Verstappen pips Hamilton in first practice in Canada

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB14
© XPB 

Max Verstappen put Red Bull at the top of the timesheets in the first free practice session for the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix.

His time of 1:13.302s was just under nine hundredths of a second faster than Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. Less than half a second covered the top six cars by the time the chequered flag came out.

Nico Hulkenberg suffered a gearbox issue that prevented him from setting a lap time. The two Williams of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin both had mild contact with the barriers during the session.

Canadian Grand Prix - Free Practice 1 times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:13.302s 26
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:13.390s + 0.088s 29
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:13.518s + 0.216s 24
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:13.574s + 0.272s 19
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:13.617s + 0.315s 31
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:13.727s + 0.425s 28
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:13.900s + 0.598s 27
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:14.116s + 0.814s 24
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:14.311s + 1.009s 19
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:15.004s + 1.702s 31
11 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:15.071s + 1.769s 29
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:15.119s + 1.817s 21
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:15.386s + 2.084s 30
14 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:15.439s + 2.137s 30
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:15.579s + 2.277s 21
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:15.756s + 2.454s 38
17 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:15.768s + 2.466s 30
18 Lance Stroll Williams 1:16.259s + 2.957s 16
19 Nicholas Latifi Force India 1:17.145s + 3.843s 28
20 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 3

Sunny but cool conditions greeted the F1 teams and drivers as they headed out onto the Circuit Gille Villeneuve for their initial tours of the race weekend. Unused for most of the year, the track was dusty as Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen were first to head out.

Wary of putting mileage on their ageing power units, Mercedes initially held back their drivers in the garage. Meanwhile everyone else completed installation laps, including Force India reserve driver Nicholas Latifi who was sitting in for Sergio Perez during the morning session.

Williams' Sergey Sirotkin was the first man to set a time, clocking in with a lap of 1:23.556s on supersoft tyres. That was quickly reduced by five seconds by subsequent efforts, even before Monaco race winner Daniel Ricciardo leapt to the top with a time of 1:17.475s in the Red Bull.

After half an hour, Fernando Alonso was fastest with a time of 1:15.006s, half a second ahead of his McLaren team mate Stoffel Vandoorne, when the session was briefly red flagged. The cause of the stoppage was Nico Hulkenberg's Renault, which had stopped just after the hairpin and refused to restart. Marshalls were deployed to recover the stricken R.S.18 and return it to pit lane, where it remained for the rest of the morning.

When the session resumed, Mercedes clearly felt like stretching their legs. Valtteri Bottas went to the top with a lap of 1:14.243s, before Hamilton ducked under the 1:14s mark on user supersofts to take control of the session despite the team's concerns with engine use.

Max Verstappen was the first man to venture out on the pink hypersoft compounds. The Red Bull soon scythed almost six tenths of a second from Hamilton's benchmark to go top with a 1:13.389s. He subsequently shaved a few hundredths off to stay ahead of further improvements from Hamilton who remained on ultras.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Ricciardo was also looking pacy and finished the session third fastest ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was on the hypersofts. Bottas was fifth fastest from Raikkonen and Alonso, with Carlos Sainz providing some cheer for Renault in eighth ahead of Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly, the Toro Rosso featuring high in the speed traps with its new upgraded Honda power unit.

There were no further stoppages during the remainder of the session, although a number of drivers found themselves straying off the tarmac at times. Sauber's Charles Leclerc ran wide at turn 14, while a flying lap for Latifi ended up with the Force India overshooting the chicane at turn 9.

Local hero Lance Stroll was also consistently cutting it fine up against the barriers. He finally oversteered and tapped the infamous Wall of Champions with the right rear of the Williams FW41, forcing him to limp home to pit lane with a puncture.

Stroll's team mate Sirotkin also brushed the wall after spinning in turn 6 at the end of the 90-minute session. The incident came just after Marcus Ericsson had found himself pointing in the wrong direction in turn 8 when the Sauber locked up its rears. Brendon Hartley also had a scare at the second chicane in the Toro Rosso before the chequered flag.

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