Just as some people were beginning to question whether Sebastian Vettel was a spent force, so the quadruple champion drove his Ferrari to a resounding pole position around the demanding Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc claimed third place on the grid. "The steps we took from FP1 (free practice) to FP2 have been very good. We need to analyze what it was and hope we don't have the problem on our other cars".
"Overall, I'm happy with the job we've done and it leaves us in a good position for the race".
"There are some ideas to improve where we're and they sound quite promising so I am optimistic but the real proof, the only proof, is the stop watch". "Today doesn't give the full picture". I'm angry.and I have the right to be angry.
"To be back up here was a really great recovery from myself and mechanics, considering where we were", added Hamilton, who crashed into a wall in Friday's FP2. "Yes, yes, yes", he screamed over the team radio before breaking out in song.
The drivers were back on the track for a second practice run later Friday. He held his lead to the end but was only 1.3 seconds in front of Hamilton who thus took the win.
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The gap between Mercedes and Ferrari in the constructors' standings, meanwhile, is a yawning 118 points. This is a track where top speed is more relevant, not too many corners. "At the moment, that's our compromise".
That was an improvement from the morning for Stroll, when he was 17th, while Perez was ninth.
"You are always trying to push the envelope", said Hamilton. "There is stuff to build on going into tomorrow". "We have to keep working on the balance of the auto, the performance, to get more lap time out of it". It is very bumpy, very rough.
Bottas edged out the Red Bulls of Dutchman Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly of France. Verstappen was fourth earlier in the day.
The Formula One championship leader, who topped the first practice but completed just eight laps in the second, had a routine error-free outing with his Finnish team mate following him on the timing charts.
As usual, the Williams drivers battled it out for last place with George Russell 19th and 1.351s behind Stroll. Latifi, previously with Force India, struggled to maintain full control of his auto at times. "You can't turn them down or run them differently because of fear of failure because that is very hard to judge".
A third practice session is on Saturday followed by qualifying. That forced him to revert to an older-spec engine for qualifying and Sunday's race. Lewis Hamilton is already the most successful driver there, having won six times.