Max Verstappen
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Fastest in the first Canada training session: Max Verstappen. © Sergei Grits/AP/dpa

The leader starts with the best time. Before that, Max Verstappen spoke about the hopping of the cars. Clearly. His main rival in the Ferrari cannot keep up on the track.

Montreal – World champion Max Verstappen did not let the renewed discussions about the hopping cars as instructed by the world association stop him.

The 24-year-old World Championship leader raced to first place in Friday’s first free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix. “Rule changes during the season are not okay,” he had previously emphasized: “You have to find your limit as a team, how far you can go.”

The day before, the Fia had intervened out of concern for the safety of the pilots. She asked the teams to make the necessary adjustments so that the extreme bouncing at high speeds does not put the drivers under such physical strain. He is also not interested in whether the Fia’s instructions are good or bad for them, said the Red Bull star.

As proof of this, Verstappen drove to first place shortly afterwards. At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, after an hour, he relegated Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari to second place by 0.246 seconds. The veteran Fernando Alonso finished third, the 40-year-old two-time champion made it to fourth place on the slower tires ahead of Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez.

Charles Leclerc, who is 34 points behind Verstappen in the classification before the ninth race of the season, finished fifth in the second Ferrari. Monegasse, who has fallen back to third overall, may have to accept a grid penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday (8 p.m. / Sky).

By Friday, however, Ferrari had not decided whether a new or used engine would be installed for the defective engine from the last race in Baku. Should the Scuderia decide on a new variant, Leclerc will have to go back ten places on the starting line-up.

“We’re not in the best position to win,” Leclerc admitted. “It’s part of our discussion to choose the best course to accept a penalty.” However, the track in Montréal is a good course for overtaking, which would speak in favor of the penalty in the coming race.

Sebastian Vettel, who won in 2013 in the Red Bull and in 2018 in a Ferrari on the course on the Île Notre-Dame, finished ninth in the Aston Martin behind record champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Mick Schumacher finished 17th in the Haas. dpa

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