Mercedes-AMG Petronas unleashed its first power unit upgrade of the 2019 season at the Canadian grand Prix’s opening practice session and the championship leaders immediately put the new motors to good effect.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas led yet another dominant 1-2 on the timesheets in the first hit-out at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with the third-placed Ferrari of Charles Leclerc almost a second adrift.
Hamilton’s fastest time of the 90-minute session, a 1:12.767, was almost a second quicker than the 4.361-kilometre circuit’s race lap record posted by Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello which has stood since 2004 and could well come under threat this weekend.
Teammate Bottas, who lies 17 points adrift of the Englishman in the Drivers’ Championship standings, was just 0.147 seconds off Hamilton’s ultimate pace. The Finn’s session did, however, come to an early end when he worryingly reported a misfire – it was later confirmed to be a loss of fuel pressure.
The gap to the two Ferraris of Leclerc and defending Canadian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel may have looked considerable, although in truth neither driver opted to put any laps on the quickest Soft designated compound tyre and could therefore be sandbagging. The red cars sandwiched Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen on the time sheets.
Vettel was one of several drivers seen having moments on a particularly dusty track surface, with the four-time World Champion half-spinning his Ferrari at the hairpin. Also joining him with a spin was the Haas Ferrari of Romain Grosjean, whose car swapped ends at Turn 6.
Pierre Gasly had an untidy session in the second Red Bull Racing Honda, locking up several in his RB15 on a track where brake management is critical. The Frenchman finished a rather unrepresentative thirteenth-fastest overall.
Williams reserve driver and current Formula 2 Championship leader Nicholas Latifi made his first FP1 outing for the Grove team – driving Robert Kubica’s FW42 – and the Canadian appeared to have challenges early on with a number of lock-ups. The youngster also narrowly avoided hitting a groundhog that wandered onto the track.
The biggest incident of note in the session went to Antonio Giovinazzi, who made a mistake at Turn 8 that led to him losing control of his Alfa Romeo at Turn 9. He backed into the wall, puncturing his left-rear tyre and possibly damaging his car’s rear suspension in the accident and triggering a brief Virtual Safety Car so his C38 could be recovered.
By contrast, it was a more productive session for teammate Kimi Räikkönen, who enjoyed something of a return to form for the Swiss-Italian squad. The Finn led the ‘best of the rest’ charge, finishing a fine sixth-fastest overall.
Just three-tenths of a second a tight midfield scrum led by Räikkönen, with Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Sergio Pérez (Racing Point), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Lando Norris (McLaren) claiming seventh through eleventh on the timesheets.
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DU CANADA – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:12.767||31|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:12.914||+ 0.147||25|
|3.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:13.720||+ 0.953||24|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:13.755||+ 0.988||26|
|5.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:13.905||+ 1.138||28|
|6.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:13.945||+ 1.178||30|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:13.973||+ 1.206||34|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:14.123||+ 1.356||31|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:14.172||+ 1.405||31|
|10.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:14.202||+ 1.435||32|
|11.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:14.246||+ 1.479||33|
|12.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:14.474||+ 1.707||30|
|13.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:14.570||+ 1.803||27|
|14.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:14.582||+ 1.815||17|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:14.645||+ 1.878||31|
|16.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:14.703||+ 1.936||36|
|17.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:14.812||+ 2.045||32|
|18.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:15.343||+ 2.576||32|
|19.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:15.949||+ 3.222||29|
|20.||Nicholas Latifi||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:16.199||+ 3.432||33|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport