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Canadian GP 2018

JUNE 8, 2018

Practice 1 Report - That's showing them

Max Verstappen
© The Cahier Archive

By Dan Knutson in Montreal

Max Verstappen has come under criticism for his recent crashes including the one in practice in Monaco. In Montreal on Thursday he got testy when repeatedly asked in a press conference about the accidents. He then did his talking on the track and responded to the critics by setting the fastest lap time in Free Practice 1 for the Canadian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo wound up second and third and just a tick slower than Verstappen.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Ricciardo and Verstappen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes -Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda - Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.

Force India test driver Nicolas Latifi took over Perez's car for FP1.

Pirelli's tire choices for the weekend were: super soft, ultra soft and hyper soft.

Verstappen and Raikkonen were the first out on the 14-turn 2.709-mile (4.361 km) track.

It's the home race for Stroll.

"It's great to be home," he said Thursday. "I really enjoyed my week, catching up with friends, family. It was a bit of a busy week, a lot going to, but great to be home and can't wait to jump in the car tomorrow."

And now he was out on track with the rest of the drivers including fellow Canadian Latifi doing their install laps.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Centigrade).

But soon everybody was back in the pits and waiting for someone else to go out and "clean" the dusty circuit.

Finally, 15 minutes into FP1, Sirotkin and Ocon got back out there. Then others joined in the fun.

Monaco winner Ricciardo set the early pace with his lap time of 1:17.745 followed by a 1:16.306.

The drivers had a long way to go to get down to the fastest time in FP1 last year - a 1:13.809 clocked by Hamilton.

Alonso got to work on that with a lap in 1:15.006.

Hulkenberg's day came to a grinding halt when his Renault stopped with gearbox woes 28 minutes into the session, and out came the red flags so his car could be retrieved.

The top 10 at this time were Alonso, Vandoorne, Bottas, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Sainz, Grosjean, Sirotkin, Gasly and Raikkonen.

Fifty minutes remained when the session restarted. Unlike the start of the session, there was now a sense of urgency as a long line of drivers queued up to get back out there.

Bottas quickly trimmed the top time down to 1:14.243. He was on the super soft slicks. Alonso, on the ultras, turned a 1:14.064. Hamilton, on the super soft, broke into the 1:13 category with a time a of 1:13.967.

The time allotted to use the mandatory set of tires in FP1 had been extended to 51 minutes (rather than 40) because of the red flag. The order at that point was now: Hamilton, Bottas, Alonso, Vandoorne, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Vettel, Ocon, Sainz and Gasly.

Verstappen had done just five laps and not set a time. But now he was out on the hyper softs and jumped to seventh with a 1:14.911. Then he moved to fourth place after setting a 1:14.158. Then he took the lead at 1:13.389 followed by a 1:13.302.

Stroll became the first driver to find the walls as he tagged his right rear tire on the infamous Wall of Champions and limped back to the pits.

Hamilton got within 0.088 of a second of Verstappen while Ricciardo moved into third with 22 minutes to go. The latter was 0.216 of a second behind Verstappen who then pitted to have the front suspension checked.

The top guys were now on worn tires so the times would not be getting quicker in the final minutes. But Vettel did move up to fourth. And there were changes further down in the order.

The top 10 at the end of FP1 were Verstappen, who had not crashed, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Alonso, Sainz, Vandoorne and Gasly.