Lewis Hamilton’s Canadian Grand Prix preparations suffered a setback after a rare error from the five-time world champion prematurely ended his Friday practice.
After topping the first practice session of the day, Hamilton limped back to the pits half an hour into the afternoon’s track time with a tyre puncture. The Mercedes driver got loose through the chicane at Turn 8/9 after hitting a sausage kerb on the inside of the corner. That put his car off balance and it slewed sideways through the exit before the left rear wheel made contact with the wall.
Hamilton opened his radio channel after the incident to say simply: “Sorry, guys.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 7, 2019
Although he avoided major damage to the car, Mercedes decided to change the rear of the car as a precaution. That repair work meant the championship leader sat out the remainder of the session.
“I made a mistake in FP2 and damaged the car,” Hamilton said after the session. “The boys tried really hard to fix it, but there wasn’t enough time. I don’t remember the last time I missed a whole session before. It’s definitely not great to watch the session from the garage; it feels like sitting in the headmaster’s office, wishing to be back in class.
“It was an innocent mistake. I was doing multiple laps on the medium tyre and was really trying to find the limit. Obviously I went slightly over, I had a big snap out of Turn 9 and was drifting for a long time, hoping I wouldn’t hit the wall.
“But these things happen; you just have to put it behind straight away you and get back on the horse.”
It meant Hamilton missed one of the most important parts of Friday’s practice sessions, the low-fuel qualifying simulations. In those, Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel went quicker than Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas — the 0.134s which split the top three suggested there could be a very tense fight for pole position on Saturday afternoon. Hamilton’s time on the medium tyres left him in sixth position by the end of the session.
Hamilton arrived in Montreal, where he has won six times, defending a 17-point lead over Bottas in the championship.