Fernando Alonso returned to the years on Saturday as he topped the count for Alpine in a wet and trouble-filled Tuesday training session for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix. The 40-year-old Spaniard, two-time world champion in 2005 and 2006, with a best time of one minute 33.826 seconds on the ‘intermediate’ tyre, Pierre Gasly placed second for Alpha Tauri, just 0.053 seconds. behind, with four – Aston Martin’s Time Champion Sebastian Vettel third, 0.055 seconds ahead of the pace. For Alonso, it was a superb performance in extreme conditions on the demanding and fast Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track.
He will claim his first pole position since the 2012 German Grand Prix later on Saturday in weather conditions that are expected to be equally difficult.
His Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon was fourth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren teammate Lando Norris, Mercedes’ George Russell and Sergio Perez’s Red Bulls and world champion and series leader Max Verstappen.
Carlos Sainz is 10th for Ferrari while teammate Charles Leclerc is not taking the risk as several drivers have had off-track excursions, including Verstappen.
Sainz set the pace for most of the session with fully wet tires after others including Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Vettel and Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo achieved best times.
After overnight heavy rain, with practice starting in cool and wet conditions, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas ventured out first with fully wet tyres.
Right after that were two Ferraris and Mick Schumacher. He managed to get a good handle on a bottleneck in his Haas car as he sought to learn more about the track, during his first visit to Montreal as a driver.
During the session, it was confirmed that Leclerc would start from the back of the grid after Ferrari opted to replace his power supply, a setback that further dismayed him over the decision to intervene ‘porpoising’ of the FIA.
Leclerc has hit two engine faults in his last three races and has used his allowed engine allocation, meaning he is now likely to incur more penalties at the end of the season.
“It was the best decision we could have made,” said Leclerc, whose teammate Sainz will also use the new engine but without penalty.
Referring to the ‘porpoising’ debate, he added: “We’ve worked very hard to address these issues.
“Our improvement has been huge and now it’s all working. We just put it in the bin because maybe one team is having a harder time than the others?
“That’s my point – I obviously understand it sucks on the Mercedes, but I think there could be some fix for this.”
Leclerc expressed his sympathy for Hamilton and Russell, adding that it was “awful” to watch them in pain climbing out of their car in Baku.
But in essence, he agrees with title competitor Verstappen that Red Bull and Ferrari have done their own work to solve their fiery problems and the ‘evaporation’ that comes with the formula new ‘ground effect’ this year.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the feed provided.)
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