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CANADIAN GP: FREE PRACTICE

An update from Free Practice at the Canadian Grand Prix as the Bulls take to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve sits in the middle of the St Lawrence River. The long, thin artificial island (built with spoil from the construction of the Montréal metro) informs the shape of the circuit: a line of straights interrupted by short, tight corners. There’s more performance to be gained from increasing end-of-straight speed than there is in carrying speed through the corners, and so the big wings of the maximum downforce setups seen in Monaco and Spain give way for something more like that seen in Baku: not quite the skinny wings of Monza but definitely close to the middle of the range. Traditionally, top speeds in Montréal have been in the 330-340kph bracket – about 60kph higher than Monaco.

What does carry over from the last race is the ubiquity of the concrete walls and the penalty for running off-line. There really isn’t any margin for error. The infamous Wall of Champions has the notoriety – but the first chicane tends to collect the greater number of scrapes.

On Friday morning the Bulls got the chance to take to the track in the RB15 for the first time. Free Practice One saw the sun shine on the track, as Max took P4 with a 1:13.755 after his 26 laps. Pierre finished the session in P13 posting a 1:14.570 from 27 laps.

The afternoon saw the Bulls back out on track with Pierre finishing FP2 in P12 with a 1:13.345, from 38 laps. Max wasn't far behind in P13, posting a 1:13.388 after his 22 laps.

Saturday morning saw the final practice session of the weekend take place. Max finished the session P5 with a 1:11.842 from 15 laps. Pierre was in P6 setting a time of 1:11.914 after 19 laps.

MAX VERSTAPPEN

First Practice Session: 1:13.755,Position: 4, Laps: 26

Second Practice Session: 1:13.388, Position: 13, Laps: 22

“For me FP1 was fine and I felt good in the car. It maybe didn’t look easy from the outside in FP2 but from my side the car also felt good. I couldn’t finish the push lap in FP2 which was unfortunate. As I arrived at the last chicane I was in the wake of Pierre’s car and I understeered into the wall. It’s a shame and we missed a bit of running but when we were running the pace was pretty decent. Of course we want to do better and I think the slippery track was also not in our favour today but the long runs look competitive, so I’m happy about that, even with the disrupted running and we just have fine tuning to do for tomorrow. It’s very dusty out there and I had to use four or five tear offs when usually I don’t even use one, it’s a bit too much, especially off-line, but hopefully conditions will improve tomorrow.”

PIERRE GASLY

First Practice Session: 1:14.570,Position: 13, Laps: 27

Second Practice Session: 1:13.345, Position: 12, Laps: 38

“Today we tested a lot of things in FP1 and FP2 but at the moment I seem to be lacking a bit of pace, so we need to analyse everything tonight and come up with some solutions for tomorrow. We had high tyre degradation but maybe that will make the race interesting on Sunday as also other teams were struggling with the tyres so we are in the same boat. I didn’t see exactly what happened with Max, I was preparing my lap and starting a new push lap, when they told me he was coming so I tried to push and be out of his way. It’s still early to say what’s possible in qualifying tomorrow and we have one more practice session, so we need to do some work tonight. I don’t know if we will be able to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari but we will try everything we can.”