Lewis Hamilton says he felt like he had been sent out of class while having to watch the second practice for the Canadian Grand Prix as a result of hitting the wall early on.
Fastest in the first session, Hamilton was only eight laps into his FP2 program when he slid wide at Turn 9 and hit the wall with the right rear corner of his car. The impact was significant and although the championship leader limped back to the pits, Mercedes opted to change the whole rear end, which meant Hamilton did not return to the track and had to watch the majority of the session from the garage.
“The morning session went smoothly; the track was very dirty in the beginning, but we’re all in the same boat,” Hamilton said. “I made a mistake in FP2 and damaged the car. 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 tire 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…
“These things happen; you just have to put it behind straight away you and get back on the horse.
“Luckily, Valtteri (Bottas) had a good session today, so there’ll be a lot of analysis from that. The boys will do a great job fixing the car tonight and we’ll come back ready for a better day tomorrow.”
While Bottas was third fastest and completed 46 laps after Hamilton’s incident, the Finn also hit trouble with a loss of fuel pressure in FP1.
“It was a day with some promise in it, but also some difficulty,” technical director James Allison said. “We had a fuel system problem with Valtteri in the morning which, fortunately, we understand and should have dealt with properly for tomorrow. We lost some track time with that in the morning and then we lost a bit more in the afternoon as a result of Lewis touching the wall.
“But in among those two difficulties, the car was actually pretty well behaved and seemed to be relatively quick on short and long run alike. We still managed to run all three tires and get a feel for what they’re going to be like in race conditions on a track which, today, was around about the sort of temperatures we can expect to see on Sunday.
“We can see very clearly that the rear tires are going to get pretty hot, but we saw some hope — we should be able to manage that and not let it run away from us. But we also saw in the single lap work that it is going to be a good old fight between us and Ferrari who we have long feared at this track.
“It’s going to be an interesting fight tomorrow and again on Sunday.”