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