Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dominates practice at Canadian Grand Prix

The Dutchman was at his best by topping the sheets of both sessions

Philip Duncan 2018/06/08

Max Verstappen delivered a strong response to his recent critics by completing a practice double for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s crash last time out in Monaco marked his fifth big mistake from six rounds, and he arrived in North America threatening to “headbutt someone” following a series of questions about his accident-prone campaign.

But the 20-year-old Dutchman topped the time sheets in both sessions in his Red Bull at a sun-drenched Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as he allowed his driving to do the talking.

Verstappen finished 0.130 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen with championship leader Lewis Hamilton half-a-second off the pace. Sebastian

Vettel, who trails Hamilton by 14 points in the title race, was fifth in the order.

Hamilton fears he will not be in contention for the victory this weekend after his Mercedes team failed to bring a scheduled engine update with them to the seventh round of the campaign.

It means Hamilton, 33, is set to be down on power, while he continues with an engine that he has used at every round since the opening rubber in Australia. In contrast, Vettel has been afforded the luxury of a fresh Ferrari power unit.

Red Bull, too, are running an upgraded Renault engine, and after Daniel Ricciardo dominated in Monte Carlo a fortnight ago, it was the turn of Verstappen to impress here.

Ricciardo missed much of the second session with engine troubles, but the Australian emerged in the closing moments to post a time good enough for fourth, four tenths adrift of his team-mate.

There will be more time to come from Hamilton, who is chasing a record-equalling seventh win in Montreal, after his Mercedes team elected not to use the fastest ‘hypersoft’ tyre compound on Friday.

The second running was red-flagged when Carlos Sainz hit the wall at turn seven after losing control of his Renault. The Spaniard limped back to the pits, but the session was stopped to deal with the resulting debris.

Fernando Alonso is competing in his 300th grand prix this weekend, and the two-time world champion finished 10th.

Elsewhere, Williams, who are rooted to the foot of the constructors’ championship, saw both of their drivers struggle.

Canadian teenager Lance Stroll thudded the so-called ‘Wall of Champions’ and suffered a puncture, while his team-mate Sergey Sirotkin spun at turn six in the day’s first running. The duo then propped up the time sheets in the concluding session.

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