Formula 1 Racing

Norris quickest after deluge delays start to practice in Montreal · F1 · RaceFans

Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Lando Norris was quickest on slick tyres on a drying track after heavy rain limited running in the opening practice session in Canada.

Extremely heavy rain and hail had flooded the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the run up to the opening practice session of the weekend, leaving large amounts of standing water on the freshly resurfaced track.

The circuit was in no condition for running on by the time the clock reached 1:30pm for the scheduled start of practice, with the hour long session starting was planned but with cars forbidden from taking to the track.

Eventually, after a delay of 20 minutes, the pit lane opened with just under 40 minutes remaining. Lewis Hamilton was the first to take to the track to test the conditions on intermediate tyres but was soon joined by several others on wets. Hamilton set the first lap time of the weekend with a 1’36.654, before Valtteri Bottas went quicker by three and a half seconds as conditions improved rapidly.

Bottas’s Sauber team mate, Zhou Guanyu, ventured out on the intermediates but lost control of his car rounding the kink of turn five and slid into the outside wall, breaking his suspension and bringing out a red flag. After a brief delay, the session resumed with the remaining 19 cars taking to the track, the majority of which on the intermediate tyres.

Carlos Sainz Jnr set the quickest time in the damp conditions with a 1’27.485, less than a tenth of a second ahead of his team mate Charles Leclerc. The sun was drying the track rapidly and in the final six minutes, drivers began to head out back onto the circuit on slick tyres as the racing line was now dry.

Several drivers slipped off the track at turn eight onto the newly restored grass run-off, including Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll and Bottas. All were able to recover back onto the track without too much harm done to their cars, however Stroll was noted by the stewards for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner.

In the closing minutes, the slick tyres began to provide more grip than the intermediates with drivers eventually improving. Norris set the best time of all with a careful 1’24.135, three tenths ahead of Sainz in second with Leclerc again behind his Ferrari team mate in third.

Hamilton was fourth in the Mercedes ahead of Verstappen, with Oscar Piastri in sixth. Pierre Gasly was seventh, with Bottas, Sergio Perez and George Russell completing the top ten. Alpine junior driver Jack Doohan, who replaced Esteban Ocon for…

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