As the Formula 1 circus makes for a short stint to North America, it was Mercedes that made the first step up.
With engine power at a premium, Nico Rosberg took the top spot in first practice. Indeed, it was a busy session for the marque team, with Rosberg and teammate Michael Schumacher completing 62 laps between them.
Rosberg notched a best lap of 1:15.591 late in the session, giving the Mercedes man a half-second advantage over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Schumacher finished the session 3rd on the timesheets, albeit 0.958 of-a-second shy of the fastest pace.
Felipe Massa made it two Ferrari’s in the top four, with the McLaren Mercedes pairing of Jenson Button (5th) and Lewis Hamilton (6th) just shy of the Brazilian. Hamilton had a stuttered session thanks to a data transfer problem in his MP4-26.
Both Ferrari and McLaren brought minor upgrades to Montreal, mainly floor and diffuser tweaks; however whether it brings them closer to the Red Bull’s on “regular” circuits remains to be seen.
Williams arrived in Canada with a new floor – it helped Rubens Barrichello to 7th in the session, although Pastor Maldonado could not capitalise in a similar fashion, he ended the morning in 17th.
Nick Heidfeld recorded the 9th best time by the chequered flag. The Renault veteran found himself sandwiched by a pair of Force India’s, led by Scotland’s Paul di Resta. Sitting in for Adrian Sutil was Nico Hulkenberg – the German took 10th, some 1.958 seconds down on Rosberg.
Daniel Ricciardo was the busiest man on circuit, completing 35 laps in his Toro Rosso, whereas in his sister Red Bull team Sebastian Vettel turned the fewest laps in RB7.
The reigning champion was to be running minor diffuser updates today; however brake issues kept Vettel in the garage until the midway point. Unfortunately, a crash for the German ended his practice after only eight laps, with Vettel becoming a new addition to the “Wall of Champions.”
Sergio Perez returned to his Sauber seat after missing the Monaco Grand Prix. The Mexican recorded 27 laps in his Ferrari-powered C30, taking 11th some two seconds off the pace. Hispania arrived in Montreal with a new blown exhaust, giving the upgrade appeared to give the Hispania some small improvement at the rear of the pack.
Pirelli supplied an set extra of medium compound tyres in the session, as the Italian company prepare for the European Grand Prix in Valencia in two weeks.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.591s 32 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.139s + 0.548 27 3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m16.549s + 0.958 30 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m16.658s + 1.067 26 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.676s + 1.085 20 6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.842s + 1.251 19 7. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m16.990s + 1.399 28 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m17.294s + 1.703 26 9. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m17.445s + 1.854 28 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.549s + 1.958 20 11. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.662s + 2.071 27 12. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m17.820s + 2.229 30 13. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.458s + 2.867 31 14. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m18.506s + 2.915 15 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.648s + 3.057 35 16. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m18.852s + 3.261 8 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m18.932s + 3.341 20 18. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m19.274s + 3.683 29 19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m19.422s + 3.831 30 20. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m19.577s + 3.986 26 21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m19.838s + 4.247 31 22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m19.960s + 4.369 23 23. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m20.520s + 4.929 21 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m20.839s + 5.248 27