The first practice sessions for the seventh race of the season took place today at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.
Lewis Hamilton set the best lap of the opening day, with Nico Rosberg posting the second fastest time
Both sessions saw the Silver Arrows separated by less than two tenths of a second
The threat of rain in the afternoon resulted in a higher than average quantity of laps being completed in the morning
Both cars ran trouble-free, allowing the team to focus on set-up work for the weekend ahead
It felt pretty good out there today but we’ve still got improvements to make and there is more to come from the set-up and balance tomorrow. This is quite a technical circuit which is all about the kerbs and apexes; you have to have a car that reacts well to the bumps. You’re always trying to find the limit so we’re not quite where we want to be yet. The Ferraris looked quite close today and the rest of the field seemed closer in general but hopefully not too close! It’s very hard to overtake here so pole position is important. Nico looked very quick today as well so I have my work cut out for sure. We’ll find out everyone’s pace in qualifying tomorrow afternoon so let’s wait and see what happens.
That was a great day and I felt very comfortable in my Silver Arrow. This morning, we worked on some different things with the brakes which didn’t quite work out so we had to change that this afternoon. It was much better for the second session so I’m quite happy now with that. But I’m still a tenth off the quickest time so I’ll work hard with our engineers tonight to find that extra pace. It’s a unique track here and it’s very difficult to hit the kerbs just right. It was also great to see so many spectators here already today and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.
It was an interesting day which threw up some surprising conclusions. One of our biggest jobs will be to analyse and understand why the option tyre didn’t perform as well on our car in comparison to the prime and also how to manage graining on the option during the race. It is a short lap here, which closes up the field anyway, but it feels like Ferrari might be pushing us harder this weekend. We will need to get every detail right to deliver our potential in the race, so there’s plenty of work still ahead of us this evening.
Today we focused on doing our homework for the race, looking particularly at tyre performance and fuel consumption. This is one of the most challenging circuits of the season in terms of fuel consumption and how we best use the 100 kg race fuel allowance. The threat of rain meant we ran more laps than usual in the morning session, including some high fuel work, before a more normal afternoon of short and long runs on low and high fuel. The car ran fine but we seemed to struggle a little with the option tyre, which did not deliver as much lap time as we had expected. This may open up some interesting strategies for qualifying.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: A fairly standard Friday in Canada really; we had a few dramas with brake temperatures, but I don’t think any team is different, and Felipe lost some time with the ERS cooling system failure in the first session. We recovered well with good teamwork and operations to resolve the issues we had with brakes and tyre warm-up, and had a very good session in FP2. We tested all the aerodynamic pieces we brought here and they seem to be working very well. We seem to have found a reasonable balance with tyre warm-up and degradation. There is still a lot to do to improve tyre warm-up and rear graining for the race.
Felipe Massa: It was a good Friday. Unfortunately I lost some laps this morning, but in the afternoon we were able to run a lot to understand the set-up, the tyres and the long runs. I was happy with the balance today. I hope we can have a very competitive car on this track and I hope we can fight with Red Bull and Ferrari, which is never easy.
Valtteri Bottas: It was more or less what we expected. We got some good results from the changes we made from the last race, so it was nice to see some progress. It seems like everyone is still struggling with tyre warm-up with the prime, but the option felt a lot better. I still think we can improve our overall performance from today. I didn’t have the perfect lap yet with the supersoft, so I think there’s a little bit more to come.
In the second free practice session for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari continued a busy programme of evaluation of the latest updates fitted to the F14 T, which got underway this morning. In the second 90 minutes of the day, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen split the work, the Finn trying parts the Spaniard had used in the morning and vice versa.
Having solved the problems that had slowed him in the morning, Kimi set the fourth fastest time of 1.16.648 on the Supersofts, 53 thousandths quicker than Fernando who was fifth. Raikkonen completed 31 laps, Alonso 27. The Mercedes duo were quickest, with Lewis Hamilton posting a 1.16.118 and Nico Rosberg doing a 1.16.293. Sebastian Vettel was third for Red Bull in 1.16.573. Behind the Prancing Horse duo came Massa, Bottas and Magnussen.
Like most teams, Scuderia Ferrari spent the final thirty minutes of the session working on a long run test, in preparation for the race. Here again, the two men split the workload, with Alonso starting off on the Supersoft tyres, while Raikkonen opted for the Soft, before switching to the softer compound at the end. As usual, Saturday’s programme features the third free practice session in the morning, with qualifying taking place in the afternoon.
Nico: “We’ve had a pretty good day of practice, although there is obviously more work to be done. The car feels very driveable around the circuit, but I feel there is more to come from it, especially on the super-soft tyres. Our target is to squeeze out a bit more performance overnight. The whole field is very competitive and close here and finding the perfect balance will be crucial. It’s about getting all the pieces of the puzzle together and having a clean lap in qualifying.”
Sergio: “It was quite a normal day of practice. Trying some different settings and aero parts this morning, and then looking at the soft and super-soft tyres in the afternoon. It went to plan, apart from a small problem at the end of the day, which is why we had to finish our session a little earlier than expected. The positive thing, however, is that we have good information to improve our performance tomorrow. We have a fair bit of work to do tonight to get in the best shape possible for tomorrow’s qualifying and obviously for the race on Sunday.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“We’ve had a solid day of practice and we’re quite satisfied with things. The only real issue was a small problem with Sergio’s car, which cost us the last few minutes of the afternoon. Despite this, the feared rain didn’t materialise and we could use the two sessions to go through almost our entire programme. We were able to complete the necessary long runs and we tested both tyre compounds extensively. Our race pace looks better than our one-lap pace, but the track here in Montreal tends to evolve significantly during the weekend so there will be some set-up changes to make ahead of qualifying to find the sweet spot for the car.”
KEVIN MAGNUSSEN, MP4-29-01
“Obviously, this is my first time at this circuit, and I really enjoyed driving it – it’s a really good track. It has a really nice series of corners and braking zones – for a relatively low-speed circuit, it’s really cool.
“The car feels good, which is positive, and hopefully I can look after the tyres during the race. If it continues to get hotter over the weekend, then tyre overheating will become more of an issue, particularly on the Option tyre. It’ll be the same for everyone though, so we’ll just manage it as best as we can.
“I have a good team behind me and I think we’ve prepared for this weekend really well. So far, it looks as if we’ll be fighting towards the top of the mid-pack; if we can stay there, we should be satisfied with our weekend.”
JENSON BUTTON, MP4-29-04
“In theory, this circuit should quite suit us: our car’s pretty good in a straight line, there aren’t many high-speed corners, and we’ve got the softest selection of tyres, so we should be okay.
“This morning’s long-runs looked quite respectable, but we made some set-up changes for the second session, which weren’t so bad when we were running low-fuel, but weren’t quite so effective when we switched to running higher fuel-loads.
“On my long-run, I also hammered the Supersoft tyre while running a high fuel-load – just to see what would happen. I anticipated that there might be graining – and there was. The Supersoft compound is a tyre that definitely requires you to look after the rears more than the fronts.
“Nevertheless, we gathered a lot of useful data, and that will inform the processes and decisions we make – not only about how to balance the car, but also about the inputs that’ll be needed from the drivers to manage the tyres during the race.”
“It’s been a pretty useful day.”
ERIC BOULLIER – Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“We came into this weekend determined to get through a very busy development programme that was focused across both practice sessions. We undertook some aerodynamic tests and some back-to-back evaluations – and it’s a credit to all the mechanics and engineers that we were able to complete the entire programme satisfactorily today.
“Neither Jenson nor Kevin were completely happy with the balance of their cars, or the changes made to them between the sessions, so there’s still some scope for improvement ahead of tomorrow’s sessions. We got plenty of laps under our belts today, so there’s a lot of data to analyse this evening.
“The Canadian Grand Prix has traditionally been a weekend where we see plenty of incident and excitement – and today was no exception Already, we’ve seen plenty of spins, grassy moments and scrapes along the wall – and while all of us at McLaren will be hoping that Jenson and Kevin enjoy clean and profitable races, let’s hope that the sport as a whole can put on a spectacular, breath-taking and unpredictable show on Sunday.”
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 21):
Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
1st practice: 18th / 1:19.804 min (15 laps) / 2nd practice: 17th / 1:18.340 min (43 laps)
“It’s been a tough day. We had some technical problems this morning, which is not ideal because we lost valuable track time. This afternoon we managed to solve the issues we had in the morning, but I’m still not completely happy with the car’s overall handling. But we have good information in order to put everything together for tomorrow, which is pretty important so that I can feel confident with the car and drive it to the limit. The whole driveability into the corners is quite tricky, and the car is snappy, which is obviously not ideal on a track that is quite slippery. In addition, it’s important to have a stable car when you want to drive on the kerbs.”
Adrian Sutil (car number 99):
Sauber C33-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 13th / 1:19.108 min (24 laps) / 2nd practice: 16th / 1:17.964 min (47 laps)
“This morning was quite good. It’s really fun to drive on this track! Obviously the surface has very little grip. In addition there are numerous chicanes, but overall the car was quite good to drive. The main challenge in the morning was to get the tyres to work. In the afternoon this was a bit easier. We tried different downforce levels. We still have to sort out some issues with the aerodynamics. Apart from that, there were no big surprises. We are where we are, and we have to make the best of it. The car is still not exactly where we want it to be, which is where it works the best, so we have some work left left to do for tomorrow.“
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“In the morning we did aerodynamic comparisons on both cars and the usual set-up work. We had to change a control unit on Esteban’s car, which cost him approximately half an hour. In the afternoon we concentrated mainly on the tyre comparisons. Apart from the problem with the control unit, it was a pretty normal Friday. We still have room for improvement. We need to analyse the data and draw the right conclusions.”
“I’m pleased with where I’ve ended the day on the timesheet. I think we got quite a lot of the car today and in particular I had a very positive FP2. We got a good long run with the car in which we seemed to be quite competitive, so hopefully we can maintain this progress into tomorrow.”
“It has been a tough day today, which is a difficult start off the back of our last weekend’s performance. At least we have some data to work with to try to prepare for tomorrow but FP3 will be a little bit like heading into the dark. Still, we have turned things around before and I am confident that we can still have a good weekend.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“A frustrating day, particularly on Jules’ side of the garage. The lost track time in FP1 was as a result of Jules pushing the car hard and for this every once in a while you do get caught out. Into FP2, the issue we have had with the powertrain is not driver related and so it’s been tough for him to miss out on valuable running at this tricky circuit. On the flip side, with Max everything has pretty much run to programme and he is quite happy with the balance of the car. He did his option run very early in the session as we decided to concentrate more on long runs with the tyres. This will be reflected in the ultimate pace, but he still looks relatively competitive. The long run enabled us to get valuable tyre data and initially things don’t seem quite so straightforward in terms of the way the prime and option tyres are working, but this information won’t be needed until Sunday. For now we are concentrating on ensuring both cars are up to full reliability for the morning. For Jules we will revise the programme slightly to give him more long run focus and take the session from there.”
Alexander Rossi, car #45, chassis CT05-#02 (FP1): “27 laps and no issues is a pretty good way to finish my first FP1 of the season. It was my first time driving a 2014 car on track and I have to say it was very different to the 2013 car, but I enjoyed it. However, the focus for me today was helping the team establish a baseline setup and starting to try a few options and I’m pleased with how it went.
“At first the balance was actually pretty good – the rear was more solid than I thought it might be but the braking was something we had to take a look at as the front inside tyre was locking in the final part of each braking zone. We made a couple of changes and it definitely improved on the second full run, and for the rest of the session. By the last run I was starting to have more confidence with the braking, and we found a good initial balance that will be useful for FP2 and the rest of the weekend.
“My next run in the F1 car is in Austin and it’ll be really interesting to see how the car develops between then and now.”
Marcus Ericsson, car #9, chassis CT05-#01: “33 laps in FP1 meant we could work through a lot of the program and even thought at first there was very little grip, by the end of the session we were starting to find a balance that was working ok. The track was very green for the first couple of runs and the car was sliding around a lot and I was having problems optimising the braking – it was like driving on ice, but we made a few setup changes and those, combined with the rubber going down throughout the session, meant that the grip levels had improved by the end of the first session.
“We made quite a few changes over lunch to improve the balance but on the first run of FP2 it didn’t feel like a positive step so for run two we went back to a similar setup to that we’d had before lunch. However, after 13 laps and on my second run I lost transmission and had to pull over. That was the end of the session which is obviously not ideal but with 33 laps this morning and another 13 in FP2 it’s not been too bad a day. I’m sure we’ll make progress overnight and be back pushing on tomorrow.”
Kamui Kobayashi, car #10, chassis CT05-#02: “Tyre temperatures, braking issues and grip dominated FP2 for me. On both tyre compounds I was struggling to bring the tyres up to temperature efficiently which certainly cost me laptime, and that also contributed to the low levels of grip I had for the whole session.
“There’s definitely more time to come from the whole package here. Our final time isn’t a true picture of where we really are pace-wise, so we have to continue working as hard as possible tonight to give ourselves a chance to fight tomorrow. We’ll do just that and I’m sure we’ll make progress in FP3 and quali.”
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader: “We covered almost everything on our programme on the engine side today, with several test items on the agenda following the updates we brought here. Everything worked as expected, both in qualifying and race trim. We had the opportunity to work with Alexander in the morning, who was very quick to adapt himself to the 2014 Power Unit. All in all it was a good day, despite Marcus’ stoppage in FP2 due to a transmission issue. The engine has not been damaged so we can carry on as planned tomorrow.”… more to follow