The Friday in F1 Canadian GP saw Max Verstappen set the pace in the fight against Ferrari, as Mercedes dropped into the midfield.

While rain was predicted on Friday of F1 Canadian GP, it stayed away during FP1 and FP2 and only arrived after the end of the second session. The dry running allowed for a good run time where Max Verstappen seemingly had the edge over his rivals.

Even his teammate Sergio Perez struggled a bit due to set-up differences. Ferrari, meanwhile, will be a bit helpless after Charles Leclerc is to take grid penalty. Teammate Carlos Sainz did well in the practice sessions, but a lot will depend on luck factor.

It hasn’t sided him for long this season. Behind the Top 2 teams, Alpine and Aston Martin looked to be in a better shape than even Mercedes, who continued with its struggle. Lewis Hamilton was quite open about the situation once again.

Verstappen: “Quite a positive day. Immediately the car was working quite well. Of course there’s always things you’re looking at to try and find a bit more of a complete balance, but overall today for me was a good start to the weekend. The long run’s good. The track is still hard on tyres around here as well, brakes and tyres, so there’s still a few things to improve, but even with the things I want to improve, it was a good day… It’s good to see that for the Sunday, we have a competitive car. Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll see.”

Perez: “We had an issue with the set-up, but luckily we managed to find it out, part of it. So I think the long run, it was a bit more representative but still we had an issue there so hopefully we are able to sort out everything. Unfortunately not much we could do in the session today. I’m a bit on the back foot today, but hopefully tonight, we are able to make the right compromises… definitely [Max looks] strong out there so hopefully we are able to be competitive.”

Leclerc: “Well, obviously I’m starting a little bit more in the back. But I think it was the best decision to make so let’s see how it goes. The overtaking was a little bit more difficult than I expected today but yeah, I mean the pace is there so hopefully we can come back to where we want to be. It is pretty close. The race pace we need to work on – I mean it’s a bit difficult to have a clear picture because I was on a different compound all the time but overall, it didn’t look too bad so that’s good.”

Hamilton: “Pretty much like every Friday for us, trying lots of different things, an experimental floor on my side which didn’t work. Nothing we do generally to this car seems to work so we’re trying different set-ups; me and George went with much different set-ups in this P2 just to see if one way works and one way doesn’t. I’ll wait to hear how it felt for him but for me it was a disaster. It’s like the car’s getting worse, it’s getting more and more unhappy the more we do to it. I don’t know, we’ll keep working on it, it is what it is. I think this is the car for the year, so we’ll just have to tough it out, and work hard on building a better car for next year. It’s not the Montreal that I know, that I’m used to and that I’ve experienced in my career.

“It’s the worse that I’ve ever felt any car here, so I’m hoping overnight we can try and make some changes. But fundamentally, it’s just the fundamentals of the car, it is what it is. It’s going to be a struggle. It’s just a monumental fight the whole time to keep it out of the wall. When it bounces, when the car leaves the ground a lot, and then when it lands it grips up and it goes in different directions, and you’re just trying to catch a car that jumps, hops, grips, hops, grips. It’s tough, it keeps you on edge. And there were some big hits today. We’ve raised the car but it doesn’t make a difference. We’ve tried loads and loads of things, we’ve ticked them all of. Those ones don’t work, so we have to go and find something else. And we’re way off, but it’s to be expected with this car.”

Alonso: “I think it was another decent Friday for us today. The car seems to be performing quite well at this challenging track here in Montreal. We haven’t raced in Canada for a number of years and it does feel a bit different than in previous years. Things like riding the kerbs gives a very different feeling with the ground effect cars. Overall, it was a good experience today. It looks like it could be a mixed weather forecast tomorrow, so we tried to get as much data as we could in preparation for the race.”

Vettel: “This is a tricky circuit to get right, especially after a couple of years away – I lost the car a couple of times on the approach to Turn One – but, overall, the car was pretty well behaved. Still, I think we need to be realistic about qualifying tomorrow; we’re improving all the time but we still have some work to do. I think Saturday could be tricky – the conditions have been unpredictable all weekend and it looks likely to be another wet-dry day. But I’m looking forward to whatever the weather throws at us.”

The Top 10 also had the likes of Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, with McLaren showing some good pace with both the cars. They are seemingly to fight in the lower half of the Top 10, whereas the likes of Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams were outside the points position where Valtteri Bottas again had a troubled outing.

Gasly: “It was extremely difficult today, the performance in the end on one lap was good but I’m not feeling great at the moment in the car. I’ve really struggled with the balance, as well as tyre degradation in the long runs, so it’s been quite tricky. We’ll look to see what we can do for tomorrow, the weather conditions for Qualifying look like they will be wet, which could make things interesting. It’s encouraging that the pace is there on the timing screens, but the field is very tight, so we’ve definitely still got some work to do ahead of tomorrow.”

Norris: “Tough day. I’d say positive, because we got through a lot of what we wanted to, but not everything. We had a couple of issues, so I didn’t get as much running as what I wanted to. We’re a little bit on the back foot with a couple of things, especially in the long run. Apart from that, the car’s in a reasonable place. We’ve definitely got some work to do with some much quicker cars ahead. But, apart from that, positive, and we’ll continue to improve into tomorrow.”

Bottas: “It’s disappointing to miss out on FP2 today: we had an electronics issue and, every time I downshifted, the car would go into neutral. We couldn’t find a reason during the session so we had to stop: of course, we will find a fix for it but it’s not ideal. We need clean days of running and to minimise the issues, and I know everyone in the team is working as hard as they can for this. Hopefully we will be able to make up for the lost time tomorrow.

“Earlier in the day, in FP1, we focused mostly on the mechanical set-up: there are still some old bits on the car and we are going to put the new ones tomorrow, so there’s more to be found there, but so far we achieved a good balance, something to build on. Having missed FP2, it’s hard to talk much about times: we will see what tomorrow brings. The weather conditions could be mixed, which would make everything more exciting and create some opportunities: we will need to make sure our car is fixed and that we are ready, whatever the weather, to be in the fight.”

Here’s how FP1 of F1 Canadian GP panned out

Here’s how FP2 of F1 Canadian GP panned out