Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso hit back at critics who accused him of a poor performance in Monaco by setting fastest time for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix in the second practice session.
The Spaniard staked his claim early on and was assured of the top spot when light rain made the track slippery toward the end of the afternoon.
He finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton who beat team-mate Nico Rosberg for the first time in several weeks, while Romain Grosjean showed he still has pure pace on his side, despite a disastrous series of accidents in Monaco, by setting 3rd fastest time.
There were problems for Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, with the Lotus driver spending much of the session in his garage and the Briton experiencing some gearbox maladies on his way to 9th position. Paul Di Resta was also left with a sour taste in his mouth after an electrical problem somewhat dampened his spirits after an excellent FP1 showing.
The evening ended with a rather bizarre press conference surrounding the key players in the Mercedes-Pirelli test scandal; Paul Hembery, chief of the Italian tyre company’s F1 track operations, refused to appear after his legal advisers prevented him attending – an offence punishable under FIA law. Ross Brawn, Mercedes Team Principal, admitted the use of the 2013 car at the test was ‘my idea’, while Stefano Domenicalli was seen to be uneasy with the questions fired at him by the press. Red Bull’s Christian Horner was described by one observer as ‘fuming’, and made his beliefs and wishes abundantly clear.
“Today has gone pretty well for us and I’m pleased that it dried out this afternoon so we could get some decent running in. The track is definitely not at its full potential yet but we were able to start analysing the tyres over longer runs and work on getting them up to speed for the first lap. The car felt pretty good today and I tried a couple of different things over the two sessions which made me feel a little more comfortable so that’s positive.” Lewis Hamilton
“I think we’re a little nearer to the front than we’ve been in the past – the times are very close – but it’ll be the usual front-running cars who set the pace this weekend. We needed everything to be reliable today, but I only managed three laps on my high-fuel run before I had a problem with the gearbox. That was a pity because it meant we didn’t get the long-run information we were after. In fact, we had a similar issue last year, when I also had a gearbox problem on the Friday.” Jenson Button
“We were quite cautious with the wet weather this morning and we only fitted the dry tyres for the last few minutes of the session. Before that I had a good run on the intermediates and felt happy with the performance – probably the most comfortable I’ve felt on the intermediates this year. So overall we didn’t look too bad in the damp conditions. The afternoon was a case of getting through the dry tyre programme and trying to find the right car balance. Unfortunately things were cut short with the electrical issue, so I didn’t do the long runs we had planned for the final part of the session.” Paul Di Resta
“So far so good on my first outing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. It’s a great track; I love it. This morning our running was subject to the steadily improving conditions. We had some aero work to do on the prototype tyres so that we could press on with preparing for the race this afternoon. We managed to condense that so that we achieved everything we needed to and we end the day’s running with plenty of data to look over this evening.” Max Chilton
“This afternoon, we wanted to learn how the new development tyre works: I had some problems warning up the fronts and also flat-spotted them on my run. All in all, it was a decent day, although I need to see how the long-run pace compared to the others. The track was very cool today and pretty challenging, but I felt very comfortable in both conditions. So hopefully this will be a good weekend for us again.” Nico Rosberg
“The conditions were tough this morning. There was a dry line towards the end of FP1 but on cold tyres I put a wheel off-line and I crashed. This afternoon was better as we completed our full programme, however, we still need to work to get a better feeling in the car and we need to focus on getting the tyres working quicker.” Pastor Maldonado
|13||Di Resta||Force India||1:15:855|
|22||Van Der Garde||Caterham||1:18:392|