Hamilton led the German team’s charge, which set a two-time best after the first day of free practice at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix on Friday.
The seven-time world champion clocked a time of 1 minute, 13.718 seconds (1:13.718), before torrential rain lashed the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in the final ten minutes of the session.
And the day before, Hamilton said he was confident Mercedes would make progress this weekend, especially after he climbed to the podium with teammate George Russell for the first time this season in the final race at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Barcelona result put smiles on faces across the team, but one swallow doesn’t make a springMercedes Technical Director James Allison said on Friday.
He added that drivers are happier with braking, but there is still a lot of work to be done to compete with the front of the grid. At least we got some good feedback about the effort to create these improvements.
George Russell set the second fastest time, 27 thousandths of a second behind Hamilton. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. followed in third, 0.126 seconds behind.
We’ve found our North Star, we now know which direction to go, and even if we don’t have all the solutions to our problems, we believe, as a team, we can get there.The British explained on Thursday, galvanized.
Hamilton often enjoys success at the Canadian Grand Prix. He has been victorious there seven times since the start of his illustrious career. This harvest allows him to share the record in the field with Michael Schumacher, and he loves to tell anyone who wants to hear that they love this track.
It’s definitely one of the drivers’ favorite tracks, said the 38-year-old. It’s the city, its energy… I recently asked a Canadian: “Is the city always like this, even when we’re not there?” Energy is always great. And the crowd was always great, right from the start.
This track, with its long straight lines, gives the impression of being a go-kart circuitHamilton added.
He was followed by Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in fourth and fifth. Max Verstappen, two-time world champion and championship leader, followed in sixth, 0.424 seconds behind.
The Red Bull driver will be the favorite to win this weekend, having won five of the first seven rounds of the season. The 25-year-old Dutchman is also the champion of the event.
For his part, Quebecer’s Lance Stroll had to settle for ninth, 0.701 seconds behind Hamilton, in a second free practice session marked by some interruptions.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas car engine noticeably gave up the ghost after about 30 minutes, leaving a thick cloud of black smoke in its wake. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) was also forced to immobilize his car at the edge of the track a few minutes later, due to an electronic problem.
Exceptionally, the second free practice session was extended by 30 minutes due to a technical issue with the circuit. F1 has also decided that it will start 30 minutes earlier, at 4:30pm local time, instead of 5pm, as planned.
A third free practice session will take place on Saturday morning, followed by a qualifying session in the afternoon.
Today could have turned into a nightmare for the Canadian Grand Prix organizers.
A failure of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit’s security camera network forced the marshals to shorten their first free practice session to just three minutes.
A problem with synchronizing the images, which would be about 30 seconds between the moment an event occurs on the track and the moment the marshal realizes it in the control tower, could have been at the root of the situation, according to publicist for the Canadian Grand Prix promotion group Sandrine Garneau-Lebel.
Therefore, for safety reasons, the marshals asked the pilots to return calmly to the pits, until the problem was resolved.
Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas still has time to set the fastest lap of the session – for what it’s worth.
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