Mercedes-Benz power ruled the roost in the opening practice session of the Canadian Grand Prix, with Jenson Button emerging at the top of the timesheets, Friday Practice - Jenson Button just edging out Michael Schumacher in the works Mercedes GP car.

Lewis Hamilton finished third-quickest in the sister McLaren, with Nico Rosberg just behind in fourth place.

The defending World Champion set a best time of 1:18.127 as Montreal’s return to the F1 calendar made its highly anticipated start, with less than a quarter of a second covering the top four.

With the exception of a few drops of rain, the 90-minute session ran in dry conditions, and it took a while for the drivers to find their comfort zone in the opening half-hour, with many pilots reporting tricky, slippery conditions on the recently-resurfaced circuit. It was only after 30 minutes that drivers started to post competitive lap times, and it was well into the session before the big boys started to knock down the fastest times.

Once this happened, the session looked like being a battle between the ‘F-duct’ equipped McLarens and Mercedes GP cars, with Button and Schumacher looking the most promising. McLaren would hold a 1-2 on the timesheets for a period, but eventually the seven-time World Champion was able to split the pair. Schumacher was certainly not taking it easy, with a few near-miss moments with the concrete walls and the occasional missed apex under braking.

Friday Practice - de la Rosa SpinsIndeed plenty of drivers were set on exploring the limits of the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, with no less than five drivers – including the likes of Fernando Alonso, Vitaly Petrov, Sébastien Buemi, Bruno Senna and Hamilton himself – enjoying trips over the chicane run-offs. Pedro de la Rosa (pictured) also blotted his copybook with a spin in his Sauber at the hairpin.

Of the other drivers on-track, Sebastian Vettel was the best-placed of the Red Bulls in fifth, and team-mate Mark Webber was mired in a lowly 14th. Robert Kubica followed Vettel on the timesheets with sixth overall in his Renault.

The two Williams cars enjoyed a surprise top-ten result in the opening session, and certainly haven’t featured this far north on the timesheets for a little while. Whether or not this form can be sustained throughout the weekend remains to be seen…

At the back of the pack, both Hispania Racing cars outpaced the Virgin VR-01s, no doubt to the displeasure of the Manor Racing squad. Poor Lucas di Grassi failed to post a time after being confined to the garage for much of the session, and then later grinding to a halt at Turn 6 not long after joining the track.

2010 Canadian Grand Prix Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:18.127 23
2. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.158 19
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.225 19
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.229 23
5. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.422 27
6. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.535 19
7. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 0.599 21
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 0.970 25
9. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.155 31
10. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 1.185 19
11. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 1.246 12
12. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 1.384 21
13. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 1.422 24
14. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 1.482 26
15. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 2.059 33
16. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 2.193 27
17. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 2.457 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 2.696 28
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 3.742 24
20. Karun Chandhok IND HRT Cosworth + 3.850 27
21. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 4.416 12
22. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 4.574 28
23. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.586 20
24. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth no time 4

[Original images via AUTOSPORT and GP Update]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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