Valtteri Bottas topped a shortened first practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this morning before Lewis Hamilton put in the fastest time in FP2 as a torrential downpour saw teams retreat to their garages late on.
Just four minutes of green flag running was recorded in FP1, with 12 cars managing to complete three laps before Pierre Gasly ground to a halt with clutch issues. What was expected to be a brief red flag to remove his car became much more lengthy when, after 15 minutes and Gasly’s car long being cleared, an FIA spokesperson revealed the delay was due to issues with CCTV infrastructure around the circuit.
An additional statement followed shortly after, reading: “The delay will be longer as the CCTV is not synced correctly, and until the issue has been fixed, we cannot run on track. This system is a local installation, and they are continuing to work to resolve the problem. The clock will continue to run down on FP1, and the session won’t be extended as there must be two hours between FP1 and FP2. We are looking at options to extend FP2.”
It was later revealed that FP1 would not resume and FP2 would be extended by an additional 30 minutes.
At that point, Bottas had set the fastest time, his 1:18.728 topping Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, respectively. Hamilton and teammate George Russell were joined by Esteban Ocon as the drivers not to set a time.
The issue was resolved in time for FP2, and teams were able to take to the track for some decent laps as wet weather loomed. Mercedes made up for a lack of run time in FP1 for Hamilton to top the time sheets with a best lap of 1:13.718, 0.027 seconds ahead of his teammate for a Mercedes one-two.
Carlos Sainz was the best of the rest, only one-tenth off Russell, while Alonso and Charles Leclerc rounded out the top five.
Verstappen, who complained about issues with his downshifts, was sixth quickest, four-tenths off Hamilton’s time, having completed 34 laps. Bottas showed his true pace to go seventh quickest, bettering his FP1-topping time by over 4.3 seconds.
Perez and Stroll were eighth and ninth, while Alpine returned Gasly to action following his FP1 difficulties to complete 39 laps and set the tenth-quickest time. The French manufacturer did, however, run into issues with Ocon and ordered him to come to a stop, triggering another brief red flag.
Prior to this, Nico Hulkenberg had also been in the wars, the German’s Haas smoking down the main straight and stopping ahead of Turn 1 with a small fire. A delay of around 10 minutes was required for this to be extinguished and for the car to be removed.
Weather conditions rapidly changed over the final 15 minutes, with the wind first picking up before a torrential downpour flooded the track in places and saw teams retreat to their garages for the final 5 minutes. Several teams did try brief intermediate runs but conceded defeat due to the nature of the conditions.
Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix takes place at 8.00 am NZ Time tomorrow, with the race following at 6.00 am on Monday morning. All sessions will be shown live on Sky Sport.
Header Image: Reuters