Max Verstappen fastest in 1st practice at Canadian GP

Doug Mendoza
June 10, 2018

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won an intense battle to take pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, with title rival Lewis Hamilton only fourth.

When he brought his Ferrari out for qualifying a day later, his problems - and the rest of the field - were behind him.

He added: "I get really exhausted of all the comments saying I should change my approach".

Montreal has been kind to the British driver, who claimed his maiden F1 win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007. While the driver and the team would like to add another win to their tally, there's a lot more than just that riding on today's result.

"We think it's a good tyre for us, and in the long run [in practice] I felt good on it", he explained. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 178 points, Ferrari is second with 156 points and Red Bull is third with 107 points.

After the high of triumphing in Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo qualified sixth behind Kimi Raikkonen, who ran wide onto the grass in his final attempt to improve his time.

While an issue during the second session was initially thought to be MGU-K related, many still fearing that the Australian is on the verge of a grid penalty following the Monaco failure, it turned out to be an electrical issue related to the Renault engine update. Mercedes was expecting to do the same, but it wasn't ready in time; they also chose to bring fewer sets of the softest tires. Obviously, Max showed some pace, so I think there's a bit for us to learn. "He was on a flying lap, so we all tried to get out of his way".

He has raced in the F2 series the last two seasons and now sits 10th in F2 standings after eight races this year, including a third-place finish at Baku, Azerbaijan.

"This is ridiculous. What are these guys doing?" he asked over the radio. "I will never do that". "Either they weren't told or they weren't looking".

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Mercedes are leading both championships after six races, with Lewis Hamilton 14 points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel . Romain Grosjean damaged his nose cone when he hit an animal, believed to be a groundhog in the afternoon.

"There was no chance to go slalom around them. There was no way for me to carry on". Yesterday we were a bit in trouble.

Speaking after Friday practice, Stevenage racer Hamilton said: "It's been a handsome day, the weather has been fantastic and the track feels better than ever".

"I'm enjoying it and I'm having fun", says Vettel. "Usually, I like this track". I guess I woke up the right way.

Romain Grosjean squeezed Carlos Sainz and Felipe Massa paid the price, and Sebastian Vettel dropped out of contention when he broke his front wing but used a two-stopper to race his way back up the field to fourth. The new specifications are all designed with performance improvements in mind, but it's hard to say it has been smooth running. "The points are tomorrow".

It is a welcome return to form for Verstappen, who ahead of the weekend looked agitated in Thursday's press conference, half-joking that he "might headbutt" the next person to ask him about the series of crashes and incidents which have overshadowed his first six races. But he dominated in practice, with the fastest time in all three sessions. We did the best we could with it. That has contributed to it and also he has just been driving really well all weekend.

"Happy with the progress we made today", Verstappen tweeted.

In the morning session, Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin spun and hit a wall, but was able to continue.

Fernando Alonso was impressive in seventh place for McLaren, just 0.598 seconds off the pace and on the same ultra-soft tyres as Mercedes were using. So really, really happy, it's an important day for us.

Other reports by GizPress

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