Verstappen already ahead in Canada

While Charles Leclerc is avoiding penalties for the time being, Max Verstappen took the lead in the first free practice session of the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr and Fernando Alonso.

Max Verstappen not letting up the pressure in Canada, who sees F1 again three years later. Less than a week after his victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the reigning world champion was the fastest in the first free practice session at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. The Red Bull Racing driver moved to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:15.158 on a track still far from its optimal level of grip, having been copiously washed by the violent storms which hit Montreal on Thursday and whose threat remains heavy for the rest of the weekend. Betrayed by his mechanics last Sunday in Baku, Carlos Sainz Jr is Max Verstappen’s first pursuer but returns 246 thousandths of a second to the Dutchman. The Spaniard is closely followed by… his compatriot Fernando Alonso. While his maintenance alongside Esteban Ocon for 2023 is hardly in doubt, Oscar Piastri being insistently announced on the side of Williams next season instead of Nicholas Latifi, the Asturian took advantage of an Alpine in good shape to set the third time at 373 thousandths from the reference.

No (yet) penalty for Leclerc

Behind this trio with its unusual composition, Sergio Pérez finishes fourth but concedes no less than 461 thousandths of a second to his teammate on this first free practice session of the Canadian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, is also a good half-second behind Max Verstappen. The Monegasque was the center of attention at the start of the session. While it was rumored that he received a penalty on the starting grid due to a quota of engine elements exceeded, the Ferrari driver did use an essentially new engine… except for the turbo-charger, which was the main threat to him. George Russell follows Charles Leclerc when Lance Stroll leads Lewis Hamilton, having done the same time as the Briton but earlier in this session. French side, Pierre Gasly had to settle for 11th time one second after being at the rendezvous in Azerbaijan. Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, is not at the level of his teammate with the 15th time of this session. His seat now being threatened for next season, Nicholas Latifi was only overtaken by Mick Schumacher at the bottom of the standings.


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