Monday, June 24, 2024

Valtteri Bottas Tops Abandoned First Practice in Montreal

Free Practice One for the Canadian Grand Prix was hampered by CCTV issues, which later saw the session abandoned after just under ten minutes of running. Valtteri Bottas topped the session leading Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.

What Happened In The Limited Running on Track?

The Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, were the first to come out of the pits, as they looked to set the pace early on. Verstappen took the lead by recording a time of 1:20.231 on the soft tires, but then just a few seconds afterwards, his teammate Perez surpassed him, clocking in 0.077 seconds faster on the same tyre compound.

Stroll was looking to impress early on at his home grand prix, and outperformed both Red Bull drivers with a time of 1:19.175 on the soft compound, also beating his teammate, Alonso by over six-tenths. The Silverstone team is optimistic about having a good weekend in Montreal. They have introduced numerous upgrades to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, aiming to rectify the underwhelming performance displayed in Barcelona.

Shortly after that, Bottas of Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake went to the top of the timesheets with a lap time of 1:18.728 on the medium compound tires, and that would end up being the fastest lap of the session, due to major technical difficulties at the circuit.

As Bottas set the fastest time, Pierre Gasly was reporting driveshaft problems back to BWT Alpine F1 Team, and the issues ended up with the Frenchman stopping on track and bringing out the red flag. After a quarter of an hour had gone by, the session remained under a red flag. Confusion arose among many as there seemed to be no apparent reason, except for Gasly’s halted car on the track, which would be easy to clear. However, the FIA clarified that the delay was caused by malfunctioning local CCTV cameras, which made the session unsafe to continue. The FIA has to be able to see all of the circuit for safety meaning all of the CCTV has to be operational.

The FIA released an official statement on the matter, as they abonanded the session.

“The session restart has been delayed due to issues with the local CCTV infrastructure around the circuit. The local organisers are working to resolve the issue and until that time we can’t restart for safety reasons.”

The final classification saw Bottas, Stroll and Alonso as the top three, with the Red Bull duo of Perez and Verstappen joining them in the top five. McLaren F1 Team’s Oscar Piastri managed to get out on track, unlike his teammate and put in a time good enough for sixth.

Haas F1 Team duo, Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen were seventh and eighth respectively ahead of Guanyu Zhou. Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc finished tenth and eleventh, although their lap times weren’t a realistic showing of their performance, similarly to Nyck de Vries, who finished last out of the drivers who took to the track.

What Happens Now?

Free Practice Two will now start at 15:30 local time (21:30 BST), an hour before originally scheduled with the session being extended by 30 minutes. The session will now last 90 minutes, and rain is expected across that time, giving the teams a chance to test their package in difficult conditions.

1 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:18.728 3
2 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:19.175 +0.447s 3
3 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:19.807 +1.079s 3
4 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:20.154 +1.426s 3
5 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:20.231 +1.503s 3
6 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:21.496 +2.768s 3
7 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:24.045 +5.317s 3
8 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 1:24.336 +5.608s 3
9 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:24.961 +6.233s 3
10 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:25.991 +7.263s 3
11 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:26.809 +8.081s 3
12 Nyck De Vries ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:32.274 +13.546s 3
14 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 2
15 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 1
16 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1
17 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 2