got the job done".

"I think we've learned a thing or two from Monaco about the HyperSofts, so hopefully we can make them work".

His outlook had improved on Friday after leading in practice for the first time this year. We started to drive on the hyper today but was that the decisive factor? "The auto was working well".

Hamilton will start from behind the front-row in Montreal for the first time in seven years
Hamilton will start from behind the front-row in Montreal for the first time in seven years

Hamilton will still be chasing a fourth consecutive win in Montreal on Sunday to equal Schumacher's mark of seven victories at an island circuit named after Canada's late Ferrari great.

Despite that, Mercedes performed well in all three practice sessions followed by a superb effort from Bottas in qualifying.

"But the guys worked as hard as they could and had to take a sensible decision to not bring it here, which is definitely unfortunate". But I just struggled in the session and couldn't pull it through.

The opposite can be said for McLaren who normally sit near the bottom of the top speed stats but as always, Fernando Alonso can't be ruled out and the Spaniard took the final top 10 place. This season you have seen a lot of surprise results as well, so a lot of things can happen, but is it going to be enough to win the title? "The lap time, I can't say I'm too excited about".

All five of those drivers had been in the drop zone after their first runs in Q2, but despite all finding time on their second set of hypersofts none were able to break into the top 10.

Romain Grosjean damaged his nose cone when he hit an animal, believed to be a groundhog in the afternoon.

Local favourite Lance Stroll did not enjoy a happy homecoming either; he suffered a puncture in FP1 and ended up a disappointing 19th in the second session, putting him just ahead of Williams colleague Sergey Sirotkin. Sauber's Marcus Ericsson also had a spin that left him facing the wrong way on the track, but he straightened out and resumed. He is hoping to build on last year's appearance at his hometown track, when as a rookie he earned the first points of his Formula One career.

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