Mercedes and Ferrari were closely matched during their long runs in free practice two, potentially setting up a close fight between two outfits during Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
With Montreal being a power circuit, many were surprised to see Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel close in within two tenths of Lewis Hamilton during FP2. But after comparing their race simulations, it is fair to say that the gap between the two is indeed marginal.
As always, it is difficult to predict the amount of fuel loads each driver was carrying. Moreover, teams tend to use old engines and slower engine modes in practice. Other factors also play a role.
On the ultrasoft tyres, Mercedes appear to have a small but significant advantage over Ferrari. Rosberg’s average time was 1:18.586, with Hamilton closely following behind with 1:18.620.
Although Raikkonen managed an average lap time of 1:18.642, his stint was considerably shorter than the two Mercedes drivers. As a result, it would be more appropriate to use Vettel’s lap times for the sake of comparison. The German was around two tenths slower than the silver cars over the long runs.
Rosberg - 1:18.586
Hamilton - 1:18.620
Raikkonen - 1:18.642
Vettel - 1:18.751
Neither of the top runners opted to run soft tyres in FP2, leaving Force India’s Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg to occupy the top two spots on the leaderboard.
Hulkenberg did a 20-lap stint on the red-striped tyre, marginally pipping Williams’s Valtteri Bottas. He, however, was significantly quicker than the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who did three fewer laps.
Perez - 1:18.830
Hulkenberg - 1:19.487
Bottas - 1:19.467
Kvyat - 1:19.610
Verstappen - 1:19.662
It is difficult to gauge soft tyre pace of Mercedes and Ferrari based on their long runs. While Raikkonen ran a mammoth 24 lap stint on the yellow-marked tyre, the remaining trio spent less than 10 laps on the same compound.
Over a nine lap run, Rosberg’s average time stood as 1:17.598 while Hamilton recorded a mean time of 1:18.052.
Interestingly, Raikkonen reported little drop off on soft tyres, with his final lap being 1:18.461. However, one must note that there were a few ‘cool-down’ laps throughout the stint.
Rosberg - 1:17.598
Hamilton - 1:18.052
Raikkonen - 1:18.582
Vettel - 1:18.966
by Rachit Thukral