Formula 1

Hamilton starts Canada GP weekend fastest in Practice 1

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Lewis Hamilton - Formula 1 - 2019 Canadian GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in Friday’s Free Practice 1 session for Formula 1‘s Canadian Grand Prix, followed by his Mercedes AMG Motorsport team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton’s time of a 1:12.767 on medium tyres was nearly two-tenths of a second quicker than Bottas on softs, while Scuderia Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc rounded out the top three 0.9 seconds behind Hamilton.

The Mercedes duo were in control of the whole session, Hamilton and Bottas setting identical times on their first fast run with a 1:13.495.

Bottas soon unsettled that equilibrium by going two-tenths faster on his next lap, swiftly followed and eclipsed by Hamilton, as the dusty Circuit de Gilles-Villenueve track started to clear up.

The dirty tarmac caused plenty of problems for all the drivers – particularly at Turns 8 and 9, Williams Racing reserve Nicholas Latifi, Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen and Antonio Giovinazzi all struggling on corner exit.

While Latifi quantity of errors exceeded everyone else, the severity of Giovinazzi’s put a premature end to his morning.

The Alfa Romeo Racing driver ventured off-line in the middle of Turn 8 and bounced over the high yellow kerb on the inside of 9, spinning the right rear corner of his car into the wall and triggering a Virtual Safety Car period with around two-thirds of the hour-and-a-half session gone.

Sebastian Vettel also suffered a few hundred metres beyond Turn 9 at the Turn 10 hairpin, spinning after locking up his Ferrari under braking.

Harder tyre runs threatened to bring the session to a quiet close, but Bottas was forced to crawl back to the pits in the final few moments with a fuel pressure problem; it put a dampener on an otherwise flawless morning for Mercedes and its new power unit.

Verstappen and Vettel perched just outside the top three, the latter outside of Hamilton’s time by over a second in a tricky session.

Kimi Räikkönen showed great promise for Alfa Romeo in sixth, just 0.040s behind the second Ferrari and ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in seventh for the McLaren F1 Team.

2014 Canadian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo was the fastest Renault F1 Team car in eighth edging a close fight at the rear of the top 10 with Sergio Pérez and Kevin Magnussen for the Racing Point F1 Team and the Haas F1 Team respectively.

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