Hamilton wins qualifying dress rehearsal, Ferrari weak

Mercedes caused a huge surprise in the third free practice session for the 2024 Canadian GP. Lewis Hamilton finished the qualifying dress rehearsal with a clear lead over Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen. George Russell confirmed Mercedes’ strong form in third place. Ferrari was disappointing in consistently dry conditions for the first time this weekend.

The result: As usual, there was a battle on soft tires at the end of the third free practice session. With a time of 1:12.549 minutes, Lewis Hamilton was almost four tenths of a second faster than Max Verstappen. George Russell in the second Mercedes was a few thousandths behind. Local hero Lance Stroll was surprisingly strong in fourth place. The Aston Martin driver was just under half a second behind.

Oscar Piastri finished fifth in the faster of the two McLarens, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the Racing Bull. Lando Norris was seventh and Fernando Alonso eighth. Charles Leclerc only managed to finish tenth, eight tenths of a second behind Sergio Perez. Carlos Sainz failed to make it into the top ten in the second Ferrari and finished twelfth. Nico Hülkenberg finished 17th.

The incidents: After his accident in the first practice session, Guanyu Zhou managed to park the damaged Sauber in the track barriers again. The session had to be stopped after just five minutes because Zhou lost the rear of the car in turn one and crashed backwards into the track barriers in turn two. The impact was moderate, but was enough to damage the car so badly that Zhou could no longer drive. After a three-minute break, practice could resume.

Alexander Albon was also able to finish early, but the Thai driver only saved ten minutes of work. At the exit of the final chicane, his right rear wheel touched the infamous Wall of Champions. This damaged the rear suspension. Albon dragged the damaged Williams back to the pits for a full lap. Max Verstappen did the same in the final seconds, but the world champion only suffered damage to the rim.

The technology: Due to the bad weather, Mercedes drove with the old front wing for most of Friday – they did not want to take the risk of damaging the few new parts in the rain. In the third practice session, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell drove permanently with the new model.

Max Verstappen would have liked to have driven the previous day, but after just four laps in the second practice session he had to park his Red Bull in the garage due to an ERS problem. The problems on the RB20 were fixed for the final practice session. The power unit used for the first time on Friday was replaced by an older model. The problem model will be examined in the next few days.

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The weather: With air temperatures of 21 degrees and asphalt temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius, the weather in Montreal showed its better side for the first time this Formula 1 weekend. The risk of rain is increasing again for qualifying today at 4:00 p.m. local time (10:00 p.m. CEST), and meteorologists are also predicting rain for the race tomorrow.

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