Canada FP3: Max Verstappen fastest, Sainz crashes out

Jaden Diaz
17 Jun, 2023

Max Verstappen once again proved his ability in wet conditions, setting the fastest time in FP3 as sporadic spells of rain in Canada made the session a challenge for both teams and drivers.

But perhaps the bigger headline was courtesy of Carlos Sainz, who lost control going into turn one and triggered the first and only red flag of the session.

Significant damage was sustained to his SF-23, with the front end receiving the brunt of the impact against the wall. There was some damage visible at the rear, though it is unclear whether any changes to the gearbox or suspension will be necessary.

Although this will give the Ferrari mechanics a headache before qualifying, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz (finishing P2 and P5, respectively) were clearly competitive in the wet conditions.

Fernando Alonso was also strong in FP3, finishing third overall and cementing himself as a front-runner in a variety of conditions. However, the same positives cannot be said about Aston Martin’s supplier team, Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton could only manage 10th place in his W14, whilst teammate George Russell was even further down the order – only managing P15.

For all the excitement surrounding Mercedes and the W14, a failure to get heat into the tyres and in a strong operation window has re-emerged as an issue in wet conditions.

The Silver Arrows were certainly competitive in the dry, but a likely wet qualifying could complicate their efforts to secure another strong result on Sunday.

Elsewhere, the field was relatively closely matched, with changing track conditions among many factors that impacted the final timing sheets.

In a similar fashion to last season, it seems there will be an unpredictable and potentially dramatic qualifying in Canada, serving as a difficult test for the drivers and teams in equal measure.

Important data was collected in practice to help teams prepare for Saturday’s most important session, though there will still be a final balancing act between optimising race set-up without jeopardising qualifying.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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