The Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the first to take to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, and quickly set the benchmark pace.

By session’s end, Hamilton was quickest with four-tenths of a second in hand over his teammate – at a circuit which is statistically one of his best – while the pair was almost 1.5 seconds faster than the rest of the field.

Jenson Button suffered with an early gearbox problem when his McLaren Honda became jammed in second gear, while on the other side of the garage, teammate Fernando Alonso was also confined his garage as his mechanics conducted a range of set-up changes. The Spaniard ultimately popped up ninth-fastest in the session – almost two seconds slower than Hamilton – while Button managed to get on track later and finished fifteenth on the timesheets.

Getting sufficient front tyre temperature was proving to be a challenge for a number of teams – Marcus Ericsson performed a series of dramatic weaves down the main straight in his Sauber – and the issue is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

One of the more bizarre incidents of the session was footage of the marshals having to remove a series of stable pins from the pit lane – left behind thanks to a poor clean-up from a red carpet event – one of which became stuck onto Nico Hülkenberg’s wheel. The errant pins were still being picked up at the halfway point of the session.

The opening 90-minute session wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for a number of runners. Defending Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo finished well down on the timesheets, with his unhappiness for his brake balance necessitating a complete change of brake ducts on his Red Bull Racing RB11.

There were also a number of spinners. Carlos Sainz Jr looped his Toro Rosso at Turn 1, while Williams’ Valtteri Bottas did likewise at Turn 6. Even Hamilton found himself facing backwards in the session.

Sainz stopped at the exit of pit lane near the end of the session and was wheeled back into the garage, ending the Spanish youngster’s trend of finishing in P8 in every FP1 session he’s run in to-date.

Romain Grosjean and Nico Hülkenberg finished third and fourth-fastest for Lotus and Force India respectively. While Friday FP1 times don’t give a clear indication of qualifying or race performance, it will be an interesting side story to see how both teams get on over the remainder of the weekend.

Friday’s second practice session at Montreal begins at 14:00 local time (GMT -4).

Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2015 – Free Practice 1 Results
Pos Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:16.212 34
2. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:16.627 + 0.415 38
3. Romain Grosjean fr Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:17.721 + 1.509 35
4. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08 1:17.871 + 1.659 34
5. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:17.905 + 1.693 25
6. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:17.985 + 1.773 28
7. Daniil Kvyat ru Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:18.021 + 1.809 30
8. Pastor Maldonado ve Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:18.026 + 1.814 41
9. Fernando Alonso es McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:18.128 + 1.916 34
10. Max Verstappen nl Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:18.257 + 2.045 24
11. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:18.325 + 2.113 40
12. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:18.439 + 2.227 26
13. Sergio Pérez mx Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08 1:18.503 + 2.291 28
14. Daniel Ricciardo au Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:18.775 + 2.563 24
15. Jenson Button uk McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:18.786 + 2.574 25
16. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:18.948 + 2.736 30
17. Carlos Sainz es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:19.065 + 2.853 23
18. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:19.165 + 2.953 32
19. Roberto Merhi es Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:20.616 + 4.404 33
20. Will Stevens uk Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:20.624 + 4.412 27

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Chandni Patel

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