(Motorsport-Total.com) – The weather held (almost) until the end, but the second free practice session of the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, extended to 90 minutes, still featured some highlights. For example, a “major engine failure” for Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg and a technical fault for Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in second free practice in Canada
And a surprising result: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) set the fastest time in Montreal (1:13.718 minutes), 0.027 seconds ahead of his teammate George Russell. Big favorite Max Verstappen (Red Bull) finished sixth, 0.424 seconds behind.
At the start of training, Verstappen complained, as often, of gearbox problems: “It’s a joke to downshift! However, it’s not unusual on Friday and has always overpowered Red Bull in time for Saturday and Sunday.
“The backlog is a bit confusing”, marvels Helmut Marko in an interview with ‘ServusTV’. “The track got a lot faster towards the end. But we had a long run there. Nevertheless: the car is too choppy. We have a lot to do.”
Mercedes’ double best time worries the Red Bull consultant: “They have become much faster.” But: “I’m afraid Ferrari are even stronger here. They came out around the same time as us. And Leclerc’s long run in particular has been very impressive.”
Third, Carlos Sainz (Ferrari / +0.126) ahead of Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin / +0.326) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari / +0.376). Friday was particularly important for Aston Martin as owner Lawrence Stroll’s home race brings the team their biggest update of the season so far. At the end of the second practice, Alonso was still driving with pontoons painted with FloViz paint.
The long simulations are usually the most important on Friday afternoons in terms of racing. This time, however, those were rare. Verstappen was the fastest on average with the medium (1:17.6 minutes), followed closely by the two Ferraris and Alonso in the Aston Martin. There is no direct comparison time from Mercedes.
Verstappen doesn’t believe Mercedes is suddenly capable of winning on its own: “We didn’t have a good day and they did,” he said. “We still have a bit of work to do. The car doesn’t handle curbs and bumps very well. It’s not that bad, but we still need to polish some things. A tough session. But sometimes you just have days like that.”
And how does Mercedes assess the start? “Of course it’s nicer to be in front, but I think you shouldn’t read too much into it,” warns technical director James Allison to be careful. “We thought the rain would come a little earlier, so we did some long runs from the start. Everyone else did the opposite. So we did our qualifying laps when the track was in the best condition.”
“After his lap, George said on the radio that it was not a very good lap. We can definitely improve some things on the car before we go to qualifying,” he added. “What we can read: The car seems in good condition. But we don’t deserve positions 1 and 2 with it. We didn’t drive at the same time as the others.”
Engine failure at Hulkenberg
For Hülkenberg, the working day was over after 28 minutes. “Oh shit. I lost the engine. Out of propulsion. There’s a fire,” he said, rolling at the start and finish with his rear end smoking. His race engineer replied: “Stop and get to safety. Don’t forget to go to P1 and P0 then over there.”
Until then, Hülkenberg had completed three laps in the first practice session and eleven laps in the second practice session. His foam-covered car was quickly returned to the Haas pits, but he was unable to drive afterwards. And the session had to be interrupted for nine minutes when it resumed.
It was “a major engine failure”, reports team boss Günther Steiner on ‘ServusTV’: “A piston broke. It was the drive engine. Now the racing engine is coming. We are sending the drive engine to Maranello for analysis. I don’t know if the turbo is broken too. The electrical part should still be in good condition.”
Alpine: Another technical defect
The road had only been open for five minutes when red flags were waved again. This time Ocon (18’/+1.374) came out at turn 9 and the stop lasted five minutes. Alpine later confirmed that Ocon had been advised to take precautions to avoid engine failure due to loss of water pressure.
Pierre Gasly was already deployed in FT1. Team boss Otmar Szafnauer explains: “We always drive with the spare steering wheel. Just to make sure it works. We had an electronic fault on Pierre’s car in the first practice session. When the car came back and we put the standard steering wheel back on, everything worked again. Now we need to find out exactly what the problem was with the spare steering wheel.”
Hometown hero Lance Stroll first caught the eye after nine minutes when he was ‘shot down’ in the pit lane at 97.8km/h instead of the permitted 80km/h. A costly start to the weekend, as it costs the FIA a fine of 1,000 euros.
Stroll was ninth and finished 0.701s off the fastest time, 0.375s slower than Alonso. Team boss Mike Krack can explain this: “It’s about whether or not you get the last chicane. And we also ran different wing settings with both cars to maximize testing time,” he said in an interview with ‘ServusTV’.
The rain came at the very end
By the way, the rain which was actually scheduled for Friday afternoon, which the teams feared after the first canceled practice session, arrived, but it arrived late. Heavy rain set in five minutes before the end, making it impossible to improve the times.
Even before that, a very moody mood had shaped television images of Montreal as it was extremely dark, but the rain was slow to come. Longer than expected: Ferrari has already sent Leclerc onto the track with intermediates before he even got wet.
Why did the training last 90 minutes?
Originally, only 60 minutes were scheduled for the second free practice session. But due to a technical problem, the first practice had to be interrupted after just four minutes. The FIA has therefore decided to extend the second practice session by 30 minutes and to start it 30 minutes earlier than planned.
Incidentally, the reason for the cancellation of the first training session was curious. The race management staff, responsible for securing the course, saw images of the course on their monitors, but they did not receive them live, but with a time difference. Race director Niels Wittich thought it was a risk – and decided that safety could not be guaranteed under the circumstances. (To the detailed report of the first training!)
Where can I watch the Canadian Grand Prix live on TV?
There is a six hour time difference between Montreal and Munich. This means that qualifying and the race will take place during prime time for Germany. (To the detailed TV program for Canada!) In Germany, the Canadian Grand Prix can be seen exclusively on pay-TV provider Sky. Sky recently streamed the Barcelona race for free on YouTube. It is not planned for Montreal.
Qualifying starts on Saturday at 22:00 German time. Sky begins the preliminary report at 9:30 p.m. (with expert Ralf Schumacher, among others). The start time for the race is Sunday evening at 8 p.m. German time. Preliminary reports on Sky begin at 6:30 p.m. (AD: You are not yet a Sky customer, but would like to see the Canadian Grand Prix live? So get the WOW streaming service now and watch Formula 1 on Sky without a receiver!)
Long-term analysis: is Mercedes really that good?
to the video section
If you’re not a Sky customer but still want detailed insights into every day of the race weekend, you can visit the Formel1.de YouTube channel (Subscribe to the channel now for free!) in good hands. At 3:00 Kevin Scheuren and Christian Nimmervoll report with the daily F1 show (or the next morning in the re-live for breakfast). Friday with special guest Kevin Hermann, who analyzed long-term data using tools from the German tech company PACETEQ analysis.
Devoted beer advocate. Alcohol specialist. General tv evangelist. Zombie practitioner. Travel enthusiast. Avid gamer. Bacon expert. Pop culture fan.