Canadian GP: Lando Norris tops FP1 as wet Montreal weather makes its mark

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren's Lando Norris on the wet track at the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris.

McLaren’s Lando Norris set the pace in an eventful FP1 session at the Canadian Grand Prix around a drying Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Norris mastered the late flurry of action on the soft tyres, topping FP1 from the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Lando Norris P1 after barmy weather hits Canadian GP

Changeable weather is forecast across the race weekend, which rang true as hailstones pelted the paddock before clearing up in time for the session start.

However, with efforts underway to clear the plentiful supply of standing water on the track, Race Control confirmed that FP1 would start on time, but the pit lane would remain closed, keeping the drivers in their garages.

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A quarter of FP1 gone and it had been just the Safety Car and Medical Car providing some on-track action, as Race Control gave the call that the pit lane would open in eight minutes… just as the rain began to fall again. At this stage, it was nowhere near as heavy as what passed through ahead of the session.

And it was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time winner of the Canadian Grand Prix, who was first to tiptoe around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on a set of green-walled intermediate tyres, waving to the crowd as he did it and reporting back on the radio that “grip is very low”.

Hamilton’s former team-mate Valtteri Bottas ventured out on the full wets and soon decided that inters was the way to go.

As the session entered its second half, Alpine’s Jack Doohan finally headed out to begin his fifth FP1 session with the team, the Aussie seen as a leading contender to replace the departing Esteban Ocon for F1 2025.

But, just as the track drying was ramping up, out came the red flags to halt the session as Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu came to a stop, the Chinese racer suffering a snap through Turn 5 and whacking the wall on his left.

A quick removal of that stricken Sauber allowed FP1 to restart with 23 minutes still on the clock, Zhou’s team-mate Bottas possessing the fastest time so far of a 1:33.215, but there was a lot of time and grip still to find.

Sainz hit the front with a 1:27.485, his Ferrari team-mate Leclerc slotting into P2 0.075s behind, as the drivers prepared for one final run. Would anyone brave it on a set of slick tyres with blue skies now overhead?

For Leclerc, the answer was yes as he bolted on the soft tyres, sparking a trend as the likes of Sainz and Red Bull’s Verstappen followed.

And when that flurry of push laps was complete to bring the session to a close, it was Norris atop the timings on a 1:24.435, Sainz and Leclerc completing the top three.

FP1 timings

1 Lando NORRIS McLaren 1:24.435
2 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.328
3 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.871
4 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +1.535
5 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +2.067
6 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +2.319
7 Pierre GASLY Alpine +3.149
8 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber +3.235
9 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +3.623
10 George RUSSELL Mercedes +4.106
11 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +4.147
12 Yuki TSUNODA RB +4.288
13 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +4.617
14 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +8.391
15 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +8.976
16 Logan SARGEANT Williams +12.151
17 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +16.095
18 Guanyu ZHOU Kick Sauber
19 Jack DOOHAN Alpine
20 Alexander ALBON Williams

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