Lewis Hamilton tops opening free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean.
Bouncing back from the pit stop call that cost him the win in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as Formula One hit Canada. A chilly start in Montreal saw the drivers get used to the narrow streets that put pressure on the brakes, while McLaren and the Ferrari powered teams also got used to their upgraded engines.
On the back of the Monaco Grand Prix, a lot of the paddock talk had been about Lewis Hamilton and how he could overcome the strategy error that cost him the win last time out. But Lewis just wanted to move on and look ahead, and what better way to do so than with the fastest lap in the opening session.
For Lewis, he took the top spot from the early stages after Rosberg posted the first timed lap. Nico’s time however was 2.7 seconds slower than Lewis’ opener before Hamilton went on and lowered the benchmark by four seconds to a 1:16.608.
Things were not perfect for the championship leader however, with Lewis struggling for control under heavy braking on numerous occasions. The biggest moment for Hamilton was with half hour to go at the hairpin when he span his Mercedes 180˚. This, or slow upshifts, however did not stop him going on to improve on his benchmark.
Worse though was for Button as his Canadian Grand Prix weekend got off to a poor start when his gearbox got stuck in second during his installation lap right at the start of the session. McLaren believed they had fixed the electronics issue that caused the gearbox to stick however after another installation lap the issue reappeared and they were back working on a solution.
Whilst they worked on that solution, the track fell silent. But once the action was back underway, the Silver Arrows held a once second advantage over third placed Romain Grosjean. But at least for McLaren Button was back on track with 40 minutes to go and able to post his first time of the day, even if he was over three seconds down on Lewis.
Over the rest of the session, Jenson and Alonso improved on their best lap times to edge McLaren into to the top 10. But as the session rolled on, Ferrari remained dotted down the order and Grosjean remained ‘best of the rest’ even if he was still over a second down on the Silver Arrows.
The opening practice session also proved mixed for Williams as the long straights meant they could utilise their straight line speed. But Massa could only be the lead Williams while down in sixth, 1.7 seconds off Hamilton, while Bottas sat on the edge of the top 10.
FP1 proved more of a struggle for Toro Rosso though, as they lingered towards the bottom of the time sheet. But the poor pace shown by Ferrari following their upgrade tokens being spent will not be of too much joy to the Italian outfit as they look to close the gap on Mercedes.