FP1: Hamilton tops a Mercedes 1-2, again

Date published: June 7 2019 - Michelle Foster

Lewis Hamilton excused from French GP media duties.

Mercedes looked to be in a league of their own on a dirty Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as Lewis Hamilton edged Valtteri Bottas, who had a few reliability issues late in the session.

Formula 1 arrived at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with many predicting that this track could see Ferrari come to the fore with its long straights and few slow corners.

As the drivers ventured out for installation laps, Williams reserve driver Nicholas Latifi – in the car just for FP1 – had the weekend’s first close encounter with a groundhog at Turn 6.

Thankfully he avoided it and went on to post the first lap time of the session, a 1:21.6.

Latifi lowered the benchmark to a 1:18.347 on his eighth lap before he finally had some company as one-by-one the rest of the field slowly came out to play.

Carlos Sainz made a brief visit to the top spot but was beaten by Max Verstappen with a 1:15.026.

The Dutchman reported to Red Bull that the track was “insanely dirty” but that’s standard for FP1 in Montreal given that the circuit is made up of public roads.

Valtteri Bottas led the way at the 40-minute mark – the time when the drivers return their first set of tyres to Pirelli – with a 1:13.001 while Romain Grosjean produced the first spin, and subsequent yellow flag, when he lost the back end of his VF-19 at Turn 6.

Red Bull used the lull to do some set-up work on Verstappen’s RB15, which included putting a new floor on the car. Grosjean also had a change made to his car, not intentionally though.

His freshly heated soft tyres left the pits with a chunk of white paint from the newly refurbished pits on the front right. It only took a few corners to rub off.

Bottas upped his pace to a 1:12.914 but that wasn’t enough as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton came through with a 1:12.768.

While the Mercedes team-mates played at the front there were a spate of incidents as Sebastian Vettel got it wrong at Turn 1, Pierre Gasly “lost the rear completely on braking” and Antonio Giovinazzi smacked the wall.

His Alfa Romeo suffered a puncture, a broken wing and brought out the VSC as he stopped it partially on the track.

The final 20 minutes saw another moment for Vettel as he spun at the hairpin having locked up on the dusty part of the track.

The Mercedes team-mates claimed the 1-2 in FP1. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the team as Bottas’ session finished a few minutes early due to misfiring and a loss of fuel pressure.

Leclerc and the Red Bull of Verstappen were third and fourth, the only two drivers to get within a second of Hamilton’s P1 time, while Vettel was fifth.

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest ahead Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez. Kevin Magnussen completed the top ten in his stag-less Haas.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.767 31 laps
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.147s 25 laps
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.953s 24 laps
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.988s 26 laps
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1.138s 28 laps
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.178s 29 laps
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1.206s 34 laps
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.356s 31 laps
9 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1.405s 30 laps
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.435s 32 laps
11 Lando Norris McLaren 1.479s 33 laps
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.707s 30 laps
13 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1.803s 27 laps
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.815s 17 laps
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.878s 31 laps
16 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1.936s 36 laps
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point 2.045s 32 laps
18 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 2.576s 32 laps
19 George Russell Williams 3.222s 29 laps
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 3.432s 33 laps

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