F1 | Canadian GP | FP2 | Fernando Alonso tops rain affected Friday practice at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Fernando Alonso on track on Friday ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix - Photo Credit: Aston Martin F1 team
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Fernando Alonso puts Aston Martin at the top of the time sheets as Max Verstappen’s fortunes go from bad to worse in second practice ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix

With the Montreal rain falling once again, there was a rush in the pitlane as the light turned green as many drivers hit the track on slick tyres. First out in the tricky conditions was Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. A short exploratory lap, with Sainz telling his Ferrari pitwall the circuit was too wet for the medium tyres. 

Following their first laps, both Red Bull drivers as well as Carlos Sainz returned to the pit lane, while Ferrari teammate Leclerc stated he believed the track was not too wet for slick tyres as he tested the waters on a set of intermediate tyres.

With early controversy, Leclerc was noted by the stewards for tyre usage. The Ferrari driver had left the pit lane with intermediate tyres prior to the track being officially declared as wet.

The first to set a lap time was Pierre Gasly for Alpine, with a 1:29.007 before, as the only driver on track, the Frenchman improved to a 1:24.389 on the following lap. Another improvement saw Gasly jump to a 1:22.589 as the other teams began to hit the track.

With just over ten minutes gone on the clock, the majority of the drivers hit the track, hoping to make the most of the improving conditions as the rainfall eased. With the times flooding in, it was Fernando Alonso who claimed the top spot early with a 1:20.451. 

Ever improving, teammate and home hero Lance Stroll pipped Alonso for the top spot before the veteran improved once again to an impressive 1:18.662 in changeable conditions. 

The greasy track surface led to errors by a number of drivers including Lance Stroll as well as Alex Albon in the Williams, who narrowly avoided a meeting with the wall of champions following a snap of oversteer at the exit of the final corner.

With 16 of the twenty drivers on track twenty minutes into the session, the lap times hit the board thick and fast, it was the Aston Martin pair of Alonso and Stroll leading the way until an impressive 1:16.556 saw Charles Leclerc claim the top spot for Ferrari, making use of medium compound tyres.

Max Verstappen on Friday ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix – Image Credit: Red BUll Content Pool

Following a disappointing performance from champions Red Bull last time out in Monaco, the situation went from bad to worse, as Max Verstappen got out of his smoking RB20 following reports of a burning smell. 

Meanwhile at the sister team RB, fortunes seemed to be turning midway through the session, with both Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo within the top ten, albeit over a second slower than the pace set once again by Fernando Alonso.

With the track heavily congested as the teams rushed to make the most of the relatively dry surface, several drivers expressed their dissatisfaction with their peers as they struggled to navigate traffic, particularly in the final sector. Sainz for example shared some choice words with his engineer following a slow Mercedes through the first two corners.

With conditions once again worsening, the track fell silent as all 20 drivers sat in the pits, awaiting a better window in the weather. The Red Bull team meanwhile began work to diagnose and resolve the issue with Verstappen’s energy recovery system, as the three time champion retired from the session.

With under twenty minutes remaining in the session, it was Alpine once again who braved the unknown conditions, this time in the hands of Esteban Ocon equipped with intermediate tyres. The Frenchman was then followed by pacesetter Fernando Alonso.

With the severely degraded track conditions and use of intermediate tyres, there was no sign of improvement as Ocon and the two Aston Martin’s gathered data on the tyres. Following their example in the final quarter of the session, the majority of the drivers hit the circuit to evaluate their performance on the wetter track surface.

Caught out by the slippery conditions, Monaco Grand Prix winner Charles Leclerc spun his Ferrari at the turn 10 hairpin, a tricky corner which saw many drivers run wide over the course of the session.