Formula 1 Racing

Ill-timed failure puts Verstappen on back foot as more rain threatens qualifying · RaceFans

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Ever since Lando Norris’ breakthrough win in Miami three rounds ago, the question of just how much of a challenge Red Bull’s rivals could offer to them over the rest of the season has been the one everyone wishes to know the answer to.

Red Bull may have never been in contention for the victory in the last race, but that was explained by Monaco being a circuit that played to the RB20’s weaknesses.

But one weekend around an anomalous street circuit does not and should not be taken as an indicator for the rest of the championship. Although the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is far from conventional in many ways, it should be a track that provides a much clearer picture for what the true order really is at the front of the field.

That is, it would, if it was not for the rain teams encountered throughout the first day of running which is expected to keep giving them headaches over Saturday and Sunday.

Ferrari look in good shape in Montreal

After two practice sessions that were heavily affected by rain, there is little in the way of useful data to decipher just how good Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren are relative to each other. But there is one outstanding stat from the opening day of running in Montreal: 14 – the number of laps Verstappen completed across the two sessions.

The championship leader was naturally eager to recover from a disappointing Monaco weekend and make a strong start in Montreal. However, an electrical problem forced him out of the second session. To make matters worse, it came in a crucial phase of the second hour when his rivals were seizing the opportunity to complete meaningful runs on slicks between showers.

“Unfortunately, in FP2, not many laps for me,” Verstappen told the official F1 channel after the session. “There was a suspected electrical issue, so they told me to box, and they’re investigating now.”

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After recording the fewest laps of anyone bar the luckless Jack Doohan, Verstappen described his Friday as “not ideal.”

Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024
Quickest then slowest, Norris rued lack of dry running

“I would have liked to drive more laps,” he said. “It’s definitely not how I would have liked to get on in FP2. But I think it’s more important to just figure out what actually happened and what kind of implications that will have for this weekend or the rest of the year.”

Having won in Miami and finished a close second in Imola, Lando Norris had every reason to expect to…

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