June 7th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - The Canadian Grand Prix weekend started off wet, with heavy rain before the first practice session. But the session itself saw no rain and the track dried throughout, ending up dry enough for slick tyres. When the spray settled, Force India's Paul Di Resta was quickest, followed by the McLaren of Jenson Button and Lotus of Romain Grosjean.
This weekend marks Force India's 100th race since entering Formula One in 2008. There have been no wins yet in the team's current guise, and just one podium and one pole position (both at Spa in 2009). But this season sees easily the strongest Force India car yet. The car has been quick at every circuit on the calendar, but some poor luck and a few mistakes have cost the team possible podiums. Force India's 100th race would be an ideal occasion to deliver on the promise of the early part of this season.
It's always difficult to tell what the pecking order really is on Friday, as the teams do not reveal their testing programmes and fuel loads. In the wet, it is even more difficult, as the drivers tend to drive within themselves a bit more, preferring to keep the car in one piece for and get as much running as possible. In a session that dries out, it becomes tougher still to work out the true order, as the track gets quicker literally by the lap. Being on the right tyres at the right time is crucial for delivering strong lap times, and the slightest mistake can turn a good lap into a very slow lap.
In the last 10 minutes of today's FP1 session, the track was dry enough for slicks, but there was still plenty of water off-line. Paul Di Resta put in a clean lap to go top of the times in the last couple of minutes and was only challenged by Jenson Button, who came within a tenth of a second of the Scot's time.
Earlier in the session, when the track was more consistently wet, the quick times were set by Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. The Red Bull and Mercedes cars are looking very quick, which is very much the norm for this season. Ferrari have not really shown their hand, which is not unusual on a Friday. We can expect to see more from Alonso and Massa tomorrow in third practice before qualifying.
Pastor Maldonado provided the drama in this first practice session, by taking the nose of his Williams off on the exit of the first chicane. Fortunately for Williams, Maldonado hit the wall front-on at fairly low speed, which means he probably did not do too much damage to his front suspension and the nose would have taken most of the impact, leaving the chassis undamaged. Earlier in the session, Jules Bianchi went straight on in the first part of the same chicane, and ended up stuck against the barrier after trying unsuccessfully to spin his Marussia around.
Full results from FP1:
|1||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:21.020||10|
|9||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:23.047||2.027||26|
|10||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:23.131||2.111||16|
|14||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:23.417||2.397||19|
|18||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:25.753||4.733||21|