Canadian Grand Prix Practice – Ferrari

Canadian GP – An interrupted session

Montreal, 10 June – The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the second session of free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix, which has just finished at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. At the end of an unpredictable session, punctuated by three incidents – for Adrian Sutil’s Force India, Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and Jerome D’Ambrosio’s Virgin – the Spaniard’s 150° Italia topped the times (1.15.107), ahead of the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel (1.15.476) and the other Ferrari of Felipe Massa (1.15.601). The work was particularly intense for the team, based around the comparison of different aerodynamic configurations and the different compounds offered by Pirelli today. Due to the work on the softs and on the experimental medium compound, the string of red flags stopped the team from trying the Super Soft as planned.

The protagonists of this seventh round of the Formula 1 world championship will return to the track tomorrow morning at 10am local time for the third and final session of free practice.

Canadian GP – An encouraging start

Montreal, 10 June – How often has it been written that it is hard to analyse the meaning of Friday free practice times given the uncertainties of other teams’ fuel loads and work programmes? Nevertheless, it is always good to see your name at the top of the time sheet and this afternoon, Fernando Alonso was quickest and adding to this encouraging start to the Canadian weekend, Felipe Massa took the other 150º Italia to third place. Splitting the two Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers was Sebastian Vettel. However, it was not a straightforward day for the reigning world champion, as he badly damaged his Red Bull in the morning, when he crashed into the wall at the final corner. The spot is known as the “Champions Wall” because over the years, it’s noticeable that many world champions have indeed crashed at this point!

The accident brought out the Red Flag, which was also required in the afternoon, when Kamui Kobayashi had a crash in the Sauber, fortunately without sustaining any injury. The Swiss Ferrari-powered team had other problems to contend with: having undergone several medical checks after his frightening accident in Monaco a fortnight ago and declared fit to race, Sergio Perez will take no further part in the Canadian Grand Prix. The Mexican drove his Sauber in FP1 but felt unwell after the session. He was replaced in FP2 by Pedro de la Rosa who is “on loan” to the Swiss team from McLaren. Fourth and fifth fastest were the two McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, while Paul di Resta was a solid sixth in the Force India.

This weekend sees the first appearance of the F1 cars in low downforce configuration to deal with the high speed sections of this extremely tricky track, where cars can hit speeds of over 320 km/h at some points. Combine that with the fact that, on Sunday, for the first time this year, cars can use the DRS in two places rather than the usual one and a feat of overtaking could be on the cards. Before that, the drivers have one more free practice session tomorrow morning, followed by qualifying. The biggest uncertainty is the weather, because today’s warm and sunny conditions could well be replaced by showers at some point tomorrow. If they arrive in time for qualifying, anything could happen and, given that changes to set-up are very restricted by the regulations, some gambling will be involved in choosing the best one to adopt not just for qualifying, but also for Sunday’s race.