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Verstappen Sweeps Practice Rounds Ahead of Canadian GP Qualifying

13 June 2018

SIXTH place on the grid at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve brings back memories for Daniel Ricciardo - he claimed his maiden F1 victory from there in 2014.

Verstappen had the day's quickest lap in the afternoon session of one minute 12.198 seconds on the 4.361-kilometre track after leading the morning session at 1:13.302.

Ricciardo took a different direction in setting up his RB14 after Friday's running and, while Verstappen then completed a clean sweep of practice sessions in Saturday morning's FP3, the Aussie was over half a second off.

Early on, Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso briefly topping the times, the New Zealander emhpasizing his talent after weeks of rumours that he was in danger of losing his seat. Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest for Ferrari but the competitive picture was skewed by Mercedes opting against using Pirelli's fastest compound - the hyper-soft - on either vehicle across both practice sessions.

The Mercedes pit crew practice their pit stops during the third practice session at the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix auto race Saturday
2018 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix preview

He retired in Azerbaijan after a collision with Ricciardo and in China he tangled with Hamilton and Vettel, finishing fifth after a 10-second penalty demoted him from fourth, while Ricciardo won the race.

"(We're) not yet there", said Vettel.

But he is well aware that practice sessions are for working on the car's set-up, adjustments and performance and Red Bull will still have its hands full chasing the Formula One leaders - Mercedes and Ferrari.

"I definitely feel some of it has just been that lack of track time, lack of rhythm", Ricciardo said. "And I think if I get a few more, I'll head-butt someone".

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Latifi, the Force India reserve driver, ran only in the first of two 90-minute practice sessions before handing the pink vehicle back to regular driver Sergio Perez of Mexico. When you feel confident with the auto then you can do a good job.

"We got some good points, I believe we gained two points in the championship because we got Lewis [who lost the lead to race victor Sebastian Vettel]".

Hamilton will take some stopping considering he's finished outside the podium places in only one of the six races so far this season.

While Mercedes and Ferrari opted to qualify on the ultrasoft tyres in Q2, Red Bull went for the hypersofts, which means Verstappen and Ricciardo will have the advantage of grippier rubber in the early stages.

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"They'll be hard to beat, " the Australian said. He spent most of the second practice session in the pits waiting for his team to iron out an electrical issue, and managed just 17 laps in the session.

"It was a little bit frustrating, but it doesn't seem too dramatic" of a problem, Ricciardo said. The main thing was to get through the program, which we did. In the end, without replacing the motor, but the time ricciardo lost. "We hope to have a smooth day again and then get a bit more pace and see".

"It's the tail end of that pack, which is why I'm not happy - but looking at where we were, it doesn't make me satisfied, but I feel we did all we could with what we had".

Romain Grosjean damaged his nose cone when he hit an animal, believed to be a groundhog in the afternoon.

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It was also a grim day for the struggling Williams team with Canadian teenager Lance Stroll and Russian rookie Sergey Sirotkin brushing the barriers and ending up 19th and 20th at the back of the field. Sauber's Marcus Ericsson also had a spin that left him facing the wrong way on the track, but he straightened out and resumed.

Verstappen Sweeps Practice Rounds Ahead of Canadian GP Qualifying