Formula 1 in Canada: Verstappen hops, scolds and still leads

Vhe world champion Max Verstappen did not allow himself to be stopped by the recent discussions about the hopping cars following instructions from the world association. The 24-year-old World Championship leader raced to first place on Friday in first and second free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday (8 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 and on Sky). “Rule changes during the season are not okay,” he had previously emphasized: “You have to find your limit as a team, how far you can go.”

The day before, the Fia had intervened out of concern for the safety of the pilots. She asked the teams to make the necessary adjustments so that the extreme bouncing at high speeds does not put the drivers under such physical strain. He is also not interested in whether the Fia’s instructions are good or bad for them, said the Red Bull star.

As proof of this, Verstappen took first place shortly afterwards in the first hour-long session. He beat Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari to second place at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The veteran Fernando Alonso came in third, the 40-year-old two-time champion made it to fourth place on the slower tires in the Alpine, ahead of Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez.

In the second round, also over an hour, Verstappen was again unbeatable. Charles Leclerc, who is 34 points behind Verstappen in the classification before the ninth race of the season, finished second in the second free practice session after fifth place in the first round – his gap to Verstappen was only 81 thousandths of a second. Monegasse (116), who has dropped to third overall behind Verstappen (150 points) and Perez (129), may have to accept a grid penalty on Sunday.

By Friday, however, Ferrari had not decided whether a new or used engine would be installed for the defective engine from the last race in Baku. Should the Scuderia decide on a new variant, Leclerc will have to go back ten places on the starting line-up.

“We’re not in the best position to win,” Leclerc admitted. “It’s part of our discussion to choose the best course to accept a penalty.” However, the track in Montréal is a good course for overtaking, which would speak in favor of the penalty in the coming race.

Sebastian Vettel, who won in 2013 in a Red Bull and in 2018 in a Ferrari on the Île Notre-Dame circuit, finished ninth and fourth in the Aston Martin. Mick Schumacher took 18th place in the Haas in first and 15th in second free practice. Record world champion Lewis Hamilton, who, like Michael Schumacher, has won seven times in Montréal, did not get past eighth and 13th place in the Mercedes.

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