Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton is determined to push Ferrari all the way

 

By Philip Duncan

Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second best in practice for the Canadian Grand Prix after Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen beat him to the top of the timesheets.

Hamilton, who arrived in Montreal 25 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel following a weekend to forget at the last round in Monaco, had gone fastest in the opening session at a blustery Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday morning.

But Ferrari, whose charge was spearheaded by Finnish veteran Raikkonen, responded in the day's second running as Formula One's top two teams traded blows once more. Raikkonen's best effort of one minute and 12.935 seconds saw him end the 90-minute session 0.215 seconds clear of Hamilton with Vettel just behind in third.

"The Ferraris are looking fast here as the times show," Hamilton said. "It's super close.

"I feel like we are still just a little bit behind the red cars at this early stage of the weekend, but we'll be pushing as hard as we can to close the gap ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

"After a tough weekend in Monaco, the main thing is that our car is already feeling a lot better around Montreal. It should be game on for the rest of the weekend."

For championship leader Vettel, a winner of three grands prix this season, he endured somewhat of a scrappy afternoon. First, the German had a hairy moment when he brushed the so-called Wall of Champions -named after Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve all came a cropper there at this race in 1999 - before he later spun while on a hot lap.

Vettel was not the only driver to struggle, with Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who finished fourth in the order, losing control of his car under braking and spinning across the grass at turn one.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean also span in his Haas on at least three occasions. The third such error provoked a rather angry radio message. "What the hell is going on? I'm starting to get a bit fed up," Grosjean fumed.

He was not the only driver fed up. Fernando Alonso is back in the Formula One paddock following his impressive debut at the Indianapolis 500, but his return was hit by further Honda reliability issues.

Meanwhile, there have been some rumblings in the paddock that Britain's Jolyon Palmer could be replaced before the season is over. The 26-year-old was 16th in the order yesterday and half a second adrift of his Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

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