What happened in wet first F1 Canadian GP practice

Lando Norris topped the rain-affected opening practice session and red-flagged the Canadian Grand Prix on a day that looks set to frustrate Formula 1 teams.

FP1 addresses

  • Norris beats Ferraris, but…
  • …Conditions are unrepresentative after rain
  • Multiple errors in difficult conditions

A sudden change in weather brought a hailstorm and heavy rain in the lead-up to FP1, which started on time but with the pit exit initially closed as standing water on the track continued to be cleared.

It took just over 20 minutes to open the pit exit, despite heavier rainfall. Lewis Hamilton (on medium tyres) and Valtteri Bottas (on full wet tyres, but not for long) were the first to venture out for Mercedes and Sauber respectively, before others gradually joined them.

Those who did this during wet testing, like Bottas, quickly realized that the interstitial interventions were sufficient. But there were no meaningful periods of time as the session passed the halfway mark, and was then red flagged after an incident for Zhou Guanyu.

The Sauber driver lost control of the car during the right turn at Turn 5 at the end of Sector 1 and collided with the wall on the outside, crawling to a stop shortly before Turn 6/7.

The five-minute red flag left just over 20 minutes for the teams to salvage something from a meaningless session, although more than half remained in the garage as the track dried quickly.

What had been a bit of a wet race went Ferrari's way as Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc by less than a tenth, but all 20 cars ended up returning to their garages as the session entered the final ten minutes, preparing for a few final provisional laps on the slick tyres.

With the track still visibly wet in places, the soft tire run was not immediately quicker, although Leclerc recovered from a wild moment on his first push lap to lower the bar to 1m25.306s, two seconds quicker than the number standard in interleague competitions – and set up a frenetic final session of the session for everyone as conditions quickly improve.

Ultimately, Norris took the lead with a time of 1 minute and 24.435 seconds, and Sainz also took the lead over Leclerc. Leclerc looked like he might respond with a faster final lap, but he did not improve.

Hamilton and Max Verstappen finished the session in the top five as they jumped up the order in the late stages, although Verstappen was one of several people to have what he called a “short off-road excursion”.

Others were more dramatic, with some finding particularly wet patches of grass to navigate, but remarkably no one else stuffed them into the wall – the only relative 'casualties' in the session being Jack Doohan and Williams driver Alex Albon. Who did not specify the laptop time.

Albon will at least get another chance in FP2, although with more rain it could take another hour if the run is incomplete.


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