Canadian GP: ERS problem for Max Verstappen as rain causes very mixed up order

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in front of the Formula 1 logo at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

Fernando Alonso put his Aston Martin atop the FP2 timings as the changeable Canadian Grand Prix weather continued.

With the first half of the session presenting the best conditions, Alonso delivered a 1:15.810 to claim the P1 spot from Mercedes’ George Russell, while Max Verstappen was struck down by Energy Recovery System issues.

Fernando Alonso sets pace in rain-affected Canadian GP FP2

The weather threatened to play a major role once more in the second hour of practice, with light rain in the air and the radars showing further precipitation heading towards the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

With that in mind, it was no surprise to see the drivers queued at the end of the pit lane waiting for the green light, slick tyres the choice as Russell claimed the rain was “coming down much harder now”.

With Carlos Sainz saying the track had become “too wet for mediums”, his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc emerged on a set of intermediates, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, along with Sainz, returned to the pits as the stewards noted Leclerc over a potential tyre usage issue, soon confirming a post-session investigation.

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With a mixed bag of soft tyres and intermediates out there on the greasy track, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was setting the early pace, but the radar suggested that a heavier downpour was imminent.

Alonso popped in a 1:20.451 to go P1 just as the intensity began to ramp up, while bemoaning a “typical Ferrari” as he blasted Leclerc for apparently not using his mirrors in the final corner. Kevin Magnussen went for a slide at the chicane and a train of drivers overshot the Turn 10 hairpin, highlighting the tricky conditions.

Nonetheless, the lap times would tumble, Alonso improving the benchmark to a 1:17.835, before Leclerc used the mediums to clock a 1:16.556 as Verstappen returned to the Red Bull garage with smoking brakes.

Lewis Hamilton would post a pair of purple sectors, but was forced to cut the final chicane as he closed in rapidly on a Ferrari, Lando Norris finding a similar situation just minutes later as a more widespread frustration brewed among the drivers who felt tactics were afoot. Alonso meanwhile delivered a 1:15.810 to return to the top of the timings.

And as Red Bull went to work on Verstappen’s RB20, the track initially fell silent moving into the second half of FP2 as that heavier rain really set in.

These switches between wet and dry are set to continue for the rest of the race weekend though, so the action would continue as drivers returned to the track on intermediates, but it was slippery, Leclerc spinning at the hairpin, while the stewards announced a post-session Norris investigation after he went off again at the final chicane and did not go around the bollard before returning to the track.

The change of conditions saw Alonso’s 1:15.810 bag him the P1 spot for FP2.

FP2 timings

1 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin 1:15.810
2 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.463
3 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.654
4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.746
5 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +0.921
6 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +0.963
7 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +1.098
8 Yuki TSUNODA RB +1.141
9 Alexander ALBON Williams +1.167
10 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +1.231
11 Esteban OCON Alpine +1.607
12 Logan SARGEANT Williams +1.686
13 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +1.912
14 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber +2.007
15 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +2.093
16 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +3.198
17 Guanyu ZHOU Kick Sauber +3.277
18 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +3.501
19 Pierre GASLY Alpine +4.979
20 Lando NORRIS McLaren +5.033

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