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With confidence an important factor to a good lap time around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, his lack of running may explain the near eight-tenth deficit to the front, but on a weekend where Mercedes could be exposed, the German will need to improve to take advantage.

Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was third best, followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas. They have to select it quite far ahead from our test when the tyres didn't last, I think that's the information we got then and we planned for a different strategy.

"Can't get them all and I will try to recover from it tomorrow". "Straight out of the box today I think we started right with the auto set-up".

Mercedes' chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin said: "Overall we've had a fairly straightforward day, the vehicle has run reliably and it was just the red flags and virtual safety cars that caused us to have to adapt the plan a little". "The vehicle was working well".

Cape Town - Lewis Hamilton can make history this evening as he fights for his seventh Canadian GP victory, and the honour of being only the second driver to claim more than six wins at a single event.

Formula One's youngest race victor arrived in Montreal under attack from all corners, after an incident-filled start to the season that has seen the 20-year-old reach the podium once in six races while Ricciardo has recorded a pair of wins.

"But the guys worked as hard as they could and had to take a sensible decision to not bring it here, which is definitely unfortunate".

Ricciardo is third in the standings, but he also failed to finish two races. But I just struggled in the session and couldn't pull it through.

Only Stoffel Vandoorne and Carlos Sainz, who crashed out of the session, posted fewer trips around the track. "We're laughing about it because at one point that's the only thing you've got to do". "The lap time, I can't say I'm too excited about".

Verstappen was again fastest in the afternoon session with a time of 1m 12.198s, while Hamilton clocked 1m 12.77s down in P4 after running on the SuperSoft and UltraSoft tyres.

Charles Leclerc has found himself racing against the double world champion he grew up idolising a lot in recent races and the Monegasque was just 0.018s slower in P11 with an impressive lap for Sauber.

Romain Grosjean damaged his nose cone when he hit an animal, believed to be a groundhog in the afternoon.

Local driver Stroll would be a victim of the "Wall of Champions" at the final chicane as he biffed the barrier enough to puncture his right-rear, meanwhile his Russian partner would spin approaching Turn 6, reversing into the safety barrier. "You can see just how tight things are at the front of the grid, so I think it could be tricky to overtake tomorrow".