Mark Hughes: Why a shock Canadian GP result is so likely

This could be the right place at the right time for the race, given the ever-changing weather that is expected. Friday's run gave a great glimpse of that.

What we learned is not reflected in time, so circumstances were mixed. There was a small window at the start of the second practice where you could run a few laps on slicks in a light drizzle. If you stay there on the soft and the tires warm up and keep going, you'll be fast.

That's what the Aston Martins did, with Fernando Alonso quickest on the headlines and Lance Stroll third, ahead of George Russell's Mercedes.

It seems Aston can generate tire temperatures quickly – and that could be gold dust depending on what the weather does in the critical moments of qualifying and the race.

But there was no comparison for like. For example, both the Ferraris and McLarens were running around on an unsuitable medium tire (for the conditions), and appeared to be using different fuel loads to each other.

Max Verstappen only did one dangerous lap before he was pitted with a Red Bull on fire – with a hybrid-related failure suspected. But Sergio Perez seems to be struggling at the other Red Bull team.

Then there was a lull when the track was too wet for slicks, too dry for crossovers. By the time it was wet enough, the track was about 14 seconds slower. At that deciding stage, Alonso was once again the fastest man on track. But not everyone was there, on the contrary, he was in the garage when Lando Norris was setting the pace towards the finish.

So we can't say who is where with any degree of confidence, just that the usual top four teams are in the mix – apart from them perhaps the way Aston Martin operates the tires can be a boon if the conditions are just right.

Most important to our learning was that the new extremely smooth track surface combined with the weather forecast had huge potential for shock results.

The surface dries extremely quickly when online, making the contrast in online and offline grip particularly difficult, meaning it's very easy for a stain or medium to not be right! This also means that drivers are very reluctant to navigate offline.

This has everything that creates controversy and surprise.


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