The first day of practice for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw four drivers hit the walls and a spate of Red Flag stoppages.
Then in the 90 minute afternoon session Adrian Sutil hit the wall, breaking his left front suspension and then Kamui Kobayashi and Jerome D’Ambrosio both went in hard to the wall at the first chicane bringing out red flags.
It meant a very interrupted session for the other drivers, especially at a time when they were trying to get their qualifying simulation runs in, during the final half hour of practice.
Used only twice a year for racing, the Ile de Notre Dame circuit is notoriously low in grip and is always dirty at the start of the race weekend and ramps up steadily over the weekend.
The pace in the afternoon was set by Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, ahead of a recovering Vettel, with Felipe Massa third and then the two McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Paul di Resta was sixth.
Sergio Perez, cleared by doctors on Thursday after his accident in Monaco, reported feeling unwell after FP1 and was substituted for the weekend by Pedro de la Rosa, who was dropped by the team last Autumn for Nick Heidfeld.
Perez is not the first driver to try to come back too quickly, but with Peter Sauber intent on taking ‘zero risks’ where safety is concerned, he will take some more time to recover.
“Of course I wanted to drive and I had no doubt I was alright,” said Perez. “But apparently this is unfortunately not the case. I am deeply disappointed. I spoke to the team after the session and told them that I’m not a hundred per cent fit. I only want to drive when I’m a hundred per cent well. I need some more time to recover.“