Hamilton draws first blood in Canadian GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton made a perfect start to his Canadian Grand Prix race weekend by topping the timesheets in this morning’s first free practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The defending Formula 1 world champion posted a fastest lap time of 1:16.212 to beat Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg by 0.415 seconds at the end of the 90-minute session.

With engine power being key around the semi-permanent street circuit, the teams using Mercedes engines quickly made their pace clear, filling six of the top ten positions.

Hamilton, a three-time winner in Montreal, did not have a perfect first practice though as he suffered a spin at the hairpin in the final 30 minutes of the session. However, Rosberg was unable to get close to the Briton after he was forced to bail on his quickest flying lap.

Romain Grosjean emerged as the surprise package of the session by finishing in third place for Lotus, albeit 1.5 seconds down on Hamilton’s fastest time. Nico Hulkenberg put in a solid display for Force India to rank fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams’ Felipe Massa.

Daniil Kvyat finished as the only Renault-powered driver inside the top ten, coming seventh for Red Bull as the British team’s hopes of a third straight win in Montreal already fade. Pastor Maldonado completed more laps than any other driver en route to P8, whilst Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen finished ninth and tenth respectively.

Hamilton was not the only driver to spin his car on the slippery circuit, as Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr also lost control momentarily. Sainz’s session came to an early end after he stopped at the end of the pit lane with ten minutes remaining.

Ferrari may have made some progress with its engine, but for the time being, it appears that Mercedes has lost none of its advantage since the race in Monaco.

Be sure to join us for FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2pm ET on Friday. For full details on our broadcasting of the Canadian Grand Prix, click here.