Lewis Hamilton topped an abrasive First Practice session in Montreal, ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton's time of a 1:13.809 bettered Vettel's best efforts by nearly two-tenths, with Bottas breathing down the German's neck. Kimi Raikkonen was in reaching distance of the top three, whilst Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon helped Force India beat both of the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
On a green and dirty track, drivers took a while to find grip around the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, with several spins and excursions seen throughout the session.
Just four minutes in, Carlos Sainz' morning came to an abrupt end, his Toro Rosso smoking due to an engine failure coming out of the hairpin. The frustrated Spaniard's problems continue.
Despite holding first and third at the half-hour mark, both Ferraris struggled with grip early on. Raikkonen pirouetted on the exit of Turn 7 whilst getting on the power, whilst Vettel saw his rear wheels overtake his front ones going into Turn 2.
They weren't the only ones searching for purchase on the dirty track, Hamilton slithered wide at Turn 6 and Nico Hulkenberg bypassed the last chicane. The German also copied Raikkonen's off at Turn 7.
Excursions aside, Raikkonen topped the timing sheets early on, less than a tenth quicker than Vettel, with the two Mercedes cars of Hamilton and Bottas two and five-tenths adrift respectively.
The gap between the top two teams and the rest of the field was immediately apparent, Ricciardo one-and-a-half seconds off the ultimate pace early on.
Mercedes weren't to play second fiddle for long, both Hamilton and Bottas improved their times to oust Ferrari from the top on the supersoft tyres, whereas the Ferraris ran the softer ultrasofts.
As we ventured into the second half of the session, Mercedes utilised the ultrasoft compound for the first time in the weekend and immediately asserted their pace, proving to be eight-tenths faster than both the Ferraris, Bottas leading Hamilton.
On his return from his Indy 500 excursion a fortnight ago, Fernando Alonso put more pressure on Honda, threatening to leave the team unless they return to their old, winning ways. He spent most of the morning working on aero development, failing to set a time until the latter stages of the session. However, his session ended moments later in the runoff area at the hairpin, dogged by more gremlins, falling hydraulic pressure the problem this time.
His former teammate continued to pick up the pace, Hamilton becoming the first man to enter the 1 minute 13 bracket as several drivers still scrabbled for grip.
That time was good enough to see Hamilton top a First Practice session for the fourth time this season, as Mercedes look to bounce back from their troublesome Monaco weekend.
|5||Sergio PEREZ||Force India||1:14.578||+0.769||34|
|6||Esteban OCON||Force India||1:14.785||+0.976||35|
|7||Max VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull||1:14.861||+1.052||19|
|9||Daniel RICCIARDO||Red Bull||1:15.441||+1.632||23|
|10||Daniil KVYAT||Toro Rosso||1:15.658||+1.849||26|
|20||Carlos SAINZ||Toro Rosso||No Time||-||1|