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Verstappen Answers His Critics by Dominating First Two Practice Sessions

With confirmation that it was what’s called a MGU-K unit that had failed on Daniel Ricciardo’s car at Monaco, there was a shadow over his win and the possibility of a penalty being applied for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo’s kinetic energy recovery unit is part of the engine package and assists in power delivery by adding in the order of 160 horsepower or 120 kiloWatts. Thankfully for the Australian born Red Bull driver, Monaco’s narrow and tight circuit two weeks ago helped him keep the rest of the field at bay.

Penalty wise, it seems that Ricciardo and Red Bull look set to avoid a penalty for the Montreal race, but yet may still cop one for the next race in France.

Daniel Ricciardo of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Initial practice sessions have Red Bull with an upgraded power plant although Ricciardo reported electrical issues with his. Team mate Max Verstappen kept his nose clean and has run alongside Ricciardo with his quickest session a full half second quicker at 1:12.198.

The Silver Arrows have come with less hypersoft tires than the rest. Running the ultrasofts the two were on par with the Red Bull cars, with Lewis Hamilton saying: “Straight out of the box today I think we started right with the car set-up.” Valtteri Bottas commented: “I think we’ve learned a thing or two from Monaco about the HyperSofts, so hopefully we can make them work tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton AMG Mercedes

Practice for Williams drivers Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin didn’t start well, with both drivers tagging a wall and causing minor damage to the cars. With times in the 1:14s the two bring up the rear of the timesheets before P3 and qualifying.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen slots into P2 after the initial practice sessions, sitting there with a 1:12.328. The laconic Finn says of the Montreal circuit: “It’s very bumpy, not just with all the bumps, but also with the kerbs to ride over. The combination of low downforce and low grip can make it very difficult.”

Veteran Fernando Alonso ran well, with times in practice putting him mid-pack. With a quickest time of 1:13.866 Alonso says: “I tested the Hypersoft only in FP1 and it’s difficult to say how it really is, but maybe it’s a little bit better than expected, as the graining so far is not too bad. It’s definitely the quickest tire over one lap.

Fernando Alonso McLaren

“The race will be interesting with some people going for one stop and some for two using the Hypersoft, and that opens a window to creativity, so let’s see if we can optimize that.”

The downlight of the practices came at the hands of Renault. Nico Hulkenburg’s gearbox refused to acknowledge it had any and Carlos Sainz had a rear end step out, resulting in a wall being clouted. There was damage enough to preclude him from further practice but the car looks to be able to take part in Practice 3 due to commence at 11.00am local time, before Qualifying at 2.00pm local time. The race is scheduled for a 2.10pm start on Sunday.

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