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Practice One - Hamilton sets the Montreal benchmark 08 Jun 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 The session is red-flagged after the track is strewn with debris from Heikki Kovalainen's smashed Caterham Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Sebastian Vettel provokes a furious reaction from Bruno Senna

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton staked his claim to become the seventh winner of the season by setting the fastest time in Friday morning’s opening practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Ile Notre-Dame.

Hamilton clocked his best time of 1m 15.564s on Pirelli’s soft tyres with less than 20 minutes to go but pretty much dominated the running throughout. Earlier, the session had to be stopped for 13 minutes, after a heavy shunt for Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen, who hit the wall exiting Turn Nine.

Hamilton’s main threat for a long time was Nico Rosberg, who lapped his Mercedes in 1m 15.782s on the super-soft rubber, but right at the end a series of quick laps lifted Sebastian Vettel to second for Red Bull with 1m 15.682s.

Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were also right there, with laps of 1m 15.842s and 1m 15.897s respectively for Ferrari and Red Bull.

A super-soft run put Nico Hulkenberg a surprise sixth for Force India on 1m 15.986s, while Sauber’s prediction that their C31 would suit the track proved accurate as Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez were next up in 1m 16.000s and 1m 16.249s.

Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher was ninth on 1m 16.264s on the soft rubber, while Jenson Button completed the top 10 with 1m 16.347s before losing a lot of running time as McLaren had to take the gearbox off his MP4-27 to deal with an oil leak. Paul di Resta was 11th in the second Force India with 1m 16.460s as Ferrari’s Felipe Massa dropped back after being well up at one stage with his soft-tyred 1m 16.619s.

Pastor Maldonado’s experimentation with a new DRS system didn’t pay off yet, as the Venezuelan was only 13th for Williams on 1m 16.859s, while the Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen didn’t really get going after posting laps of 1m 16.890s and 1m 17.014s early on.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo continued their duel at Toro Rosso, the Frenchman lapping in 1m 17.352s to the Australian’s 1m 17.580s.

Vitaly Petrov showed Caterham’s recent improvement with 1m 17.935s, but Kovalainen’s morning ended with that shunt after he’d recorded 1m 18.177s. Right behind him, much to HRT’s delight, was Pedro de la Rosa who hauled a revised F112 round in 1m 18.182s.

That left him comfortably ahead of Bruno Senna on 1m 18.762s in the second Williams, team mate Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 19.354s, and the Marussias of Timo Glock and Charles Pic on 1m 20.004s and 1m 20.067s.

Vettel and Senna are under investigation by the Canadian race stewards after the German took a shortcut over the final chicane, whilst passing the Brazilian.

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