8 June 2012
Hamilton beats allcomers to sweep Montreal practice
Lewis Hamilton again proved his mastery of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as he topped the second free practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of Friday free practice at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by fending off both Ferrari drivers in the afternoon session - as the on-track action avoided a soaking for the second time.
Despite rain arriving between sessions, the second 90-minute outing of the day got underway on a dry circuit and with a comparatively clear sky, allowing the teams to pick up where they had left off and continue collecting data and preparing for qualifying and race day at the Canadian Grand Prix. Hamilton, having topped the morning session by little over a tenth from Sebastian Vettel, was immediately back at the sharp end, initially slotting in behind Nico Rosberg, and then setting three laps good enough to secure and improve on P1. Returning to the track after swapping to the super-soft Pirellis - and almost collecting an errant Ferrari mechanic in the process - the Briton proceeded to slice another couple of tenths from the benchmark.
That time - a 1min 15.259secs effort - remained as the target for the remainder of the afternoon, as Hamilton switched his attention to raced preparation, but both Ferrari drivers had a go at toppling the McLaren, with Alonso - who, like his former team-mate, had had an off-track moment - getting to within 0.054secs by the time the chequered flag came out. Team-mate Felipe Massa also shone, continuing to build on his Monaco form with third-fastest time, just 0.151secs off the pace.
Vettel, despite improving his time, could manage only fourth spot this time around, but was still just a couple of tenths off Hamilton's best, and the top 13 drivers all lapped within a second of the McLaren as the midfield runners closed in. Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg were next up, as Force India showed the benefit of its superior straight-line speed. Rosberg rounded out the top ten, behind the second McLaren of Jenson Button, the Briton having just 18 minutes to work his way up to ninth after the mechanics worked to repair the oil leak that caused clutch slip in the opening session. Although it proved necessary to break seals on the MP4-27's gearbox, there will be no penalty for Button,
Mark Webber was only twelfth fastest in the second Red Bull, albeit jut six-tenths shy of Hamilton, while the two Lotus drivers continued to lag just over a second off the pace, back in 14th and 15th, with Romain Grosjean again ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn was only just ahead of countryman Heikki Kovalainen, as the Caterham driver rewarded the hard work of his mechanics forced to rebuild his FP1 wreck by lapping just 0.4secs off the 2007 world champion.
As with Kovalainen's accident in the first session, red flags were called for second time around as Bruno Senna came to grief against the Wall of Champions. The Brazilian, using Williams' latest development rear wing, was already losing the car as he turned into the second part of the chicane, but replicated Kovalainen's turn nine accident by hitting right-rear first and then being powerless to prevent greater damage as the front followed suit.
Senna was still able to post the 17th best time, splitting the two Caterhams, who also got the better of both Toro Rossos, while Pedro de la Rosa continued to lap faster than the Marussias of Timo Glock and Charles Pic.
Once again, the rain just managed to contain itself until after the session, although the ensuing downpour ranked alongside anything the venue had seen in its F1 history...
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