Verstappen's day ends in smoke as Alonso leads first day of Canadian F1 Grand Prix practice

Verstappen's day ends in smoke as Alonso leads first day of Canadian F1 Grand Prix practice

MONTREAL — Just a short time before the first free practice session was set to begin, the big news of the day at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Notre Dame Island in Montreal, Quebec was the thunder, lightning and rain that briefly turned to hail before settling on a strong downpour that drenched the track. By the end of FP2, however, the paddock's main source of conversation was Max Verstappen's early exit in his smoky Red Bull. Next on the list of hot topics was the strong performance of Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso, who finished the day with the fastest lap.

Verstappen's return to the garage took place just four laps into the second session after a run on dry tires. Red Bull said the smoke was caused by a battery issue.

"Unfortunately FP1 was very affected by the weather and we also did not get many laps out of FP2. There was a suspected electrical issue so the Team told me to box. They are investigating what the issue is in the garage now and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of it," Verstappen said. "It is not ideal as I would have liked to have driven a few more laps and it is not how I would have liked to have finished the session. But now we just need to understand more about what happened and the implications that it will have for this weekend."


Red Bull motorsport director Helmut Marko later added in an interview with, "The problem is on the engine side. We have to take the engine out now to find the exact reason, but it is on the electric part of the engine."

Alonso had a fast lap of 1 minute, 15.810 seconds. Mercedes driver George Russell was second at 1:16.273, and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll, the lone Canadian in field, followed at 1:16.464.

“It was a tricky Friday for everyone,” Alonso said. “But it could be like this for qualifying and the race, so it’s still very useful information. The right decision can gain you five seconds, wrong decision and you’re out of the race.”