- Canadian Grand Prix - FP1
Button confirms McLaren's pace in Montreal
Jenson Button got McLaren's Canadian Grand Prix weekend off to a solid start by setting the fastest time of first practice on a very slippery Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Michael Schumacher and Mercedes look as though they could be a surprise package this weekend, as the seven-time Montreal winner set the second fastest time just 0.158 off Button's best lap. Pre-race favourite Lewis Hamilton was third fastest but only a few thousandths of a second ahead of Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was just outside the top four and was likely running a heavy fuel load in line with his team's usual Friday practice strategy. He was still within half a second of the front-runners, indicating he is very much in the chase this weekend. Mark Webber was some way off the pace in 14th but will likely pick up the pace in the afternoon session.
Sixth fastest was Robert Kubica, who again looks like a strong contender for a good points finish. The Renault was considerably faster than any other car through the speed trap and that will be a massive advantage on the long straights that make up the majority of the circuit.
Ferrari still appears to be some way short of rectifying the problems it had in Turkey, with Fernando Alonso seventh fastest and Felipe Massa down in 12th. However, like Red Bull, Ferrari often runs a heavy fuel load in practice before showing its true hand in qualifying.
Force India's Tonio Liuzzi received a confidence boost by outpacing team-mate Adrian Sutil and setting the eighth fastest time. He has reverted to using the chassis he drove at the start of the season in the hope of solving some of the problems he has had at recent races. Rounding off the top ten were the two Williams of Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello.
Many of the drivers complained about a lack of grip, and although the track surface is a big improvement on the concrete-patched tarmac seen at the last Canadian Grand Prix in 2008, it was still quite dusty and slippery. The problem stems from the circuit's lack of use throughout the year, but as the weekend progresses more rubber will be put down and the situation should improve.