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FP1: Norris leads Sainz and Leclerc during wet first practice in Canada

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 07: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on

McLaren driver Lando Norris posted the quickest time during a rain-affected first free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix, leading the way from the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

As forecast, dark clouds approached the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the build-up to Friday’s opening 60-minute offering, but few in the paddock expected the intensity of the rain and hailstorms that ultimately arrived and deluged the venue.

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This only added to the challenge for the drivers in action – which included Alpine reserve Jack Doohan getting another FP1 run in Esteban Ocon’s car – given the recent track resurfacing and generally low-grip conditions to start the weekend.

As the rain eased and blue sky broke through the clouds, the session officially started on time at 1330 local time, albeit with the pit lane remaining closed for almost half an hour while officials worked on clearing standing water around the 4.361-kilometre circuit.

Canada 2024

Practice 1 results

PositionTeam NameTime
1NOR1:24.435
2SAI+0.328s
3LEC+0.871s
4HAM+1.535s
5VER+2.067s
View Full Results

When drivers began to filter out at 1351, despite some further drops of rain, there was plenty of slipping and sliding on a mixture of Pirelli’s intermediate and wet tyres while the field attempted to get to grips with the track and settle into their respective programmes.

“Grip is very low,” came the initial radio report from Hamilton, evidenced by some slow-motion replays of his upgraded Mercedes drifting across the track – the seven-time world champion ending that opening sequence of laps with a 1m 36.654s.

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Amid the tricky conditions, it did not take long for drama to strike, with Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu aquaplaning through the Turn 5 right-hander and sliding into the wall – forcing him to stop on track with apparent suspension damage and bringing out the red flags.

Drivers were quick to head back out on track when the session resumed, leading to another flurry of lap times and improvements over the remaining 20 minutes of running, with the puddles continuing to clear and a largely dry line emerging.

Sainz had worked his way down to a 1m 27.485s on the intermediates to hold the benchmark time, before the first slick tyres appeared with just over five minutes to go when team mate Leclerc bolted on softs and set a trend – sending the timesheets green and purple.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 07: Rain falls over fans in the grandstands prior to practice ahead of the

It was a wet start to the Grand Prix weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

A last-gasp effort from Norris – still contending with some patches of water – put him P1 on 1m 24.435s, with Sainz three-tenths back in second, Leclerc the best part of a second slower in third and Hamilton 1.5s adrift.

Max Verstappen put his Red Bull fifth, from the other McLaren of Oscar Piastri, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, Kick Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas and team mate Sergio Perez, with George Russell rounding out the top 10 in his Mercedes.

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RB pair Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda and Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg followed in P11 to P14, with Aston Martin team mates Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll – split by the Williams of Logan Sargeant – the last drivers to post a time.

Home favourite Stroll was seen running over the grass during his late run on soft tyres, but he at least avoided the same fate as the sidelined Zhou, while FP1 runner Doohan and Williams driver Alex Albon brought up the rear.

With the first session behind them, drivers and their teams will debrief in the paddock before returning to the track for second practice at 1700 local time – current weather forecasts predicting more rain to fall between now and then.

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