Lewis Hamilton set the quickest time of the first practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix as running got underway at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Felipe Massa’s session ended early, however, after the Brazilian crashed heavily at the first corner, destroying the rear end of his Williams car.
Massa’s crash came just before the half hour mark in the session, when on the approach to Turn One the back end of his car snapped out under braking and he spun and slid backwards into the barriers, sustaining a heavy impact on the rear right corner of his car. “I think I had a problem, I closed the DRS and lost the rear completely,” he told the Williams pit wall.
The session was red flagged for a period and when running got underway again it was Hamilton was set the pace. The defending champion’s best time of 1:14.755 was set on the supersoft Pirelli tyre, while team-mate Nico Rosberg took second place with a time of 1:15.086 set on the purple-banded ultrasoft tyre.
Third in the session was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The four-time champion set his best time on the supersoft tyre to finish 0.157 behind Rosberg.
Fourth place went to Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver was 0.8s adrift of Hamilton’s time but his best time was set on the soft tyre, a step up the Pirelli’s from the Mercedes driver’s supersoft time. The Dutch teenager’s time was also good enough to put him seven hundredths of a second ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen who finished the session in fifth place.
With Massa out of the running, all of Williams’ work was left to Valtteri Bottas and the Finn logged 30 laps, the most of the session on his way to sixth place, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and the second Force India of Sergio Perez.
Tenth place in the session went to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who completed 18 laps on his way to a best time of 1:16.663. It was a less profitable session for his team-mate Jenson Button, however.
The Briton completed just eight laps and then, when he was sent back out again late in the session, he emerged from the McLaren garage with smoke pouring from the rear of his car. The McLaren pitwall immediately informed him to return to the garage, though his engineer informed him that “Honda know what the problem is”.
2016 Canadian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:14.755
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.086
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:15.243
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:15.553
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.618
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:16.301
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:16.464
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:16.543
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:16.577
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:16.663
11 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:16.734
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:16.788
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:17.008
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1:17.065
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:17.310
16 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:17.319
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:17.855
18 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:18.103
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:18.129
20 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:18.409
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:18.453
22 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:18.583