Hamilton tops opening practice in Canada

by Paul Hensby

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the first practice session for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix as Mercedes power locked out the top four places.

The reigning World Champion set a best time of 1m16.212s to lead Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.415s, and even survived a quick spin at the hairpin to set the pace.

Romain Grosjean was third quickest in the Mercedes-powered Lotus, but was 1.509s adrift of Hamilton’s pace, while Nico Hulkenberg placed his similarly-powered Sahara Force India into fourth, narrowly beating the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

Felipe Massa was sixth for Williams Martini Racing ahead of Daniil Kvyat in the leading Infiniti Red Bull Racing machine, while the second Lotus of Pastor Maldonado was eighth, with the Venezuelan being the busiest driver during the session, running 41 laps.

Fernando Alonso was ninth quickest for McLaren-Honda, with teenager Max Verstappen completing the top ten for Scuderia Toro Rosso on his first time at the Montreal circuit.

Finnish drivers Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen were eleventh and twelfth respectively for their Williams and Ferrari teams, ahead of Sergio Perez of Force India and 2014 Canadian Grand Prix race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.

Jenson Button spent most of the first half hour in the pits after he was unable to change out of second gear on his installation lap, but was able to get out on track to run 25 laps and finish fifteenth, ahead of Felipe Nasr in the leading Sauber.

Carlos Sainz Jr was seventeenth for Toro Rosso, completing the least amount of laps of any driver during the session with just 23 circuits, with the Spaniard a tenth of a second clear of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.

Roberto Merhi got the better of Will Stevens in the inter-team battle at the Manor F1 Team, with the Spanish driver ending the session just 0.008s faster than the Briton.

Montreal Free Practice 1 Times

144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m16.212s
26Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m16.627s
38Romain GrosjeanFRALotus-Mercedes1m17.721s
427Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes1m17.871s
55Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m17.905s
619Felipe MassaBRZWilliams-Mercedes1m17.985s
726Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull-Renault1m18.021s
813Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus-Mercedes1m18.026s
914Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren-Honda1m18.128s
1033Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso-Renault1m18.257s
1177Valtteri BottasFINWilliams-Mercedes1m18.325s
127Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m18.439s
1311Sergio PerezMEXForce India-Mercedes1m18.503s
143Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull-Renault1m18.775s
1522Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Honda1m18.786s
1612Felipe NasrBRZSauber-Ferrari1m18.948s
1755Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso-Renault1m19.065s
189Marcus EricssonSWESauber-Ferrari1m19.165s
1998Roberto MerhiESPManor-Ferrari1m20.616s
2028Will StevensGBRManor-Ferrari1m20.624s

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