The first practice session looked to be a washout for much of the time leading up to it, but conditions improved towards the end of the session to reveal Force India’s Paul di Resta as the fastest.
With just a few minutes of dry running in the morning, the afternoon session was always going to be frantic.
Force India continued its good form from the morning in the early stages of the afternoon, with Paul di Resta in particular flexing the muscles of his car, spending several minutes at the top of the timesheets. Once the track started to rubber in more completely, the established top teams made their way to the top, relegating di Resta and Sutil to the lower reaches of the top-10.
In the opening minutes of the session, the times at the top were changing almost every second. most drivers saw themselves at the top at least once in the session. Lewis Hamilton in particular put in some great laps to go fastest for a time. He has been vocal about his lack of comfort in the car, especially under braking. Hamilton seemed to have resolved those issues in practice for, aside from the odd lock-up, he looked under control. His teammate, while not as quick, is looking strong yet again in his Mercedes. Lewis and Nico ended up 2nd and 6th respectively.
He was not alone at the top, though. After making a slow start, Sebastian Vettel went to the top on the Supersoft tires. He will be aiming for his third pole position and first win at this track this weekend, and the Red Bulls look perfectly suited to the track at the moment. He ended up sparring at the top of the timesheets with his teammate Mark Webber who ended up 4th fastest in the session. Vettel ended up 7th after focussing on longer runs earlier than most.
It was the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso who took top honors this afternoon in Montreal. After several failed attempts at setting a fast time, Fernando finally got it right on a run on Supersofts to go fastest. He stayed there until the end of the session. Whether this means he and Ferrari are the ones to beat this weekend remains to be seen, but they are looking more competitive than they were in Monaco two weeks ago. His teammate was more under the radar, but was nevertheless in the mix.
The two Lotus cars once again are keeping their cards close to their chests. Romain Grosjean did show the car’s one lap pace by ending the session with the 3rd fastest time but he and teammate Raikkonen focussed mostly on long run pace, something they may have to lean on more than others. They still should be in the mix for the race on Sunday.
Mclaren showed a bit more consistency in terms of one lap pace. Sergio Perez enjoyed some time in the top-3 on the timesheets, but eventually ended the session in 12th, one place behind Raikkonen. Jenson Button encountered some downshift issues during practice, but still managed to set the 9th fastest lap of the session.
Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top-10 while Hulkenberg experienced some brake problems that curtailed his running time this afternoon.
Things are shaping up nicely for qualifying and the race. Rain is still expected all weekend so take all of this information with a grain of salt. However, if the race is dry, expect some great racing and a tight battle for the win.