Lewis Hamilton’s bid to be the next race winner of 2012 took a turn for the better in Montreal, with the McLaren driver edging out Sebastian Vettel by just over a tenth of second.

Photo: The Cahier Archive

In a drizzle-hit First Practice, the Briton took the early initiative to set the fastest time, inviting his rivals to try and beat it. The Red Bull of Vettel was the closest to the marker set, recording his fastest time on the last lap of his final run. The German had a coming together with Bruno Senna at final chicane, an incident that may hang over his head between both practice sessions.

Mercedes Nico Rosberg – tipped to be a contender this weekend – managed 3rd place, while Ferrari’s resurgence continued with a solid 4th for Fernando Alonso.

Monaco Grand Prix winner Mark Webber could only manage 5th, but his time was only 0.3s off Hamilton, further proving that 2012 is tremendously competitive.

Fellow McLaren driver Jenson Button could only manage a dozen laps, before a clutch problem relegated him to the garage. His fastest time was good enough for 10th place.

For the second consecutive weekend, Heikki Kovalianen brought out a red flag, stopping the action for 15 minutes after crashing into the wall. The Finn’s Renault engine expired in Monaco during FP1.

The track kept up it’s reputation for the appearance of wildlife, with a fox, a squirrel and a groundhog spotted during the session!

Canadian Grand Prix – First Practice

1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.564 
2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault  + 0.118
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes  + 0.218
4. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari  + 0.278 
5. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault + 0.333
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes  + 0.422
7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari  + 0.436
8. Sergio Perez, Sauber-Ferrari  + 0.685
9. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes  + 0.700
10. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes  + 0.783
11. Paul di Resta Force, India-Mercedes  + 0.896
12. Felipe Massa, Ferrari  + 1.055
13. Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault + 1.295
14. Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault  + 1.326 
15. Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus-Renault + 1.450
16. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari  + 1.788
17. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari  + 2.016
18. Vitaly Petrov, Caterham-Renault  + 2.371
19. Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham-Renault + 2.613
20. Pedro de la Rosa, HRT-Cosworth  + 2.618 
21. Bruno Senna, Williams-Renault  + 3.198 
22. Narain Karthikeyan, HRT-Cosworth  + 3.790
23. Timo Glock, Marussia-Cosworth  + 4.440
24. Charles Pic, Marussia-Cosworth  + 4.503