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Verstappen hit by smoky battery problem in Canadian GP practice

Mark Thompson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

MONTREAL (AP) — Formula 1 points leader Max Verstappen left the track early with his Red Bull machine smoking, while Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso had the fastest lap Friday in the second free practice at the Canadian Grand Prix.

After Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was hit by heavy rain, lightning and hail before the first practice session, Verstappen returned to the garage four laps into the second session after a run on dry tires. Red Bull said the smoke was caused by a battery issue.

Alonso had a fast lap of 1 minute, 15.810 seconds. Mercedes driver George Russell was second at 1:16.273, and Aston Martin's Lance Strol, the lone Canadian in field, followed at 1:16.464.

Earlier, McLaren’s Lando Norris had a lap at 1:24.435 after the downpour delayed the first practice. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz was second, followed by teammate Charles Leclerc,

Lightning, heavy rain and hail rolled through a little more than an hour before the practice start time. Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas attempted to form a snowball out of the large pieces of hail that filled the paddock.

Event organizers asked spectators to leave the grandstands amid the inclement weather while police shut down the bridges accessing Notre Dame Island.

The storm subsided roughly 15 minutes before the expected start time and the site was reopened to fans. The drivers didn’t hit the wet track until 22 minutes into the session as groundcrews worked to clear the water, but conditions remained less than ideal.

Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu triggered a red flag five minutes later when he aqua-planed and clipped the wall at Turn 5 before grinding to a halt. Several other drivers, including Bottas and Stroll, slid off course and into the grass during the session.

More rain is expected through the weekend. Qualifying is Saturday for the race Sunday.


AP Formula 1:

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