2024 Canadian Grand Prix: What the Drivers are Saying after Friday Practice

Friday Practice in Montreal brought plenty of action and drama with wet conditions lingering around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve

Lando Norris topped the first session that saw limited running due to heavy rain and standing water on the track, before Fernando Alonso set the pace in a dry-to-wet second practice session.

Read what the drivers had to say following an action packed Friday ahead of the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — FP1: 15th, FP2: 1st

“It was a tricky Friday for the entire field due to the weather with not many laps recorded, particularly in FP1. The conditions meant the track was never fully wet or fully dry but it could be like this in Qualifying and the race so today could provide very useful information for the rest of the weekend.

“If the conditions are the same tomorrow, those that are sharp in Qualifying and make the right decision on tyres could gain a big advantage. It’s going to be interesting for those watching but for us as a team it’ll be about getting the tyre calls right and aiming to make the most of that.”

George Russell — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — FP1: 10th, FP2: 2nd

“It was good fun out there today. It was difficult to take many learnings into the rest of the weekend as each lap the conditions were changing. First it was spitting, then it was drying, then it was raining again! The car was feeling good overall, but we will only learn about our position relative to others tomorrow. I had faith in the car today though and felt confident throughout.

“In FP3, you are usually very focused on your Qualifying performance. However tomorrow, we are also going to have to evaluate our race pace. We are going to have to be very clear on the changes we want to make ahead of Qualifying. In all honesty, there won’t be a lot that any driver or team learnt today. The weather could be similar tomorrow though so it’s going to be interesting.”

Lance Stroll — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — FP1:17th, FP2: 3rd

“It was a stop-start day thanks to the variable weather. In FP2 we got to complete a fair amount of driving both on the Intermediates and slicks on a drying track, and we learned a few things there and about the new tarmac, which is behaving a little differently to previous years.

“We got some good data on set-up and how the Intermediates behave, and that could be crucial for this weekend as there’s more rain forecast.

“It’s always great to be driving in front of my home crowd and we’ll be aiming to give them something to cheer in Qualifying tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc — Scuderia Ferrari — FP1: 3rd, FP2: 4th

“There was not so much to learn today, as the conditions were very different each time we went out. We put in quite a few laps throughout the day, so that was a positive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and we will try to put everything together for qualifying.”

Daniel Ricciardo — Visa Cash App RB — FP1: 11th, FP2: 5th

“It was a good day and I’m feeling pretty good; just before FP1, it was looking like we might not do any driving today, so I’m happy ending the day doing quite a few laps in FP2 on both compounds. 

“We feel like we’re in a good place, so I don’t think we’re going to do too much tonight, just fine-tuning some bits and pieces. The track dried pretty quickly this morning and is also a lot smoother than it used to be, so it seems to be a bit easier on the tyres. 

“I think if it’s going to be these mixed conditions tomorrow, it will be important to be on the right tyre at the right time.”

Kevin Magnussen — MoneyGram Haas F1 Team — FP1: 13th, FP2: 6th

“You never learn enough but I got the chance to go out on both slicks and intermediates. I got a good feeling in the car, on all sets of tires, so that’s positive and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. What we’re taking away from today is the feeling in the car, and the pace that we got in the dry, which looked very positive.”

Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — FP1: 4th, FP2: 7th

“It felt great out there today. I was raring to go throughout no matter what the conditions. I was pleased that we were able to maximise our time on track as that is what is needed around a circuit like this. It’s all about building your pace. Today, it was also about understanding the conditions plus the new surface they’ve laid. 

“The car felt strong throughout and I didn’t even get to finish what would have been my fastest lap. This is one of the best circuits we go to, so I really enjoyed myself out there. Recently, Saturday’s have proved more challenging for us, but I feel confident out there and that the car is reacting to my inputs. 

“Ultimately, we won’t know until tomorrow afternoon just where we are in the order but today was a really good day overall.”

Yuki Tsunoda — Visa Cash App RB – FP1: 12th, FP2: 8th

“As a team, it was a positive day. For myself, there are still a couple of things to improve but overall, it was a very fun day because of the several condition changes. It was good training and learning for myself, especially driving the intermediate tyres in wet conditions because we haven’t had much wet running this year. 

“It was also good data collecting. As we know, everyone was doing different things but looking at our pace we’re not in a bad place. I still felt as though we were able to perform well in rainy conditions, so I’m confident in both wet and dry. 

“As always, there are some things from today’s runs to improve on, and the midfield is still very tight, but we’ll continue doing what we’ve been doing for the last races, finetune certain areas and put it all together tomorrow.”

Alex Albon — Williams Racing — FP1: 20th, FP2: 9th

“Overall, we had a good practice session in FP2 and it was fun to get out there and take a bit of risk. It looks like we will have similar conditions across the weekend, so I’m glad we could do some laps on the slicks and the Inters. 

“The car felt strong on both compounds, and the slicks felt really good even with the DRS closed, so there’s definitely more lap time there. In all my running today, I was between fourth and ninth so I’m generally feeling positive for tomorrow.”

Photo: Williams F1

Sergio Pérez — Oracle Red Bull Racing — FP1: 9th, FP2: 10th

“I think overall it was a very tricky day with the conditions that we had. I think it is going to be very important in qualifying tomorrow to be out there at the right time. We could already see in FP2 that the conditions and track were changing quite a bit if you were not pushing on the right lap, it could be quite a big difference. 

“We felt a few things in the car that we want to adjust, we have a good idea where we need to make changes, but I think it is very difficult to draw any conclusions on a track that was dictated by the weather today. 

“We made some good progress on the inter tyre and that was quite positive, but on the slick, we were just not out at the right time, so I am not concerned about it and we will get to see the competitiveness tomorrow.”

Esteban Ocon — BWT Alpine F1 Team — FP1: N/A, FP2: 11th

“It was a good day, despite the fact that Jack could not get much running in FP1 because of the poor weather conditions, which was also a pity for him. In the afternoon we were able to drive under both dry and wet conditions and we caught up on what was not possible this morning and pull together some information which was good. 

“The track is much better with the new surface here. It is much more enjoyable, so well done to the circuit organisers. We hope that tomorrow we will be able to properly test the grip of the track here at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. I hope that we will have a good Qualifying on Saturday.”

Logan Sargeant — Williams Racing — FP1: 16th, FP2: 12th

“Obviously, it was a massively disrupted day. Looking at it as a whole, we didn’t get to drive in proper dry or wet conditions. There was maybe a little missed opportunity by not doing any laps when it was a bit more wet in FP1. 

“Nonetheless it was okay in general with a few things to sort out. I think we’re going to be in a similar weather pattern tomorrow, so it’ll be about being on the right tyre at the right time and getting the strategy correct.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. — Scuderia Ferrari — FP1: 2nd, FP2: 13th

“A very Canadian Friday at this time of the year, with the weather changing a lot, alternating between dry and wet conditions. Despite the track changing all the time we managed to run as much as we could and put down some decent runs with both the slicks and the Intermediate compound.

“However, it’s not easy to extract many conclusions from the sessions today, so we need to focus on ourselves and be as ready as possible for tomorrow.”

Valtteri Bottas — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — FP1: 8th, FP2: 14th

“It seems like we are in a better place compared to where we were in Monaco, which is obviously encouraging for the weekend ahead. Today’s rain affected both sessions, meaning any time we’d go out on track it would be in different conditions and mounting different tyres: this made it trickier to get a detailed read of the car’s behaviour and performance. 

“Still, the feeling with the car is positive, and we managed to get a decent number of laps during FP2, gathering important data for us and the team back in Hinwil to work on overnight. With a variable weather forecast, it’ll be important to fully trust the car tomorrow in qualifying, to push it to the limit no matter the conditions.”

Nico Hülkenberg — MoneyGram Haas F1 Team — FP1: 14th, FP2: 15th

“There are mixed feelings from different parts of the sessions. Some moments felt good, some moments felt bad, so we’ll be looking into that to understand it. It didn’t feel great and we didn’t get into a good rhythm or harmony, so we’ve got some work to do there. 

“It does make it tricky, but you have those weekends sometimes, but it spices things up. Tomorrow is more of the same in terms of weather, so I’m getting ready for an interesting day.”

Oscar Piastri — McLaren F1 Team — FP1: 6th, FP2: 16th

“That’s practice done. It’s been a bit of a difficult day with the weather, so it’s hard to read where we sit. I think we’re looking good, but it’s just difficult to know considering we didn’t get in all the running we wanted to, but that’s the same for everyone.

“Our pace and times on the Intermediates in P2 looked solid, so that’s a positive, but I think it’s going to be a jumbled up weekend for everybody. I’m looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”

Zhou Guanyu — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — FP1: 18th, FP2: 17th

“It’s great to be back racing in Montreal, even though it’s been a tricky day for everyone out there. During FP1, I expected a bit more grip on the wet track, but I experienced aquaplaning and was lucky to save it just before touching the wall – so we were able to minimize the damage. 

“The team did a great job getting the car ready for FP2, allowing us to run in both wet and dry conditions. Given the mixed conditions, however, it’s difficult to say where we stand, but the car definitely feels much better than it did in Monaco. I’m looking forward to more racing tomorrow.”

Max Verstappen — Oracle Red Bull Racing — FP1: 5th, FP2: 18th

“Unfortunately FP1 was very affected by the weather and we also did not get many laps out of FP2. There was a suspected electrical issue so the Team told me to box. They are investigating what the issue is in the garage now and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of it.

“It is not ideal as I would have liked to have driven a few more laps and it is not how I would have liked to have finished the session. But now we just need to understand more about what happened and the implications that it will have for this weekend.”

Pierre Gasly — BWT Alpine F1 Team — FP1: 7th, FP2: 19th

“Overall, the car felt good today. Although, due to the weather conditions and heavy rain we did not get much running in. But it is the same for everyone else. So there are lots of question marks for all the teams, especially with the new asphalt. We will see what the rest of the weekend has in store for us. 

“Obviously, it would be great to continue where we have left off in Monaco, but we are conscious that Monaco is a very unique track and we know where we stand with our car’s current performance. 

“Hopefully, the weather conditions here for the rest of the weekend can mix things up and open up opportunities for us. We will work hard to make sure we are ready to grab them if they present themselves to us.”

Lando Norris — McLaren F1 Team — FP1: 1st, FP2: 20th

“Tricky first day on track with the conditions which meant I didn’t get in as many dry laps as I wanted to. We got a good amount in the wet and took a reasonable first step this weekend but it’s hard to see where we stand. 

“It’s been a difficult Friday for everyone, and the conditions here can change everything. We’ll now work hard overnight with the data we have and see where we can aim to be tomorrow going into Qualifying.”

Jack Doohan — BWT Alpine F1 Team — FP1: 19th

“It was not the most exciting FP1 session for me, with limited running due to the weather conditions. With the forecast for the remainder of the weekend also looking uncertain, it was important to save tyres and keep some sets back in case the rain remains. 

“We were able to get an installation lap in with the Wet tyre and make sure the car was running fine. Then when the track was drying towards the end, we finished off with an out lap on the Soft tyre and conduct practice starts. 

“So, we still managed to gather some useful data. In the end, the weather is outside of our control, but we made the most of what we could given the conditions.”

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Author: Joe Briley

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