Alonso on top after wet and wild practice at Canada Grand Prix

football07 June 2024 22:54| © Reuters
article image
Lando Norris © Gallo Images

Aston Martin's double world champion Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap in a wet and wild practice at the Canada Grand Prix on Friday with both sessions run under a severe weather watch at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Alonso, 15th in the rain-hit first practice, took advantage of early dry conditions in the second with the Spaniard clocking a time of one minute and 15.810 seconds around the island circuit almost a half second ahead of Mercedes George Russell.

Canadian Lance Stroll, who grew up in Montreal and whose father owns the team, brightened up a dreary day for the home crowd posting the third best effort ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, winner two weeks ago in Monaco.

It was a promising start to the weekend for Ferrari with Leclerc third best in the morning session behind teammate Carlos Sainz, who was 13th best later in the afternoon.

Two teams that don't routinely feature at the top of the time sheets made surprise appearances with RB's Daniel Ricciardo fifth ahead of Haas's Kevin Magnussen.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was seventh fastest for Mercedes.

McLaren's Lando Norris, who topped the first session, finished at the very bottom of the second.

Red Bull's triple world champion Max Verstappen, who was dominant in Montreal a year ago leading every lap from pole, did not get his bid for a Canada hat-trick of wins off to a smooth start.

After clocking the fifth best effort in the first session the Dutchman could manage only four laps in the second before pulling into the pits saying on the radio that he smelled smoke coming from the car.

Both sessions were run under changeable threatening conditions.

About an hour before first practice a ferocious storm rumbled across Ile-Notre Dame drenching the island circuit and pelting spectators with hailstones as they were evacuated from the stands delaying the start of the session by 20 minutes.

The afternoon practice got underway in dry conditions but with ominous dark clouds, drivers lined up early to get out on the track to try and get in some laps on the slicks before the rain arrived.