Verstappen fastest in final practice at Canadian GP

Verstappen ready to 'headbutt' critics

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo suspects Mercedes has the upper hand at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, despite his team-mate Max Verstappen topping both of Friday's practice sessions.

"It's positive that Max's pace is good", he added. "I don't think a pole was ever guaranteed for us".

The Australian lapped the unforgiving steel-lined streets of the Mediterranean principality in one minute and 11.841 seconds to outpace the Dutchman by almost two-tenths of a second with the first lap under 1:12 at the track.

Vettel said he was surprised by Red Bull's decision to start on the pink-marked tyre, a compound they managed to make work successfully relative to their rivals in Monaco, but Verstappen insisted his team had a good reason to do so.

Kimi Raikkonen is pushed back into the garage at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during a practice session for the F1 race in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018.

The young Dutchman clocked the best time of the day in the afternoon session, one minute, 12.198 seconds, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull team mate and Monaco Grand Prix victor Daniel Ricciardo.

Mercedes and Ferrari are right behind and will try to close the gap in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Hockenheim is back this year but the future is uncertain beyond that and local promoters have said they can not continue without a new deal that is free of financial risk to them.


Hamilton will take some stopping considering he's finished outside the podium places in only one of the six races so far this season. Then came three-time defending Montreal victor Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. "But so far everything went well and I have a good feeling".

"Also we feel that we can be better on the tyres than the others".

His outlook had improved on Friday after leading in practice for the first time this year. The main thing was to get through the program, which we did. "The lap time, I can't say I'm too excited about".

"Happy with the progress we made today, " Verstappen tweeted.

Stroll is the first Canadian in F1 since 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que., left the series in 2006.

"This [Saturday] morning we were [set up] a fair bit different, across cars, and obviously we were not that great this morning, so we came back", Ricciardo explained.

The afternoon practice session, like the morning one, delivered two major incidents when Spaniard Carlos Sainz smacked the wall in his Renault, bringing a red-flag interruption for seven minutes, and later when Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne went into the barriers at Turn Eight, breaking the suspension of his McLaren.

Read on for a preview of Sunday's showdown as Hamilton seeks to become the first driver to win four Canadian Grands Prix in succession. Raikkonen, the 38-year-old Finn, has been accused of touching the woman's breasts after the Montreal race two years ago.

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