Canadian GP 2023

JUNE 17, 2023

Practice 3 Report - Verstappen fastest in wet session

Max Verstappen, Canadian GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Peter Habicht

Max Verstappen set the fastest time in a very wet FP3 session in his Red Bull-Honda with a 1m23.106, with only Charles Leclerc offering opposition to the Dutch driver, as the rest of the field was more than 1.3s slower than the championship leader.

With full Wets being required in the first few minutes of running, and it was nearly ten minutes into the running that the first bunch of drivers opted to swap to Intermediates, keeping the same set on their cars until the rain picked up again with ten minutes left, leading everyone to conclude their programs early.

Keeping the Intermediate tyres at the ideal temperature was the main challenge for all the drivers, as any slower lap would bring the temperatures plummeting down, and Verstappen was the more efficient at this, managing to open a big gap to the rest of the field, with Leclerc needing a few more minutes to get within 0.291s of the Red Bull driver.

A sizeable accident from Carlos Sainz brought out the only red flag of the session, the Ferrari driver losing control of his SF-23 under braking for Turn 1 at the 29 minutes mark. Sainz went over to the right side of the track and touched the white line as he started to brake, the rear of his car snapping instantly and in a wet tarmac run off he spun on his way to the tyre wall, hitting it first with the left front and then with the left rear, so the Italian mechanics will be working flat out to repair the chassis before the start of qualifying.

While Verstappen was very quick, his team mate Sérgio Pérez never managed to get his tyres in the operating window, so the Mexican ended the session down in P17, with a lap time that was more than 2.7s slower.

With both Mercedes drivers also struggling to get their Intermediate tyres up to temperature, Fernando Alonso was best of the rest in third, just ahead of the surprisingly quick Kevin Magnussen, while Sainz was still classified in fifth place in spite of missing out on the second half of the session.

Traffic was an issue due to the poor visibility created by the spray, and after several near misses and Sainz was summoned to the Stewards after the end of the session.

Gasly and Stroll finished in sixth and seventh, while Yuki Tsunoda survived two spins early in the session, but recovered to end up eighth quickest. Bottas was ninth and Hamilton tenth.

Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg was 11th, followed by the McLaren’s of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. Williams Alex Albon was next in the order, followed by Hamilton teammate George Russell, Alpha Tauri’s Nyck de Vries and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Alfa’s Guanyu Zhou, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Williams’ Logan Sargeant made up the rest of the field.

With drivers saving as many Intermediate sets as possible for qualifying, no one used more than one set of this compound in FP3, so it’s likely teams and drivers will try to use no more than one set of Intermediates in qualifying unless conditions change.