Jun.10 (Toro Rosso) It is appropriate that a circuit named after one of the most exciting Formula 1 drivers of all time should always provide plenty of interesting action, right from the start of free practice. The Gilles Villeneuve circuit never disappoints in that respect, especially as it’s the first time this season that we have seen cars running in low downforce configuration to get good top speed down the straights. Cars can hit 325 km/h here in Montreal and in fact, Daniel Ricciardo who replaced Sébastien Buemi for the morning session said this was the fastest he had ever travelled in a racing car.
Our Australian driver had a successful morning, which at this track often means just keeping the car out of the wall. That’s not the easiest task and even reigning world champion and series leader Sebastian Vettel got it wrong this morning, damaging his Red Bull when he crashed at the final corner. It is known as the Champions Wall, because it’s noticeable that, over the years, many world champions have indeed gone off at this spot. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that champions try that little bit harder!
Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi also crashed in the afternoon and it’s been a difficult day overall for the Swiss team. Unfortunately, after taking part in this morning’s session, Sergio Perez felt unwell. Drivers new to this circuit have been known to feel dizzy because of the high speeds at which they rush through the barriers that are very close to the track. However, the team issued a statement saying that in case this had anything to do with the Mexican’s heavy crash in Monaco a fortnight ago, they were pulling him out of this meeting. The McLaren team generously loaned Sauber their reserve driver, Pedro de la Rosa for the rest of the weekend. He will soon feel at home, as he used to race for them last year.
Sébastien and Jaime ended the day in 13th and 14th places respectively, with the Swiss driver around six tenths faster than the Spaniard. Fernando Alonso topped the time sheet for Ferrari and, despite his morning excursion, Vettel was second ahead of Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were fourth and fifth for McLaren, while Paul Di Resta was a strong sixth for Force India. The scenic setting of the Ile Notre Dame has been bathed in sunshine all day, however current forecasts point to a chance of rain tomorrow. Depending when the rain arrives, it could turn what already looks like being a fascinating qualifying session, into a really thrilling one.
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