Lewis Hamilton retained his Practice 1 advantage to clock the fastest time of the session during a very busy afternoon session.
Despite Hamilton heading the time-sheets, the field looked very closely matched – with fierce battles expected between Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari – all pushing hard for the fight for pole position.
The session started off with the drivers heading onto the hardest compound available, and from the evidence provided, the track evolution remained consistent, and drivers were constantly improving their lap-time for up to 5-6 laps.
As the drivers started to lay down the gremlin Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest time of the session, which was a 1.14.212 and crucially more than half a second clear of team-mate, Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton wasn’t the only surprise of the session, many had predicted that Red Bull have leapfrogged Ferrari, however Sebastian Vettel demonstrated class-threatening pace in his Ferrari, having split the two Mercedes drivers, and being only two tenths down on Hamilton’s fastest lap.
Ferrari demonstrated the gains made by their new power unit that they brought to Canada, Sebastian Vettel was the fastest man around the speed traps in the Ferrari, and in addition it must be noted that Ferrari have made additional configurations to their geometry, which is believed to give the team better traction – an element that was costing them during the last few events. The increased traction could also explain how the team are rocketing to the top in terms of straight-line speed.
After many were expecting a straight-fight in terms of qualifying and race simulation between Red Bull and Mercedes, that wasn’t the case. Verstappen, the fastest Red Bull driver was almost a second slower than Lewis Hamilton, and crucially seven tenths down on Sebastian Vettel following the rumors of Red Bull being ahead of Ferrari. However, the given evidence isn’t enough to draw to conclusions – given fuel loads and engine modes have not been taken into account.
In addition, the Red Bull drivers found themselves fighting for supremacy – after Verstappen’s poor showing in Monaco, the Dutchman headed Daniel Ricciardo by less than a tenth of a second.
After Williams’ drama in the morning session, they looked to have decent form on a track that would suit the strengths of the Williams car; Bottas was under a tenth behind the two closely matched Red Bull drivers, whilst Massa sat in a lonely P13, but only three tenths slower than his team-mate, thanks to the very competitive mid-field battle.
Many had low expectations for McLaren-Honda, given this circuit is one that is quite power-sensitive, however the two drivers looked quite competitive. Jenson Button was P7, and had an identical lap-time to Bottas, whilst Alonso was P11, and two tenths further back.