2023 Canadian Grand Prix: Friday Tyre Analysis – The first free practice session only lasted a few minutes before it was red flagged so that Pierre Gasly’s Alpine could be moved after stopping at turn 8 with an electrical problem. However, the session never resumed, eventually cancelled with ten of the sixty minutes remaining, because of a problem with the circuit’s CCTV system. Only 12 drivers completed a timed lap and of the others, three did not even make it out of pit lane.
The stewards decided to extend the second session by 30 minutes, bringing the start forward to 16.30. Furthermore, in order to make up as much time as possible, it was decided that, instead of returning tyre sets in the usual way at the end of the first session, they could be kept until two hours after the end of the second one.
Just 30 minutes after the light went green at the end of pit lane, the second session was stopped when Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas suffered a power unit failure on the main straight. With just under 50 minutes remaining, another red flag, another Alpine, Esteban Ocon this time, stopped on track with a technical problem.
In the final ten minutes, the weather worsened as the wind picked up and the rain intensified, so that half the field went out on intermediate tyres for at least one lap to see how they felt.
The various stoppages and rain meant that all the work had to be squeezed into 73 minutes of track time in the dry, when the 20 drivers worked in preparation for qualifying, running the C5 compound and on race pace, mainly opting for the C4, with only the Ferrari pair trying the C3 on medium length runs.
The fact that drivers had two more sets of tyres than usual meant they could do a greater number of runs and in some cases do runs of longer duration, than would usually be the case in FP2.
As expected, the track conditions evolved very quickly as the track surface cleaned up. Once again today, the times were all very close with the first 13 in FP2 all within under a second of each other.
Two English drivers topped the time sheet come the end of the day: Hamilton (Mercedes, 1.13.718) just 27 thousandths ahead of team-mate George Russell. Behind them two Spaniards, Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) third in 1.13.844 and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) fourth in 1.14.044
Simone Berra – Pirelli Chief Engineer
“Added to this was the threat of rain, which luckily only arrived in the final minutes, so that the teams, drivers and even our own staff all had a demanding time of it on this first day of the Canadian Grand Prix. After an initial analysis of the data acquired, we can confirm our predictions prior to the event, regarding the behaviour of the two softer compounds, with the C5 proving ideal in terms of performance over a single lap and the C4 looking a better option for the race. Although today, on a track that was still very dirty, we did see signs of a bit of graining, especially on the rear tyres. In terms of degradation there were no particular surprises. As for the rest of the weekend, uncertainty over the weather is an important element to consider, with rain expected tomorrow, while Sunday should see a dry race. If this were the case, even the track conditions could produce some surprises.”