Home » Fernando Alonso Tops Rain-Affected Canadian Grand Prix Practice

Fernando Alonso Tops Rain-Affected Canadian Grand Prix Practice

by Mohammed Ahmed

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in Friday’s practice sessions at the Canadian Grand Prix, navigating a day marked by intermittent rain and challenging conditions. Alonso’s best lap, recorded during a brief dry period in the second session, placed him 0.463 seconds ahead of Mercedes driver George Russell.

The day began with disruptions due to heavy storms that led organizers to temporarily close Ile-Notre Dame, the location of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The first practice session started late as marshals worked to dry the track, and McLaren’s Lando Norris ended up with the fastest time, though the session’s mixed conditions made the lap times less indicative of actual performance.

Championship leader Max Verstappen experienced a particularly difficult day. The Red Bull driver managed only four laps in the second session before his car suffered a problem with the energy recovery system, causing smoke to pour from the back of the vehicle. Verstappen expressed frustration with the limited running but emphasized the importance of understanding the issue for the remainder of the weekend and the season.

Alonso, who led the second session, acknowledged the difficulties presented by the weather, stating, “A tricky Friday for everyone. Not many laps in either session. No proper laps in dry conditions or in wet conditions, but it could be like this in qualifying and race. We need to be sharp tomorrow.”

Behind Alonso and Russell, Alonso’s Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll posted the third fastest time, followed by Charles Leclerc of Ferrari. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top positions.

Hamilton, who holds the record for most wins in Montreal alongside Michael Schumacher, remarked on the variable weather conditions and their impact on the day’s running. He noted, “It felt great. I was just raring to go every second. This is a track where it’s building blocks, about getting as much time in the car and understanding both conditions and the changes they have made to the surface and the run-off areas. The car was feeling strong. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Despite the challenging conditions, the day saw only one crash. Sauber’s Zhou Gunayu lost control through Turn Five in the first session, breaking his front suspension. Leclerc entertained the crowd with a 360-degree spin at the hairpin during the second session, though without damage.

As teams prepare for Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, the focus will be on adapting to the unpredictable weather and resolving any technical issues that arose during practice. Alonso’s strong performance in challenging conditions sets a positive tone for Aston Martin, while Red Bull will aim to resolve Verstappen’s car issues to maintain their championship momentum.

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