MONTREAL, Canada, Jun 9 – Kimi Raikkonen topped the times ahead of Lewis Hamilton as Ferrari edged in front in a close scrap with champions Mercedes in Friday afternoon’s second free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Finn, who finished a disappointed and controversial second in Ferrari’s one-two triumph at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix, clocked a best lap in one minute and 12,935 seconds to outpace the Briton, who was fastest in the morning’s opening session, by 0.215 seconds.
Championship leader and four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in the second Ferrari ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was fourth in the second Mercedes.
The top four were separated by only 0.375 seconds at the end of a closely-contested session that ended with Vettel complaining that three-time champion Hamilton was slowing him down as he followed him.
“He keeps making mistakes and backing off,” said Vettel on the Ferrari team radio, a charge that could not be leveled at 2007 champion Raikkonen who was in scorching form.
Dutchman Max Verstappen was fifth for Red Bull, before he pulled up in the closing stages with gearbox problems, ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams and two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who posted an excellent late lap for McLaren Honda to go seventh.
Frenchman Esteban Ocon and his Force India team-mate Mexican Sergio Perez were eighth and 10th either side of Russian Daniil Kvyat in his Toro Rosso.
The session was packed with incidents with many cars struggling and spinning – including Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas, who spun three times, Vettel and Verstappen, as they sought the limits of their performance.
It began with Spaniard Carlos Sainz going out first in his Toro Rosso to try and make up for lost time after losing the entire morning session with an engine failure.
Vettel was soon fastest before Ricciardo reported “loss of power” as his Red Bull team were hit by the first of their problems on a difficult day.
Hamilton displaced Vettel after 21 minutes before Raikkonen delivered his lap in 1:12.935 seconds to take over on top.
The session was then halted by a red flag with 18 minutes remaining when Verstappen, in the second Red Bull, suffered a gearbox problem and pulled up between Turns 7 and 8, a position regarded as dangerous.
The session re-started with 13 minutes remaining and almost the entire field, bar the two broken Red Bulls, on track. Perez, almost immediately, spun at Turn Two.