F1 Canada FP1 Results & Full Report: Mercedes Power on Top as McLaren, Mercedes GP Fight for Fastest

What Happens When the Time Zone is the Same

11:42am EST — Jenson Button posted the fastest time in a generally overcast and uneventful first practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.  While the first (and second and third) practice sessions make actual qualifying and race pace determinations difficult, it was an all Mercedes powered top four, with Michael Schumacher second, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel the five fastest.  Robert Kubica, fifth fastest for much of the latter part of the sessionended up sixth fastest.  Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were seventh and twelfth fastest for Ferrari while the Red Bull of Mark Webber was fourteenth.

It was a half hour into the session before times were set in the first session of the Canadian GP weekend after a year’s absence from Montreal.  Jaime Alguersuari (1:25.265) and Kamui Kobayashi were the first to post times and the fastest men on the circuit as few drivers posted more than installation laps.  Both improved their times immediately.  There was much complaint that the track was very dirty and slippery, as the circuit traditionally needs to rubber in for speed and the year off between Canadian GPs had not helped.  Halfway through the session and only ten of the twenty-four drivers posted times, with Nico Hulkenberg the fastest, soon to be supplanted by teammate Rubens Barrichello.  None of the top teams had yet to set proper lap times, with Kobayashi leading Barrichello, Hulkenberg, Buemi, Alguersuari, de la Rosa, Trulli, Senna, and Chandhok as the top ten and only drivers with times.  Soon thereafter, and with a few drops of rain beginning to fall, the Mercedes GP cars and other higher-ranked teams began posting times.  Just ten minutes later, only Sutil, Glock (undergoing a planned brake change at Virgin Racing), di Grassi, and Kubica had yet to post a time.

With thirty-five minutes left in the first practice session, Lewis Hamilton was at the top of the timesheet with a 1:18,352 and his teammate Jenson Button two tenths behind.  The positions then switched with a faster lap from the ’09 champion, putting Hamilton two tenths behind Button.  On the Virgin Racing drivers had yet to set a time, with Button, Hamilton, Rosberg, Schumacher, Massa, Alonso, Vettel, Kubica, and Liuzzi the fastest ten with just over a half hour to go.  On his first proper lap, Alonso jumped up to third fastest and splitting the Mercedes power of McLaren and Mercedes GP.  Kubica also posted a fast lap, slotting into fourth.

At twenty minutes to go, Button remained fastest, with a 1:18.127.  di Grassi had stopped on the track, causing only a local yellow, but half the field was in the garage making adjustments and playing with parts.  Kubica had pipped Alonso for third fastest, though practice sessions are notoriously difficult to determine race pace from for the fans.  Fifteen minutes left and Schumacher also improved, splitting the McLarens and posting the second fastest time to that point in the session.  In the final five minutes, it looked like a proper session, with nearly the entire field of cars and drivers posting times.  Vettel moved up from the latter half of the top ten to the middle of the top ten, though the Red Bulls do not always show their pace early on in the weekend.  Rosberg gained a few places as well, though he was still slwoer than teammate Schumacher, as the top four were McLaren-Mercedes-McLaren-Mercedes.

Final Times for FP1:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Jenson Button 1:18.127 23
2. Michael Schumacher 1:18.285 +.158 19
3. Lewis Hamilton 1:18.352 +.225 19
4. Nico Rosberg 1:18.356 +.229 23
5. Sebastian Vettel 1:18.549 +.422 27
6. Robert Kubica 1:18.662 +.535 19
7. Fernando Alonso 1:18.726 +.599 21
8. Tonio Liuzzi 1:19.097 +.970 25
9. Nico Hulkenberg 1:19.282 +1.155 31
10. Rubens Barrichello 1:19.313 +1.186 19
11. Adrian Sutil 1:19.373 +1.246 12
12. Felipe Massa 1:19.511 +1.384 21
13. Vitaly Petrov 1:19.549 +1.422 24
14. Mark Webber 1:19.609 +1.482 26
15. Kamui Kobayashi 1:20.186 +2.059 33
16. Sebastien Buemi 1:20.320 +2.193 27
17. Pedro de la Rosa 1:20.584 +2.457 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari 1:20.823 +2.696 28
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1:21.869 +3.724 24
20. Karun Chandhok 1:21.977 +3.850 27
21. Jarno Trulli 1:22.543 +4.416 12
22. Bruno Senna 1:22.701 +4.574 28
23. Timo Glock 1:22.713 +4.586 20
24. Lucas di Grassi n/a n/a 4

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