F1: Leclerc’s Canada expects rival Verstappen to shine in grid penalty shootout

    Monaco's Charles Leclerc and Ferrari prepare to drive in the garage during practice ahead of Canada's F1 Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari of Monaco prepare to drive in the garage during practice before the Canadian F1 Grand Prix on June 17, 2022 at Circuit Giles Villaniu in Quebec, Montreal, Quebec. Dan Mulan / Getty Images / AFP (Photo by Dan Mulan / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP)

Charles Leclerc’s hopes of winning this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix were dashed on Friday when it was confirmed that he would have to face enough grid penalties for Sunday’s race.

After being second behind Red Bull’s series leader and world champion Max Verstappen in second practice at Circuit Giles Villaneuve, Ferrari said they would fit new electronic control components into Leclerc’s power unit.

The 24-year-old Monegasque has suffered two engine failures this year and the new parts will mean he has crossed the line and will face penalties in at least 10 places.

The team may consider giving him a brand new power unit.

“It’s not a decision yet, but it’s not the best situation for me,” said Leclerc, who also finished third in the race for the title, beating Verstappen and Sergio Perez in four consecutive pole positions.

In Friday’s practice, he set the Verstappen pace as he completed the double top.

The 24-year-old Dutchman, who will start his 150th Formula One race on Sunday, defeated Lecler in the second session with a best lap time of one minute 14.127 seconds, 0.081 seconds.

“It’s been a positive day and the weekend as a whole has gotten off to a good start,” Verstapen said.

“You can always look for other things to find the perfect balance, but we have a competitive car so it’s good.

“If it rains in the qualifiers, it’s the same for everyone and we’ll just deal with it.”

Carlos Sange was the third fastest in the second Ferrari, ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin and two-time Alpine champion Fernando Alonso.

Pierre Gasley finished sixth for Alfatouri ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, Lando Norris and his McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Esteban Oakon was 10th in the second Alpine, second only to Sergio Perez, oddly off-color in the second Red Bull, second to local Asha Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin, and second to Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes.

‘Disaster’ for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, a British Mercedes driver, got into his car on June 17, 2022, during practice before the Canadian F1 Grand Prix at Circuit Giles Villaneuve, Montreal, Quebec.

Lewis Hamilton, the British driver of a Mercedes, got into his car on June 17, 2022, during practice before the Canadian F1 Grand Prix at Circuit Giles Villaniu, Quebec, Montreal. (Photo by Jim Watson / AFP)

Hamilton appeared dissatisfied with the experimental set-up of his car and complained that it was “undereverable” on a weekend when the team’s chief technical officer James Allison was on track to help Mercedes recover from a disappointing start to the season.

Overwhelmed by performance issues, especially with “porposing” and bouncing, the team chose to try some radical set-up ideas to solve their problems.

“The more we do it, the worse the car gets,” Hamilton said.

“It’s almost like every Friday for us – trying a lot with an experimental floor next to me, which didn’t work.

“It simply came to our notice then. We were going in different directions but nothing worked. I’ll wait to see what it was like for him (Russell), but for me it was a disaster.

“We’re continuing to work on it, but that’s it and I think it’s a car for years so we have to work hard at it and work hard to build a good car for next year.”

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