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Canadian GP FP1: Norris tops rain hit session

Canadian GP FP1: Norris tops rain hit session

Canadian GP FP1: Norris tops rain hit session

Lando Norris topped the first practice session for the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix, a session that was cut short due to rain.

The rain hit the track before FP1 and stopped before the start, but there was so much standing water that the stewards decided to start the session, but kept the pitlane exit closed until the marshals cleared the standing water and the Safety Car driver gave the track his approval.

The session started just before the halfway mark as the drivers tried to sample the conditions in Full Wet and Intermediate tyres, while the final eight minutes saw the track dry up and Soft made their debut.

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With rain also forecasted for FP2, it was useful for the drivers to do some running on the Inters but in the end, the times were as unrepresentative as they could be.

Lando Norris topped the session followed by Carlos Sainz and then Charles Leclerc, while Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen completed the top five.

Buildup towards FP1

We’re back in Canada for the 52nd Canadian Grand Prix, the 42nd at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – eight were hosted by Mosport Park and two by Mont-Tremblant.

The race in Montreal this year comes in a very interesting moment of the 2024 Formula 1 season, as Red Bull are continuously looking over their shoulders as Ferrari and McLaren have started to give them a serious run for their money.

Verstappen lost out to Norris in Miami, barely won in Imola and was outright beaten by Leclerc in Monaco, so will this weekend see the reigning F1 Champion and his team strike back?

Sergio Perez has a two-year contract extension in his pocket as he gears up for the Canadian GP, so will he reward Red Bull’s faith with a strong performance unlike his woeful Monaco GP?

Esteban Ocon, on the other hand, has been shown the door at Alpine, so will he behave around his teammate going forward to try and convince other teams of his worth?

Ocon will sit out FP1 with Alpine’s reserve Jack Doohan replacing him in the car,

Tyre-wise, Pirelli have brought their softer compounds for the third race in a row: C3 (Hard), C4 (Medium), and C5 (Soft).

Also finally worth noting, the track was resurfaced for this race, which will make matters more interesting as the drivers get used to the new levels of grip.

FP1 Session Highlights

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While the sun was out as drivers made their way into the track earlier, the weather changed drastically with heavy rain hitting the track, but it stopped just ahead of FP1.

The session started on time, but the pitlane exit was kept closed and no cars were allowed out on track as the Safety car was driving around checking the conditions and work was underway clearing the standing water.

Track temperature was 28 degrees Celsius at the start with air temperature 18 degrees.

So with no action, let’s have a look at car upgrades. Red Bull brought a revised rear wing and a larger front brake cooling exit duct to cope with the braking requirements of Montreal.

Mercedes also have larger front brake ducts while also having a revised front suspension with realigned track rod and lower wishbone forward leg.

Williams debuted a shorter steering arm while the rear of the car will have a new rear pull-rod that provides a wider range of ride height adjustment while also having a new lower-weight construction.

VCARB have revised front and rear wings, while Aston Martin have a revised beam wing, as Sauber have new rear and beam wings. Haas have a new front wing.

The pitlane exit was opened with a little over 35 minutes remaining from the session, after the standing water was pumped out, and a final exploratory run from the Safety Car.

Hamilton was the first to get out on track, with Intermediate tyres bolted on his W15, and he was received by massive applause and cheers from the patient fans who were happy to finally see an F1 car on track.

Soon Valtteri Bottas in the Sauber, followed his former teammate out on track, he was on full wet tyres. He soon reports that Inters can are useable and pits.

Hamilton soon reported: “Grip is very low.” He almost lost it going into Turn 2.

Soon Norris joins on full wets as well as Zhou Guanyu, Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Oscar Piastri, Doohan, Logan Sargeant, and Alex Albon – all on wets. Verstappen joined on Intermediates.

Piastri reported that the grip was ok and that it seemed the track will dry very quickly.

With 25 minutes remaining, Zhou brought out the Red Flag. Having switched to Inters, he hit the wall in the long Turn 5 and parked his car just before Turn 6.

The stricken Sauber was cleared quite quickly from the track and the session was restarted with 23 minutes remaining, and the drivers were soon out trying to make the best out of the situation.

The track soon started to dry, and the times continued to drop as several drivers took turn occupying the top spot of the timing screens.

15 minutes from the end and there was no sign yet of the slick tyres. Only Intermediates.

Sainz asks his team: “Do we expect rain for FP2?” and the answer is: “Yes we do.” he then boxes to save his Inter tyre to sample it in FP2 and compare grip levels.

With almost eight minutes remaining, the DRS was enabled, but the drivers remained in the garages as the sun shone brighter.

But Leclerc soon hits the track with a set of new Soft tyres bolted to his SF-24. Verstappen and Norris followed also on Softs.

In the dying moments of the session, several drivers, namely: Daniel Ricciardi, Verstappen, Bottas, Lance Stroll, and Sargeant got caught up in the wet braking zone of Turn 8, and went on to have off road excursions, but none of them crashed.

How they finished

Norris posted a 1:24.435 to go fastest ahead, 0.328s ahead of Leclerc in second and 0.871s faster than Sainz in third.

Hamilton was fourth in the Mercedes, 1.535s off the pace and half a second ahead of Verstappen, the Dutchman fifth fastest.

Piastri was sixth fastest, 2.319s slower than his teammate and 0.830s ahead of Pierre Gasly who was seventh in the Alpine.

Bottas was eighth fastest, ahead of Perez in ninth and George Russell in tenth.

Doohan was unlucky and could not benefit from his FP1 opportunity. He was 19th fastest after running only three laps.

Canadian GP FP1 Classification

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