After the damp conditions in the first practice session, drivers now had the chance to give the new Pirelli tire compounds a proper run in the second session — this was important as the rest of the season depended on just how this new rubber performed.
Unlike the first session, a dry track bought drivers straight out to post some quick times with Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso all separated by just a tenth of a second.
The drivers didn’t hang around to get a feel for the new “red walled” soft tires either, as Red Bull’s Webber spun at turn six, but he managed to avoid the barriers. Alonso also lost the rear at the final chicane, but he saved it and avoided the deadly “Wall Of Champions.”
I felt for McLaren as their mechanics battled around the rear of Jenson Button’s car. During the early stages, his car was only good enough for ninth.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil experienced a “Ken Block moment” at the final chicane as he managed to grab some airtime with all four wheels off the ground – a great slow-mo camera shot revealed just how subtle an F1 car can be when the RB9 finally landed on the kerbs.
The Red Bull drivers then traded times for the top spot until Hamilton snuck in with a lap two-tenths clear.
The track was obviously evolving as the rubber built up because Alonso was next up on top with his super soft effort.
McLaren’s problems only got worse when Button could only find a box of neutrals – his team radioed telling him they were looking into it. Should his transmission fail, he’ll be dealt a grid penalty for race day.
After Ferrari’s constant experimentation with their upgrades this weekend, their new front wing and sidepod features kept Alonso on top until the checkered flag.
The teams have one more practice before qualifying, and with the capricious nature of the weather here, nothing is ever certain at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit.
1 – Alonso – [Ferrari] – 1:14.818
2 – Hamilton – [Mercedes] – 1:14.830
3 – Grosjean – [Lotus-Renault] – 1:15.083
4 – Webber – [Red Bull] – 1:15.212
5 – Rosberg – [Mercedes] – 1:15.249
6 – Massa – [Ferrari] – 1:15.254
7 – Vettel – [Red Bull] – 1:15.280
8 – Sutil – [Force India] – 1:15.396
9 – Button – [McLaren-Mercedes] – 1:15.422
10 – Ricciardo – [SRT-Ferrari] – 1:15.566
James Harris is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.