De la Rosa sets pace on all-new Montreal surface
Three McLarens in the top six, Jenson Button fourth fastest, Michael Schumacher fifth. The Canadian Grand Prix has got off to an interesting start thus far after this mornings first practice.
Everyone is still learning about the new track surface, but there were few incidents in the hour, as the session took place in sweltering heat and a track temperature of 43 degrees Celsius. Schumacher Snr oh-so nearly brushed the wall out the back of the circuit, missing it by an inch in his Ferrari, Jordans Narain Karthikeyan and Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella ran over the chicane, and Nick Heidfeld missed his apex in Turn 14 in his Williams, but that was it.
McLarens third man Pedro de la Rosa ended it fastest on 1m 16.415s compared to Ralf Schumachers 2004 pole position lap of 1m 12.275s. Ricardo Zonta was second on 1m 16.504s, running as tester for Toyota as Olivier Panis joins the team here to ready himself to the role in Magny-Cours. Kimi Raikkonen was third for McLaren in 1m 16.677s, just edging out a much happier Button who lapped the BAR in 1m 16.710s to head Schumacher Snrs 1m 16.872s for Ferrari. Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth on 1m 16.945s in the final McLaren.
Giancarlo Fisichella did few laps for Renault for seventh fastest time of 1m 17.281s, heading BARs Takuma Sato (1m 17.458s), Ralf Schumacher (1m 17.497s), Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari (1m 17.541s), and Heidfeld (1m 17.739s).
The next batch was headed by Jarno Trulli on 1m 18.049s for Toyota, then came Mark Webber (1m 18.138s) for Williams, Saubers Felipe Massa (1m 18.252s), newcomer Scott Speed (1m 18.499s) in the Red Bull and Jacques Villeneuve (1m 18.732s) in the second Sauber.
Speed in particular did a good job, looking cool and confident as his Red Bull team mates Christian Klien and David Coulthard limited their running to record 1m 19.212s and 1m 19.694s respectively for 17th and 18th slots.
Karthikeyans first visit to the Ile Notre Dame yielded 1m 19.791s for Jordan, with team mate Tiago Monteiro 22nd on 1m 23.152s first time out. They were split by the Minardis of Patrick Friesacher (1m 21.990s) and Christijan Albers (1m 22.452s), while Fernando Alonso as usual just did an installation lap in his Renault.
Times will fall further in this afternoons session, as the track rubbers up.