Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

Verstappen leads Sainz and Alonso in first Canadian Grand Prix practice

2022 Canadian Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen set the pace to start the Canadian Grand Prix weekend fastest of all in the opening practice session.

The championship leader’s best time of a 1’15.138 was a quarter of a second quicker than the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jnr, with Fernando Alonso third fastest for Alpine.

After a severe thunderstorm soaked the circuit on Thursday evening, bright sunshine over Montreal had fully dried out the circuit by the time cars ventured out onto the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time since 2019. Air temperature sat at 25C for the start of the weekend, while track temperature was in the mid-40s.

Drivers were quick to get out on the circuit and get laps in to re-familiarise themselves with a track none of them had driven at since 2019. The Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Perez set the early pace on the medium tyre, Verstappen breaking into the 1’15s.

Alexander Albon became the first driver of the weekend to miss the final chicane and taking to the escape road as outlined by race director Eduardo Freitas. Albon was soon followed by Mick Schumacher, who also misjudged his braking point into the tricky final turn.

Esteban Ocon went off into the tarmac run off at turns eight and nine with a smoking right front brake. Ocon reported his brakes had failed and slowly recovered back to the pits, where his engineer informed him that a paper towel appeared to be caught in his brakes, the likely culprit for his failure. Ocon was able to rejoin the track after less than 20 minutes in the pits.

Sainz ventured out on the soft tyres and jumped from ninth to the top of the times, two tenths faster than Perez on the same tyres. After Verstappen abandoned one of his runs due to one of his tyres lifting through the corners, he eventually returned to the circuit and displaced Sainz to go quickest, two-and-a-half tenths faster than the Ferrari.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix practice in pictures
Yuki Tsunoda earned the honour of being the first driver to hit a wall around the circuit when he kissed the concrete on the exit of turn nine. Fortunately, he did not appear to have done too much damage to his AlphaTauri and he was able to continue.

Sainz and Fernando Alonso narrowly avoided a close encounter with the local wildlife when a groundhog ran across the track on the run to turn three. Fortunately for all three, the cars avoided contact with the critter.

Teams appeared to focus on longer, higher fuel runs in the latter part of the session, meaning there were few improvements in the times in the final minutes. Verstappen therefore ended practice on top, with Sainz’s best effort taking second, the fastest of the two Ferraris.

Alonso was third fastest in the Alpine, with Perez fourth and Charles Leclerc only fifth, half a second off Verstappen’s best. George Russell put Mercedes sixth, with Lance Stroll, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo completing the top ten.

2022 Canadian Grand Prix first practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’15.158 27
2 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’15.404 0.246 33
3 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’15.531 0.373 30
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 1’15.619 0.461 31
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1’15.666 0.508 29
6 63 George Russell Mercedes W13 1’15.822 0.664 28
7 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’15.877 0.719 31
8 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’15.877 0.719 26
9 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’16.041 0.883 32
10 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’16.083 0.925 28
11 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’16.165 1.007 29
12 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’16.211 1.053 17
13 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’16.308 1.150 28
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’16.322 1.164 33
15 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A522 1’16.421 1.263 25
16 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’16.426 1.268 27
17 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’17.152 1.994 29
18 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’17.223 2.065 24
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’17.241 2.083 32
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’17.555 2.397 30

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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5 comments on “Verstappen leads Sainz and Alonso in first Canadian Grand Prix practice”

  1. Mr Shankley
    17th June 2022, 20:13

    Aston Martin look good, can see a Max, Checo and Stroll podium.

  2. The event’s first active-track groundhog encounter occurred in this session & possibly not the only one.

    1. No surprise there – they’ve had almost three years of peace to make new groundhogs. But what have they got against Spain?

  3. Does the smaller team effect start to raise its head as Alfa, Haas and Williams are the slowest

  4. Raynaud (@)
    17th June 2022, 21:23

    So Perez isn’t faster afterall. Great to see Alonso at P3 with a medium tire. Mercedes still struggling even though the memo was they got it fixed. Looking forward to the rest of the weekend. Max will win it easily.

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