Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set the first and second fastest times yesterday at the Circuit Île Notre-Dame/Gilles Villeneuve, with Hamilton fastest after the first day of running.
The morning saw both Mercedes W05 HYBRIDs finish behind the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, although the session saw more running than normal due to the threat of rain in the afternoon, but with FP2 remaining dry the Silver Arrows finished 1-2 once again.
“It felt pretty good out there today but we’ve still got improvements to make and there is more to come from the set-up and balance tomorrow,” said Hamilton. “This is quite a technical circuit which is all about the kerbs and apexes; you have to have a car that reacts well to the bumps. You’re always trying to find the limit so we’re not quite where we want to be yet.
“The Ferraris looked quite close today and the rest of the field seemed closer in general but hopefully not too close! It’s very hard to overtake here so pole position is important. Nico looked very quick today as well so I have my work cut out for sure. We’ll find out everyone’s pace in qualifying tomorrow afternoon so let’s wait and see what happens.”
“That was a great day and I felt very comfortable in my Silver Arrow,” said Wiesbaden native Rosberg. “This morning, we worked on some different things with the brakes which didn’t quite work out so we had to change that this afternoon. It was much better for the second session so I’m quite happy now with that.
“But I’m still a tenth off the quickest time so I’ll work hard with our engineers tonight to find that extra pace. It’s a unique track here and it’s very difficult to hit the kerbs just right. It was also great to see so many spectators here already today and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
Summing up the day for the team, Paddy Lowe, Mercedes’ Executive Director (Technical), said: “Today we focused on doing our homework for the race, looking particularly at tyre performance and fuel consumption. This is one of the most challenging circuits of the season in terms of fuel consumption and how we best use the 100 kg race fuel allowance.
“The threat of rain meant we ran more laps than usual in the morning session, including some high fuel work, before a more normal afternoon of short and long runs on low and high fuel. The car ran fine but we seemed to struggle a little with the option tyre, which did not deliver as much lap time as we had expected. This may open up some interesting strategies for qualifying.”