LONDON (Sky Sports) - Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has suffered the latest of a series of blows to his title hopes with a grid penalty for excessive engine usage.
Ferrari have fitted a third electronics control unit at the Canadian Grand Prix, triggering an automatic 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
Teams may use only two electronics units per driver per season.
Leclerc has suffered an 80-point swing in favour of title rival Max Verstappen after a series of recent problems.
And he is now likely to lose further ground to the Red Bull driver in Montreal.
Leclerc led Verstappen by 46 points after two victories and a second place from the first three races, from two of which the Dutchman retired.
But Leclerc has suffered two engine failures in the last three races, both times when he was in the lead.
He also lost victory in the Monaco Grand Prix after a Ferrari strategy bungle dropped him from the lead to fourth, while a spin in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix turned a third place into sixth.
As a result, he starts the Canadian Grand Prix 34 points behind Verstappen, who ended Friday practice fastest after an impressive day in the Red Bull.
The world champion was 0.081 seconds clear of the man who until not too long ago appeared to be his title rival.
Carlos Sainz was third quickest in the second Ferrari, 0.225secs off the pace.
And Sebastian Vettel was a surprise fourth for Aston Martin, at the home race for team owner Lawrence Stroll, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.
Lewis Hamilton described the Mercedes as the “worst I have felt any car here” after another difficult day for the world champions.
The seven-time champion has won the Canadian Grand Prix seven times but he ended the day 13th, with team-mate George Russell seventh as Mercedes continued to experiment with set-up ideas and developments in an attempt to improve their recalcitrant car.