The sound of Formula One cars returned to Montreal today after a two-year absence as the practice sessions for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix got underway at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the Ile Notre-Dame.
Two busy sessions for Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher saw the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS pair complete 110 laps over the course of the day as they developed the set-up of their MGP W01 cars to the high speed and low downforce demands of the 4.361km circuit. With the best of the weekend’s weather expected today, the team also focused on tyre evaluations with the super soft and medium Bridgestone Potenza tyre compounds for this weekend.
Nico completed 57 laps and ended the day in third place with Michael completing 53 laps in ninth position.
“I’m generally pleased with the progress that we made today although conditions were difficult because it was very slippery out there on the track. We made some good set-up changes to help the car around this circuit and spent a lot of time working with the tyres to understand their performance. The soft option tyre was particularly difficult and we were struggling a little there, like many teams. But overall it was a good start and we have a lot of information to look at tonight before qualifying.“
“My sessions today were a bit mixed. In the morning, we were making progress but towards the end we carried over some issues into the second session which we could not solve. The main focus this afternoon was to get the tyres together. The track is pretty green with not much rubber which means the tyres are getting a hard time and everybody was struggling with graining. If it rains, the track will remain green and it will probably be difficult to hold the tyres together again, even the harder compound. For tomorrow, it is difficult to predict what we will be able to achieve. My feeling is that we will perform according to our expectations which is around the third quickest of the teams.”
“We’re reasonably happy with where we are today in terms of performance and were able to achieve some good longer runs this afternoon in preparation for the race. The key consideration for the weekend looks to be the tyre strategies and managing the levels of graining, particularly on the options and to a lesser extent the prime, as was evident from the struggles faced by most of the teams this afternoon. With the predicted weather conditions for the weekend, this could all change, but for now we are in a decent position and looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.”
“We had quite a constructive first day today and are all working hard to improve our pace. If it stays dry, the key issue will be how to use the tyres, particularly the softer options, in the best possible way. We saw long runs from various teams today where lap times varied up to five seconds or more through the runs. Having said that, there will be more grip tomorrow and on Sunday, of course only if it stays dry, and the tyre situation could change. The forecast predicts rain for the weekend, so it will be interesting to see who can do the best job if that is the case. Our experience and performance in the rain has been reasonable at the wet qualifying and races that we have had so far this season.”