Hamilton sets the pace ahead of Vettel in Canada


Lewis Hamilton sets the pace in the opening session at the Canadian Grand Prix Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to the top spot for Free Practice 1 at the Canadian Grand Prix, with a time of 1:13.809.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team driver had a successful run at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, once he was up to pace. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas posted a time under 1 minute 15 seconds, Hamilton improved but not enough to stay ahead. Bottas was also improving, as he set a time of 1:14.280, from here it was a leap frog effect between the two Mercedes drivers. Hamilton came out on top as he became the first driver to break the 1 minute 13 seconds barrier.

The session marked the fourth time this season that Hamilton topped the timesheets. Behind the Briton was the first Scuderia Ferrari of Vettel who posted a time of 1:14.007, nearly two tenths behind the pace set by Hamilton. Vettel did have his moment on the top but it didn’t last long with the improvements made by Hamilton. At one point in the session, Vettel was only 0.046 seconds behind Hamilton, but as the German closed in on Hamilton, he set a time of 1:13.809 to increase his lead.

Vettel’s time split the two Mercedes drivers, with Bottas only 0.039 seconds behind. Kimi Raikkonen had a quiet session, with him finishing in fourth behind Bottas, earlier in the session the Finn had a moment where he lost control of the rear of his car which saw him snap sideways. Luckily enough he managed to keep out of the barriers but had to spin himself to correct his direction. This was a moment also replicated by Vettel, after he spun causing a brief yellow flag.

Sergio Perez had a great session as he finished ahead of his Sahara Force India F1 team-mate in fifth, he was the first driver to set a timed lap. His first lap time, a 1:17.584, the Mexican finished the session with a time of 1:14.578, behind him was Esteban Ocon who put in another good session for the Silverstone-based outfit. Things are looking good for the team this weekend, after the disappointment of failing to score any points at the Monaco Grand Prix, their first time this season.

Max Verstappen put in a time of 1:14.861 to finish seventh for Red Bull Racing, 1.052 seconds off the pace, but ahead of the first Williams Martini Racing of Felipe Massa who split the Red Bull duo. Massa was one of the few drivers during this session who didn’t make an error and came home in eighth for Williams. Daniel Ricciardo finished in ninth, with a time of 1:15.441, he was as low as fourteenth in this session as he struggled with the RB13.

Christian Horner later confirmed that the Australian experience an electric problem, meaning a change of battery from the team. Once the battery was changed, Ricciardo was able to improve to finish just within the top ten but it was too late to be in the fight at the top. Daniil Kvyat rounded off the top ten for Scuderia Toro Rosso with a time of 1:15.658, finishing ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne for McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.

Kevin Magnussen finished in twelfth place for Haas F1 Team, ahead of the second Williams of Lance Stroll. Stroll experienced some problems with the FW40 during the session, with the Canadian telling Williams, “I don’t have any stability mid corner”. Stroll split the two Haas drivers, with Romain Grosjean finishing behind with a time of 1:16.345, leading to a relatively good session for the American-led team.

For Nico Hulkenberg, it was quite a tricky session after causing a brief yellow flag, with him spinning the RS17 at Turn 6. The Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver carried too much speed in to the chicane, causing the rear to step out. This was a location where a few drivers had a moment, including Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Ocon and finally Ericsson. It is thought that the low temperatures currently at the track are effecting the tyres, along with the slippery track.

In his first session since returning back to the wheel of the MCL32, Fernando Alonso finished the session early after a loss of hydraulic pressure which led to the Spaniard stopping out on track. He stopped at Turn 10 after being told by his engineers to stop and switch off the car, before this stoppage Alonso was thirteenth but later dropped down to sixteenth with drivers improving around him. Marcus Ericsson finished the session in seventeenth, ahead of the Renault of Jolyon Palmer.

Like his team-mate, Palmer experienced some issues with the RS17, as he reported of electrical problems that was hindering his performance out on track. Palmer split the two Sauber F1 Team drivers, as Pascal Wehrlein finished behind with a time of 1:17.606, the last timed driving for the session. As after only five minutes of the session, Carlos Sainz Jr pulled off the track after smoke appeared from the rear of his STR12, it was later confirmed to be an engine failure. The Spaniard failed to set a time for this session, meaning he finished in twentieth.

2017 Canadian Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Results

PosNo.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:13.80936
25Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:14.007+0.198s28
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:14.046+0.237s21
47Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:14.230+0.421s28
511Sergio PerezSahara Force India F1 Team1:14.578+0.769s34
631Esteban OconSahara Force India F1 Team1:14.785+0.976s35
733Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:14.861+1.052s19
819Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing1:15.106+1.297s31
93Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:15.441+1.632s23
1026Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso1:15.658+1.849s26
112Stoffel VandorneMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:15.943+2.134s29
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 Team1:16.233+2.424s25
1318Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:16.313+2.504s36
148Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:16.345+2.536s18
1527Nicolas HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One Team01:16.473+2.664s27
1614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team01:16.521+2.712s13
179Marcus EricssonSauber F1 Team01:16.805+2.996s24
1830Jolyon PalmerRenault Sport Formula One Team01:17.004+3.195s26
1994Pascal WehrleinSauber F1 Team01:17.606+3.797s28
2055Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso-1