Paul di Resta has topped the timesheets in the first free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Force India driver, in the team’s 100th Grand Prix start, emerged fastest right at the death of the 90-minute session, when the track was at its driest. Cars scrambled back onto the track after an incident by Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, who lost his nose at Turn 4.
Di Resta clocked in at 1:21.020, substantially off the quickest lap set in 2012 by Lewis Hamilton at 1:15.564.
With the times and positions changing constantly at the end, the final top five wasn’t exactly reflective of who was up top during the majority of the session. Jenson Button was second ahead of Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel also had long stints atop the timesheets, but fell to seventh and ninth when all was said and done. Hamilton was just 16th, a spot behind Esteban Gutierrez who had been a top performer for most of the session in his Sauber.
Jules Bianchi joined Maldonado in the “FP1 incident club,” although the Marussia driver had only a minor off at Turn 3 and rejoined without much drama. In Charles Pic’s Caterham chassis, American Alexander Rossi ended 20th after 20 laps ahead of both Maldonado and Bianchi.
Pirelli’s new, uncolored medium compounds made their debut late in the session in the hands of Alonso, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. The wet conditions that dominated most of the session, though, made it difficult to get too much reading and data into their wear.
The other factor of note was how bumpy the backstraight was, going into the final chicane. Several cars appeared to be “porpoising” where they were riding up and down the track surface quite noticeably.
See free practice two at 2 p.m. ET live on NBC Sports Network and streamed online on NBC Sports Live Extra.