Montreal Deluge Delays EL1

Norris Tops Rain-Hit Canada EL1 Session


A torrential downpour in Montreal delayed the start of EL1, with Lando Norris emerging as the fastest driver in the disrupted session.

The start of the Canadian Grand Prix was complicated by a heavy downpour and hailstorm within the hour preceding the EL1 session. Consequently, the pit lane was not opened at the start of the session, as time was needed to pump water off the track and clean the asphalt.

Several teams brought updates, with Red Bull introducing a new rear wing and front brake ducts. Mercedes F1 unveiled a new front suspension and front brake ducts, while Aston Martin showcased a new beam wing under their rear wing.

Williams introduced new front and rear suspensions, RB F1 came with new front and rear wings, Stake F1 had a new rear wing and beam wing, and Haas brought a specific front wing for the Montreal circuit.

Jack Doohan was scheduled to drive for Alpine in place of Esteban Ocon during EL1, but the challenging weather conditions did not favour him. Conversely, the French driver avoided losing as much time as he had feared.

The track eventually opened at 19:51 French time, with Lewis Hamilton being the first to venture out on the still soaked surface. Valtteri Bottas followed his former teammate, but the pace was very slow.

Guanyu Zhou, Lando Norris, and Nico Hülkenberg were the next three drivers to take to the track, while Hamilton, on intermediate tyres, struggled to keep his car on the asphalt. Bottas had initially chosen wet tyres but quickly switched to intermediates.

The Williams drivers, Max Verstappen, Doohan, and Oscar Piastri also took to the track, along with Kevin Magnussen. Lap times began to fall, but the pace remained slow, and minor errors were frequent.

One such error proved more significant, as Zhou lost control of his Sauber C44 in the fast sequence of the first sector and hit the side. Although the damage was not extensive, the car stopped on the track, and the red flag was shown.

Lap times improved throughout the session, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc taking turns at the top after surpassing Lewis Hamilton. Subsequently, the session experienced a lull as the track dried, and intermediate tyres were no longer ideal.

Drivers then switched to soft tyres but did not immediately improve their times. It was during the final attempt that the pace quickened, and Lando Norris set the fastest lap of the session.

Many drivers made errors during this final attempt, with Logan Sargeant, Lance Stroll, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, and Valtteri Bottas going straight at the opposite chicane. Notably, Bottas even spun. Doohan completed very few laps, with one slow lap and a practice start attempt.

Norris finished first with a time of 1’24″435, although this time is not very indicative, even though he is ahead of Ferrari, who are expected to be among the favourites in qualifying and the race. EL2 will likely also take place in the rain, scheduled from 23:00 to midnight.

01Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:24.4358
02Carlos SainzFerrari SF-241:24.76311
03Charles LeclercFerrari SF-241:25.30611
04Lewis HamiltonMercedes W151:25.97011
05Max VerstappenRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:26.50210
06Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:26.7547
07Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault A5241:27.5848
08Valtteri BottasStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:27.67011
09Sergio PérezRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:28.05810
10George RussellMercedes W151:28.5419
11Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:28.5829
12Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:28.7239
13Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari VF-241:29.0528
14Nico HülkenbergHaas Ferrari VF-241:32.8265
15Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:33.4114
16Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes FW461:36.5865
17Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:40.5304
18Guanyu ZhouStake F1 Kick Sauber C44– :—.—4
19Jack DoohanAlpine Renault A524– :—.—3
20Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes FW46– :—.—4

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