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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were the two fastest drivers in Friday practice for the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Fernando Alonso was surprisingly the fastest man in the first practice session at a circuit that many expect to be dominated by the Mercedes engined cars; particularly those belonging to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The gap may have been by a mere few thousandths ahead of the Silver Arrows pair, but it is encouraging nevertheless as many feared that the Ferrari and Renault cars may be disadvantaged this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel was 4th fastest after the first 90 minute session, with the team refusing to take this as a sign of potential pace this weekend. The Red Bull cars are famed to lack top speed in favour of increased down-force,  which was evident with both cars failing to appear in the top 10 fastest cars in the speed trap before the final chicane. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was 6th fastest, with both Red Bulls split by Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.

The two McLaren’s of Button and Magnussen were 7th and 8th fastest, with Kimi Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne in 9th and 10th. Kimi had suffered problems in this first session, with a radio message revealing that the team had noticed his engine was knocking, forcing him to return to the pits for a lengthy spell. He later returned to the track and set his time to put him in 9th. Vergne had also suffered technical problems during the session.

The 9th and 10th placed drivers weren’t the only ones to hit problems, with Marussia’s points scorer Jules Bianchi hitting the wall at the turn 4, forcing his retirement from the rest of the session.

Only one driver was substituting for a regular racer in this session, with American GP2 driver Alexander Rossi taking the wheel of Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham for this event before returning to the cockpit in practice for the US Grand Prix in November. Rossi ended the session in last place but was only half a second slower than Ericsson in the sister car.

FP1 results:

POS Driver Team Time
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’17.238
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’17.254
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.384
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’18.131
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’18.361
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’18.435
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1’18.446
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’18.516
9 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’18.578
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’18.643
11 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’18.733
12 Sergio Perez Force India 1’18.959
13 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’19.108
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’19.142
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’19.177
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1’19.340
17 Felipe Massa Williams 1’19.575
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’19.804
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’20.200
20 Max Chilton Marussia 1’20.844
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1’21.404
22 Alexander Rossi Caterham 1’21.757

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014The Mercedes drivers returned to their usual 1-2 positions in second practice, with Lewis Hamilton a tenth of a second faster than Nico Rosberg. The advantage between the Mercedes cars and their rivals was not as big as once feared, with Sebastian Vettel only 3 tenths off of Rosberg in the Renault powered Red Bull.

The two Ferrari’s of Raikkonen and Alonso were 4th and 5th, with Kimi having an eventful session which included a strange spin on the exit of the hairpin.

The Williams and McLaren cars came in two by two in positions 6 to 9; with Massa and Bottas followed by Magnussen and Button. Magnussen was involved in a potentially messy situation at the final chicane where he almost collided with Adrian Sutil while slowing to start a lap. The incident was briefly investigated but no penalty was given.

Jean-Eric Vergne was in 10th fastest once again after suffering a trip down the turn 3 escape road after a lock-up. Marcus Ericsson had also taken a trip down that escape road earlier on in the session after suffering a technical problem. Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was back in his car after lending it to Alexander Rossi in FP1. It was seemingly taking a while to get back into the rhythm for the Japanese driver after several lock-ups at the hairpin and at the final chicane, along with a major sideways moment at turn 2. He ended the session ahead of his Swedish team-mate, with Jules Bianchi last after completing only 4 laps following from his affair with the turn 4 wall in FP1.

FP2 results:

POS Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’16.118
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’16.293
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’16.573
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’16.648
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.701
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1’16.774
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’16.893
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’17.052
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1’17.059
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’17.180
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’17.626
12 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’17.644
13 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’17.712
14 Sergio Perez Force India 1’17.819
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1’17.868
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’17.964
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’18.340
18 Max Chilton Marussia 1’18.693
19 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’18.732
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’20.244
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1’22.418
22 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’32.127
By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing

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Emanuele Venturoli
Emanuele Venturoli
A graduate in Public, Social and Political Communication from the University of Bologna, he has always been passionate about marketing, design and sport.
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