Paul di Resta was the surprise name to emerge fastest from the first practice session ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
In a wet-but-drying session, the Scottish driver timed his last run on slick tyres to perfection to go quickest, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button. Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest.
Heavy rain fell ahead of the start of the track action, meaning the opening half an hour of the 90 minute session saw little running, apart from several laps by Mark Webber and Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez.
The track soon began to dry up however, as more cars took to the circuit. Things were still tricky for some though, with Jules Bianchi being forced to end his session early after running down an escape road and failing to re-join. Lewis Hamilton also had a moment, in which he was forced to take to the grass at the last chicane to avoid several cars that were heading for the pit lane.
The two Mercedes cars continued their strong form despite this. Nico Rosberg was fastest for a time, where he was joined at the top of the time sheets by Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel then went quickest, before he was dislodged from the top spot as every car took to the circuit on slick tyres. He ended the session ninth fastest, with the two Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton seven and sixteenth fastest respectively.
It was an eventful session for Williams, who are still searching for their first points of the year. Valtteri Bottas suffered an off track moment early on, whilst team mate Pastor Maldonado ended the session in the wall after losing the car in the damp conditions. Fortunately, the damage did not look too severe; with a frontal impact meaning the front wing looked to be the only thing that was damaged.
Despite yellow flags in the second sector courtesy of Maldonado’s crash, drivers were still able to improve elsewhere, meaning a flurry of fast times in the last few minutes of the session.
It was a quiet session for Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso not appearing towards the top of the times till late on, as he set the fourth fastest time. Team mate Felipe Massa was eleventh.
America’s Alexander Rossi made his first free practice appearance of the season. Driving Charles Pic’s car, he registered the twentieth fastest time, ahead of Maldonado and Bianchi.