A last-minute switch to dry-weather tyres put Paul di Resta on top of the timesheets in the opening practice for the Canadian Grand Prix

Paul di Resta topped the times during the last minutes of a rain-affected opening practice session for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. The Force Indias weren’t seen on the wet track much, with Adrian Sutil posting a 1:26.1 for 11th and di Resta a 1:26.3 for 14th on the intermediates.

In a session dominated by the intermediate tyres, teams would have been disappointed at the lack of running with the new construction tyres, with teams only having ten minutes to find out as much as they can before the tyres are introduced at Silverstone.

The track started to clear and a dry racing line started to evolve with around 30 minutes to go, although drivers still felt the need to stay with the intermediates.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was the first driver onto the medium compound, and the first to test the new construction tyres. His lap was cut short however, when his headrest popped off, causing an uncomfortable ride back to the pits.

Pastor Maldonado’s misfortune followed him from Monaco, where he hit the wall and knocked the nose off his new chassis at Turn 4 with around 5 minutes to go.

Jules Bianchi was the other driver whose Monaco misfortunes continued when he out-braked himself and drove down the escape road at Turn 3 after 40 minutes. The escape roads are quite narrow at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, so when Bianchi tried to spin the car around, he struggled to find reverse and eventually his engine overheated due to the car idling for too long.

This weekend shows a lot of promise for Toro Rosso. They’ve needed an unpredictable race to get an upset result and Canada could be it, with rain a potential threat in qualifying and the race. Daniel Ricciardo continued on his good form this year, apart from his incident in Monaco, and finished P6. His teammate Vergne ended up outside the top ten in 13th.

This year looks like it will be the defining year for one of the Toro Rosso boys, with speculations Webber will retire come season end. Granted the two drivers don’t necessarily have the car Vettel had when he won at Monza in 2008, they still need to wow Red Bull if either of them is to have a shot at obtaining Webber’s seat.

Mercedes looked good on the intermediate tyres, Nico Rosberg’s best time on the inters landed him in P2 with a 1:23.6, Hamilton wasn’t too far behind with a 1:25.0.

It’s no secret Red Bull aren’t too fond of this track, partly because they lack straight line speed, but Vettel seemed comfortable in P1 on the intermediates with a time of 1:23.4, two tenths up from second-placed placed Rosberg.

However when it came to using the medium compound, Red Bull finished with Vettel in ninth and Webber in tenth. Although Webber just missed the chequered flag to complete another lap, he still set the fastest sector 1 time, which would have seen him finish higher than he managed.

The forecast for the weekend doesn’t show much indication of sunshine, rather a good chance of rain for qualifying and the race. If that’s the case, it looks like 1m23s is the changing point for the intermediate tyres. Once a driver starts posting times similar to that, they’ll jump to the pits for slicks.


2013 Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:21.020   10
2. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:21.108 + 0.088 20
3. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:21.258 + 0.238 21
4. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:21.308 + 0.288 16
5. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:21.608 + 0.588 22
6. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:22.068 + 1.048 18
7. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:22.402 + 1.382 22
8. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:22.587 + 1.567 17
9. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:23.047 + 2.027 26
10. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:23.131 + 2.111 16
11. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:23.341 + 2.321 13
12. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:23.352 + 2.332 17
13. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:23.386 + 2.366 19
14. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:23.417 + 2.397 19
15. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:23.957 + 2.937 33
16. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:25.054 + 4.034 21
17. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:25.354 + 4.334 22
18. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:25.753 + 4.733 21
19. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:25.821 + 4.801 19
20. Alexander Rossi USA Caterham Renault CT03 1:27.143 + 6.123 20
21. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:27.522 + 6.502 11
22. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:29.306 + 8.286 8

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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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