Verstappen edges Hamilton in opening Canada practice
Canadian Grand Prix - FP1

Verstappen edges Hamilton in opening Canada practice

Max Verstappen set the pace in the opening practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, but benefitted from a tyre advantage over his nearest rival Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen set a 1:13.302 using the hyper-soft tyre -- the softest compound in Pirelli's range -- while Hamilton set a 1:13.390 on the slightly harder ultra-soft tyre. Despite a Renault engine upgrade in the back of his Red Bull, Verstappen was still losing time to Hamilton's six-race-old Mercedes engine along the back straight and that showed up as a 0.190s deficit in the final sector of the lap. However, quicker first and second sectors meant his overall lap time was 0.088s quicker than the reigning champion at the end of the first 90 minutes of running.

Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in the second Red Bull, 0.216s off his teammate, but 0.099s quicker than the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari saved their quickest lap times for the final ten minutes of the session, but Vettel -- who is running the latest Ferrari engine upgrade -- could only manage the seventh fastest time on the hyper-soft. That left him 0.379s adrift of teammate Kimi Raikkonen and slower than the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, who set a competitive time on a used set of ultra-softs to go sixth fastest.

Carlos Sainz was eighth fastest in the Renault after teammate Nico Hulkenberg completed just three laps due to a drivetrain issue. Hulkenberg stopped on track on just his fourth lap and after struggling to restart his power unit had to abandon his car on the back straight, causing a red flag as the marshals moved his Renault from the racing line.

Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth fastest, meaning both McLarens featured in the top ten, ahead of Pierre Gasly who showed the early potential of Honda's latest power unit upgrade in the Toro Rosso with the tenth fastest time.

Force India's Esteban Ocon was 11th fastest ahead of Romain Grosjean in the Haas and the two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc. Kevin Magnussen was 15th in the second Haas ahead of Brendon Hartely's Toro Rosso and the two Williams drivers of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll.

Both the Williams drivers had a brush with the barriers. Lance Stroll hit the famous Wall of Champions at the final corner, giving his car a right-rear puncture. After fighting with his car throughout the session, Sirotkin finished his morning with an accident after spinning at Turn 6 and rear-ending the barrier. He was able to keep his car running and return to the track, but it underlined the job facing both Williams drivers on a track where the team's car had proved competitive in previous years.

Canadian Formula 2 driver Nicholas Latifi was the slowest of the drivers who set times and was standing in for Sergio Perez for the morning session at Force India.

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