Nico Rosberg has taken his Mercedes GP W02 quickest around the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. With team-mate Michael Schumacher third-fastest and the two Ferraris completing the top-four-fastest positions in the session, this has already set tongues wagging that we Sebastian Vettel slaps the 'Wall of Champions' could be in for an unusual weekend.

The big talking point of the session was Sebastian Vettel, who became the latest champion to clobber the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ at the final chicane. The German had completed just eighth laps of the circuit before his smash, and he had to sit out the remainder of the session.

With rain forecast to hit the circuit over the weekend, conditions were better as the running got underway at 10:00AM local time.

As a portent of things to come in what would be an action-packed and incident-filled ninety-minute session, Jarno Trulli was almost immediately returning his Lotus to the pits with a damaged front wing, courtesy of collecting a bird on the back straight.

With grip being next to non-existent on this semi street circuit, a number of drivers found themselves making off-track excursions as they explored the limits of adhesion. Nico Rosberg and Jaime Alguersuari both had slides over the Turn 8 grass, while Nick Heidfeld enjoyed a quick spin at Turn 2 after getting on the power too quickly.

With Alonso, Schumacher, Hamilton and Massa all enjoying turns at the top of the timesheets before the red flags came out to clean up the mess after Vettel’s accident, Alonso lowered the benchmark in the final half-hour before Nico Rosberg turned up the wick and posted the session’s fastest time with seven minutes to run in the session.

Finishing fifth- and sixth-fastest were the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton having his steering column replaced during the session after his LED display on his steering wheel packed it in. Button had his rear wing changed after experiencing problems with his DRS.



2011 Canadian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 1:15.591 32
2. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.548 27
3. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 0.958 30
4. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 1.067 26
5. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 1.085 20
6. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 1.251 19
7. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.399 28
8. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.703 26
9. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 1.854 28
10. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.958 20
11. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.071 27
12. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 + 2.229 30
13. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.867 31
14. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 2.915 15
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 3.057 35
16. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 + 3.261 8
17. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 3.341 20
18. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 3.683 29
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 3.831 30
20. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 3.986 26
21. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 4.247 31
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 4.369 23
23. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 4.929 21
24. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.248 27

[Image via Sutton Images]

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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.