June 18th, 2024

Alonso posts fastest lap, smoke emerges from Verstappen’s car in Canadian GP practice

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on June 7, 2024.

McLaren driver Lando Norris, of United Kingdom, takes a turn at the Senna corner during the first practice session at the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Friday, June 7, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso posted the fastest lap in the second free practice at the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday, while Formula One leader Max Verstappen ended his session early after smoke emerged from his car.

Alonso drove around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in one minute 15.810 seconds on a rainy day with tricky conditions in Montreal.

The Spanish driver finished ahead of Mercedes driver George Russell (1:16.273) and Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll (1:16.464), the lone Canadian on the 20-pilot grid.

Verstappen returned to the Red Bull garage only four laps into the session after a brief run on dry tires. Red Bull said the smoke was related to a battery issue.

Earlier Friday, McLaren’s Lando Norris had the fastest lap (1:24.435) after a torrential downpour delayed the first practice. Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz (1:24.763) and Charles Leclerc (1:25.306) were second and third.

Lightning, heavy rain and hail rolled through Montreal a little more than an hour before the 1:30 p.m. ET practice start time.

Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas attempted to form a snowball out of the large pieces of hail that filled the paddock.

Event organizers asked spectators to leave the grandstands amid the inclement weather while police shut down the bridges accessing Notre Dame Island.

The storm subsided roughly 15 minutes before the expected start time and the site was reopened to fans.

The drivers didn’t take the wet track until 22 minutes into the session as groundcrews worked to clear the water, but conditions remained less than ideal.

Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu triggered a red flag five minutes later when he aquaplaned and clipped the wall at Turn 5 before grinding to a halt. Several other drivers, including Bottas and Montreal’s Lance Stroll, slid off course and into the grass during the session.

More rain is expected through the weekend in Montreal. A second practice was scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, followed by a 12:30 p.m. session Saturday before the 4 p.m. qualifying. Sunday’s race is set for 2 p.m.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.

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