Rain gives Chico and Verstappen a difficult time in practice

AndMax Verstappen, the Formula 1 World Championship points leader, left the track early in his Red Bull car, while Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap on Friday in the second free practice of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Mexican Sergio Pérez finished the day in ninth place, and the bad run continues for the man from Guadalajara.

After Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was hit by heavy rain, lightning and hail before the first practice session, Verstappen returned to the garage four laps into the second session after running on dry tyres. Red Bull said the smoke was caused by a battery problem.

Alonso recorded a fast lap of 1 minute and 15.810 seconds. Mercedes driver George Russell finished second with a time of 1:16.273, followed by Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, the only Canadian on the grid, with a time of 1:16.464.

Earlier, McLaren driver Lando Norris recorded a time of one minute and 24.435 seconds after heavy rain, which led to the delay of the first test. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz took second place, followed by his teammate Charles Leclerc.

Rain plays its role at the Montreal track

Lightning, heavy rain and hail struck just over an hour before training began. Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas tried to form a snowball with large pieces of hailstones that filled the field.

Event organizers asked spectators to leave the stands amid bad weather while police closed the bridges leading to Notre Dame Island.

The storm subsided approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start time and the site was reopened to fans. The drivers did not reach the wet track until the 22nd minute of the session as ground crews worked to clean up the water, but conditions were not ideal.

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Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu brought out the red flag five minutes later when he slid into the water and hit the wall at Turn 5 before stopping. Several other drivers, including Bottas and Stroll, ran off the track and fell onto the grass during the session.

More rain is expected over the weekend. Qualifying on Saturday for Sunday's race.

Sacha Woodward

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