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Lewis Hamilton went quickest in the First free practice session in Canada with a time of 1.15.564. The Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel closely followed in 2nd with a best lap of 1.15.682. Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber rounded off the top 5 in what was a truly eventful session.
Montreal played host to the 7th round of the Formula One championship, with showers anticipated on Friday. The Canadian Grand Prix always dishes out one of the most electrifying races of the season. History could be made this race weekend if we witness a seventh different race winner from as many races. Aiming to stop that from happening are any one among McLaren's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, and Williams' Pastor Maldonado.
Meanwhile McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Lotus teammates Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, and the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher would all love to stop the six previous victors this season. In effect this would aid their efforts to throw their names in the hat in the race for what is an exceptionally open Drivers' Championship. As with the previous race in Monaco, Pirelli have made available the soft compound to be used in conjunction with the super-soft compound tyres for the weekend.
Off the track, an FIA technical directive stated that the controversial holes in the floor of the Red Bull cars do not comply with the governing body's interpretation of the regulations. The team naturally played down the significance of the holes, with their advantage believed to be measured in hundredths of a second. However, given the proximity of the grid this season, it could have culminated with Red Bull having an unmerited edge over the other teams.
As the session began, the entire field was out to do an installation lap and dive back into the pits. This session could see only the soft tyres being used, with grip levels improving upon the cars running on track. The Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean traded fastest laps to set the times tumbling. Grosjean drove a series of quick laps to be ahead of his teammate.
Nico Rosberg, who has scored more points than any driver over the past four races, arrived in Canada as the driver on top form. He showed the pace of the Mercedes to go quickest with a 1:16.837 lap. His teammate Michael Schumacher was pushing hard early on and went 4th quickest with a 1.16.947 lap.
Lewis Hamilton was on the pace right away and went fastest on track with a 1.16.080 lap. Enroute to his quick lap Hamilton set the fastest 1st and 2nd sectors, with his McLaren running a new rear wing package. With less than an hour left the two Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso went 3rd and 6th fastest. The Ferrari team has gained close to a second of time on their rivals since the first race of the season, but pace over a single Qualifying lap is the Achilles heel for the team. The team was seen evaluating different exhaust layouts on its cars.
The Williams of Pastor Maldonado went 8th fastest and featured a new rear wing package. The winner in Monaco, Mark Webber was out on track and continued where he left off last weekend to go 3rd fastest with a 1.16.347s lap. Sebastian Vettel meanwhile bettered his lap time to be 2nd fastest with a 1.16.143.
With 40 minutes remaining the session was red flagged provisionally, as the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen ran wide at turn 8 and crashed heavily into the barriers. The Finn was fortunately unscathed in the incident and was whisked away to the paddock. Just before the incident another Finn, Raikkonen was the first to sample the super-soft compound this weekend.
As the session restarted Raikkonen, Grosjean and Karthikeyan were out on the super-soft compound. Hamilton set a blistering lap of 1.15.564, which was faster than the FP1 time last season here. Alonso pulled out a stunning lap of 1.15.842 to secure 3rd fastest for Ferrari. Jenson Button, enduring a dip in form, was in the garage with his team tinkering with his gearbox and rear wing. He could only complete 12 laps in the entire session. The McLaren team reported an oil leak on Button's car, which saw the Briton end 10th in the session. Hamilton ended the session fastest ahead of the Red Bull of Vettel.
1) Hamilton 1.15.564
2) Vettel 1.15.682
3) Rosberg 1.15.782
4) Alonso 1.15.842
5) Webber 1.15.897
- 10/06/2012 00:19 - Vettel powers to Pole at Canadian GP, Hamilton & Alonso lead chasing pack
- 09/06/2012 20:17 - Vettel dominates FP3 in Canada, Alonso and Hamilton round off top 3
- 09/06/2012 01:11 - Hamilton dominates FP2 in Canada, Ferrari exhibits strong pace