Max Verstapen, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Verstappen quickest, Sainz crashes after rain arrives in final practice

2023 Canadian Grand Prix third practice

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Max Verstappen set the quickest time in a wet final practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, as Carlos Sainz Jnr crashed out of the session.

The championship leader was almost three-tenths of a second quicker than Charles Leclerc. The other Ferrari ended its session early in the turn one barrier. Sainz touched the white line on the approach to the left-hander, spun and crashed into the tyre walls, causing substantial damage to the front and rear of his car ahead of qualifying.

Fernando Alonso was third fastest in the Aston Martin, over a second slower than Verstappen’s best, with Kevin Magnussen fourth for Haas.

A wet circuit greeted drivers as the final hour of qualifying began. Unsurprisingly, there was no big rush out onto the circuit when the green light appeared at the end of the pitlane, with the two Haas drivers the first cars out on full wet weather tyres. Magnussen reported that he believed the wet tyre was the right option for the conditions as more and more cars slowly took to the circuit to test the conditions.

Alonso set the early wet pace with a 1’32.217, but then opted to immediately return to the pits to fit on the intermediate tyres. This looked like a brave call, as Yuki Tsunoda had the full wet tyres on his AlphaTauri but still lost his car on the exit of turn four, spinning through 360 degrees but avoiding hitting the walls.

Verstappen moved to the top of the times on the wet tyres with a 1’29.190, but Leclerc demonstrated how close the crossover point was for intermediate tyres by setting a lap a tenth of a slower than the Red Bull on the green-walled intermediates. Valtteri Bottas then demonstrated intermediates were the fastest tyres to have on, putting his Alfa Romeo fastest, before Alonso improved to go quickest of all by well over a second.

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Tsunoda suffered a second spin within the first 20 minutes of the session, this time at turn two, but again he recovered without suffering any damage. Alexander Albon had to take avoiding action at the chicane due to Sainz’s Ferrari getting in his way one of multiple laps. The stewards will investigate the Ferrari driver after the session.

Times continued to fall gradually as drivers cleared more water from the track surface. Verstappen sat quickest with a 1’24.480, almost three tenths quicker than Sainz, before Sainz lost control of his car on the way into turn one just before the half hour mark and crashed into the outside tyre wall, causing heavy damage to the front and rear of his Ferrari and bringing out the red flag. Sainz climbed out of his crashed car unhurt, but his practice was well over.

After a delay around five minutes, running resumed with the threat of more rain looming. Both Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell quickly took to the track, the former taking a trip over the grass at turn two after locking up under braking for the first corner. The cooler conditions continued to challenge drivers, with Albon, Russell and Zhou Guanyu all running off track at various points on the circuit. Verstappen, however, was going faster and improved on his own session best time to set a 1’23.106. Leclerc came the closest to the Red Bull, but was almost three tenths down.

With 10 minutes remaining, the rain started to increase in intensity. That led to cars steadily abandoning the wet track for the safety of the garage, eventually leaving only Leclerc circulating in the sole remaining Ferrari until he eventually pulled in with just under five minutes to go. No one ventured out in the closing minutes and the chequered flag signalled the end of the session, with Verstappen ending the hour quickest of all.

Leclerc was just under three tenths slower than Verstappen in second, with Alonso third fastest in the Aston Martin. Magnussen ended the hour fourth in the Haas, with Sainz fifth despite crashing. Pierre Gasly was sixth, Lance Stroll seventh, Tsunoda eighth, then Bottas and Hamilton completing the top 10 positions heading into qualifying.

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix third practice result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’23.10622
216Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’23.3970.29122
314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’24.4831.37718
420Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’24.7151.60923
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’24.7651.65914
610Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’24.8251.71919
718Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’24.9441.83822
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’24.9551.84924
977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’24.9881.88222
1044Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’25.0871.98120
1127Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’25.1402.03420
1281Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’25.1912.08525
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’25.1982.09221
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’25.3792.27321
1563George RussellMercedesW141’25.4352.32920
1621Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’25.7252.61924
1711Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’25.8572.75120
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’26.7503.64423
1931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’26.8403.73410
202Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’27.2794.17316

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix combined practice times

PositionNumberDriverTeamFP1 timeFP2 timeFP3 timeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedesNo time1’13.7181’25.0871
263George RussellMercedesNo time1’13.7451’25.4350.0272
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’25.9911’13.8441’24.7650.1263
414Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.8071’14.0441’24.4830.3264
516Charles LeclercFerrari1’26.8091’14.0941’23.3970.3765
61Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’20.2311’14.1421’23.1060.4246
777Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.7281’14.2201’24.9880.5027
811Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’20.1541’14.2501’25.8570.5328
918Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’19.1751’14.4191’24.9440.7019
1010Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultNo time1’14.4771’24.8250.75910
1181Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.4961’14.5331’25.1910.81511
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’24.0451’14.5441’24.7150.82612
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesNo time1’14.6171’25.1980.89913
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’24.9611’14.8111’26.7501.09314
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTNo time1’14.9411’24.9551.22315
1621Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’32.2741’15.0021’25.7251.28416
1723Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesNo time1’15.0031’25.3791.28517
1831Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultNo time1’15.0921’26.8401.37418
192Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesNo time1’15.4261’27.2791.70819
2027Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’24.3361’16.3691’25.1402.65120

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2023 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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3 comments on “Verstappen quickest, Sainz crashes after rain arrives in final practice”

  1. Hopefully, the increased rain towards the end won’t push back qualifying.
    I’m surprised how Sainz managed to end up ahead of Albon at the final chicane, not twice, but thrice & that the medical car didn’t lift him back into the pit lane by entering it oppositely, given how close to the entry they already were.

  2. Verstappen quickest? Muttley, do something!

    1. Pérez definitely thinking of the fans by mixing it up with De Vries, Zhou and Sargeant.

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