Canadian GP | Hamilton tops FP1 as Massa crashes out

First free practice at the Canadian Grand Prix topped by Lewis Hamilton.

Morning in Montreal saw Lewis Hamilton hammer home the fastest time as Felipe Massa crashed heavily at turn one. The Brazilian’s morning left Williams with work to do, while power unit upgrades were aplenty despite a McLaren oil leak flooding the garage with smoke.

Montreal has been a happy stomping ground for Hamilton with four victories to his name at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. With the strong form around the semi-permanent circuit carrying on into 2016, with Lewis lapping the fastest by three tenths of a second to Rosberg in first free practice.

Rosberg had posted the first time of the day with a 1:30.434 while most carried out install laps. However the next timed lap, coming nearly 20 mins into session, saw Rosberg dropped by Haryanto who set a 1:25.231. The Manor however appeared more unstable under braking to their competitors in the early stages.

Times soon steadily decreased to a 1:16.138 with Raikkonen as more laps were posted. Although Rosberg and Hamilton were yet to complete flying runs.

With his first run, Hamilton opted to take to the run off at final chicane as he carried too much speed into the penultimate corner. Rosberg followed up by lapping four tenths faster than Kimi, before Hamilton posted a 1:14.980 with his next flyer.

Hamilton’s time edged Nico out by eight tenths of a second despite Rosberg’s time being half a second faster than FP1‘s best lap from last year. Lewis’ lap was also on the supersoft tyres, rather than the purple walled ultrasofts of Rosberg and the yellow walled softs of Verstappen as the Red Bull split the Silver Arrows momentarily.

Verstappen also comes to Canada with the upgraded Renault power unit, used by Ricciardo back in Monaco while the engine manufacturer only had two complete units. Now though, Renault are providing their other driver (Palmer) and Verstappen with the upgraded unit for this race weekend.

Ferrari too came to Canada with an engine upgrade as they searched for speed in their pursuit of catching Mercedes and Red Bull. Whereas Honda came to Canada in search of greater reliability via a new turbocharger. McLaren-Honda’s day however saw Button retire with an oil leak.

The oil leak was initially mendable, albeit with a large plume of smoke on exit of the garage. Yet Jenson was forced to box on his out lap as he hit a temperature limiter mode.

Apart from engine upgrades, teams have come to Canada with an assortment of aero parts. Mercedes in particular ran a banana shaped rear wing with Rosberg in the early stages for comparison ahead of the European Grand Prix next week in Baku. The part was removed from the car mid-session, as the team also ran a new monkey seat above their exhaust.

Red Bull meanwhile have brought a new nose cone. With the new part now 1.5cm shorter than the previous version ran in Monaco and is now at the minimum legal length.

Button was not alone in having troubles in first free practice with Massa, 25 mins into session, losing the rear under braking for turn one. As the car rolled backwards into tyre barrier, the rear of his Williams was destroyed leading to a red flag period. Parts of his rear wing and driveshaft were left scattered on the run off, as the Williams awaited a pick up. With the impact also ruining the gearbox.

As Massa prepared to exit the car, the Brazilian reported on the radio he believed he had suffered a problem that caused his spin. Claiming as he cancelled the DRS, he completely lost control of the rear.

Pos Driver Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton 1:14.755
2 Nico Rosberg 1:15.086 0.331
3 Sebastian Vettel 1:15.243 0.488
4 Max Verstappen 1:15.553 0.798
5 Kimi Raikkonen 1:15.618 0.863
6 Valtteri Bottas 1:16.301 1.546
7 Nico Hulkenberg 1:16.464 1.709
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. 1:16.543 1.788
9 Sergio Perez 1:16.577 1.822
10 Fernando Alonso 1:16.663 1.908
11 Daniel Ricciardo 1:16.734 1.979
12 Jenson Button 1:16.788 2.033
13 Romain Grosjean 1:17.008 2.253
14 Felipe Massa 1:17.065 2.310
15 Daniil Kvyat 1:17.310 2.555
16 Esteban Gutierrez 1:17.319 2.564
17 Felipe Nasr 1:17.855 3.10
18 Rio Haryanto 1:18.103 3.348
19 Marcus Ericsson 1:18.129 3.374
20 Kevin Magnussen 1:18.409 3.654
21 Pascal Wehrlein 1:18.453 3.698
22 Jolyon Palmer 1:18.583 3.828