Verstappen fastest in first Montreal practice

SebastianVettel- cropped

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Circuit Gilles Villeneuve... Gilles is huge for Ferrari and Canada is linked to that name.

The defending champion was out-paced by a team-mate, Finn Valtteri Bottas, for only the second time in 10 visits to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and cut a glum figure after qualifying fourth.

Given his struggles to find a good balance since the start of Friday practice, Ricciardo feels he can take comfort in how he performed on Saturday afternoon.

Again, Kimi Raikkonen led the Ferrari charge in second place, but Monaco victor Daniel Ricciardo, who missed a large chunk of FP2 as mechanics rushed to fix a mechanical problem, was able to end the day third.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo both went quicker than Hamilton in second practice, but the Mercedes driver wasn't too anxious ahead of Saturday's qualifying session.

"What happened was a bit odd, my vehicle had been working well all day".

Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari and Monaco victor Daniel Ricciardo are in the third row.

"I really like coming here", Vettel said.

"I think we can do a great job in this race, it is great to start from third".

His outlook had improved on Friday after leading in practice for the first time this year. "The vehicle was working well".

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Leader Hamilton's history at the circuit - the Brit has won in Montreal six times previously, including the last three in a row - combined with his switch to hypersoft tyres suggested the championship leader would be tough to beat.

Hamilton, who will be seeking his fourth straight Canadian Grand Prix win, leads the F1 drivers' standings with 110 points, 14 ahead of second-place Vettel.

Mercedes did not practice on the hypersoft tires, leaving Ricciardo wondering if he has seen their best effort.

"It was just a very hard session", he said. "If we can escape this weekend without it, I'd rather take it somewhere else". "I wasn't happy with the auto - we had some problems, and I just couldn't get the rhythm".

Verstappen added: "I'm very happy with this weekend".

Indeed, the German manufacturer has stayed as far away from it as possible, only using it in the two sessions on Saturday and hope to complete a one-stop strategy using the Ultra and Supersoft compounds in the 70-lap race.

Hartley complained about losing a couple of tenths in the final chicane on his quickest lap.

It would have been worse, but for Romain Grosjean's dramatic engine blow-up and Marcus Ericsson clipping the wall.

The Oxfordshire team have scored the fewest points of all this year, and Canadian teenager Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin could manage only 17th and 18th respectively. Sauber's Marcus Ericsson also had a spin that left him facing the wrong way on the track, but he straightened out and resumed.

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