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Practice One - Mercedes lead, Vettel crashes out 10 Jun 2011

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 26 May 2011 Hamilton waves to fans as Practice One gets underway Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 crashes at the final corner in the first practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 10 June 2011 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM04 Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 10 June 2011 Kobayashi kicks up dust

Nico Rosberg proved correct Jenson Button’s pre-event prediction that Mercedes would be very strong here in Montreal, by dominating Friday morning’s opening practice session for Sunday’s Canadian round.

Button suggested that Mercedes gain up to 20 km/h from their DRS rear wing, whereas most others gain only 12 km/h. Rosberg took control of the session in the final third of the 90 minutes, lapping in 1m 16.002s to depose pacesetter Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, then improved that to 1m 15.591s.

That was 0.548s faster than the Spaniard, whose best was 1m 16.139s. Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa was fourth on 1m 16.658s, just behind the other Mercedes of Michael Schumacher, who posted 1m 16.549s.

Button himself was fifth on 1m 16.676s, just ahead of McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton. The latter had an adventurous session in which he appeared to struggle for grip in his MP4-26, but just after he had lapped it in 1m 16.842s and then set green times in the first and second sectors, he pulled into the pits without bothering to go faster.

The session was briefly red flagged 55 minutes in, after Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel crashed out at - appropriately enough - the final chicane's infamous 'wall of champions'. The German was unhurt and he finished 16th on the timesheets with a lap of 1m 18.852s.

Meanwhile, behind the dominant top six, Rubens Barrichello gave Williams a fillip with seventh fastest time of 1m 16.990s, while Scottish rookie Paul di Resta raised hopes in the Force India camp with a strong run to eighth fastest time in 1m 17.294s. Later he flat-spotted a set of front tyres braking for the hairpin.

Nick Heidfeld was ninth for Renault after a spin, recording 1m 17.445s, as Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 for Force India with 1m 17.549s. Then came Sergio Perez, who passed his medical with ease despite his huge accident in Monaco. The Mexican lapped his Sauber in 1m 17.662s for 11th, ahead of Mark Webber on 1m 17.820s in the lead Red Bull. The Australian set that quite early on, and was clearly not looking for speed thereafter.

Jaime Alguersuari was Toro Rosso’s leader on 1m 18.458s in 12th, chased by Vitaly Petrov, the other driver who was recovered from Monaco travails. The Russian took his Renault round in 1m 18.506s, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the other Toro Rosso on 1m 18.648s, Vettel, and Pastor Maldonado on 1m 18.932s in the second Williams.

At the back the times were very close. Jarno Trulli just headed Team Lotus partner Heikki Kovalainen, with 1m 19.274s to 1m 19.422s, then came Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 19.577s in the second Sauber, Jerome D’Ambrosio in the lead Virgin on 1m 19.838s, Tonio Liuzzi in the lead HRT on 1m 19.960s, then Timo Glock in the other Virgin on 1m 20.520s and Narain Karthikeyan in the second HRT on 1m 20.839s.

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