Quite an eventful day in Montreal finishes with Mercedes 1-2!
The 2023 Canadian Grand Prix's strange, shortened first practice session, which Valtteri Bottas won, was in fact called off after a few minutes owing to a track CCTV issue. Then in FP2 rainfall drenched the track in the final five minutes of the second free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, and Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2.
Valtteri Bottas finished first in a strange, shortened FP1 session at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which was effectively canceled after a few minutes thanks to a track CCTV malfunction. Alpine's Pierre Gasly stopped on the long run between Turns 7 and 8 due to a driveshaft malfunction, and the session was called off. When his car was pushed behind the barriers as FP1's first five minutes came to an end, the practice did not resume as planned. With 10 minutes remaining in FP1, it was stated that the session would not be restarted, while event officials declared that FP2 would begin 30 minutes sooner - at 4.30 pm local time - and last 30 minutes longer.
The second practice session was extended by half an hour following the opening session's curtailment. This left the teams, who had only completed a few laps in FP1, with the majority of the data to collect ahead of Saturday's qualifying preparations. Fernando Alonso wasn't happy with his newly upgraded car's balance in the early stages of the practice.
While Ferrari and Red Bull drivers were challenging each other on time sheets. Nico Hulkenberg drove a flaming car along the start-finish straight.
The German came to a halt ahead of Turn 1, prompting a mostly unwanted red flag, and a 10-minute delay until the session resumed with just over 50 minutes remaining.
With rain clouds approaching and teams keen to collect more data, the practice was once again stopped as Esteban Ocon came to a halt at Turn 9 after being ordered to do so due water leak.
With the possibility of rain rising, many teams chose to complete their long runs in the remaining 40 minutes; while Alonso set the fastest opening sector on a lap on soft tires, he was unable to maintain that pace into the last sector, dropping his Aston Martin to fifth place.
As the session reached its last half-hour, radio reports began to surface warning of impending rain. George Russell then used his Mercedes to do the fastest lap of the session with a 1m13.745s, which he held for a few seconds before Hamilton passed him with a 1m13.718s.With five minutes left, a raging rainfall hit the track at the hairpin, although the southern portion of the circuit remained mostly dry, causing a split in conditions.
Lando Norris was the first driver to risk the course on intermediates after everyone else had pitted, but he soon gave up and parked in the pitlane. However, Aston Martin's spirits were unaffected, and both Alonso and Lance Stroll chose exploratory laps on inters, followed by a handful of other inquisitive teams.
However, the track had gotten substantially wetter, with the inters struggling to handle the standing water that had swiftly inundated the track. Both Stroll and Sainz ran wide at Turn 8, allowing them to escape to the run-off.
Verstappen finished sixth, just under a tenth ahead of Bottas, while Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were eighth and ninth
Both Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri experienced wall-bothering antics, with the latter's scrape against the Wall of Champions being considerably more visible, but the McLaren emerged through the corner fairly unscathed, finishing 10th and 11th.