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Walls claim four drivers on crazy opening day in Montreal
Walls claim four drivers on crazy opening day in Montreal
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jun 2011   |  8:31 pm GMT  |  31 comments

The first day of practice for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw four drivers hit the walls and a spate of Red Flag stoppages.

Vettel was forced to sit out part of Practice 1 after a shunt (Red Bull)

In morning practice world champion Sebastian Vettel had a big impact with the “wall of champions” on the outside of the final corner, badly damaging the right side of his car. This wall has claimed Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill and Jenson Button among others over the years.

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.“

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I am curious James, how Ferrari is feeling about this arrangement? Sauber who has support from Ferrari getting a Mclaren driver in to their car. Some insight on the C30 gentleness on tires could be transferred to Mclaren from this… exchange? Conflict of interest perhaps …?


In regards Perez, you have to admire the maturity of this young bloke. No young driver ever wants to take his butt off the seat once he gets there. It just gives the next guy an opportunity to impress (Schumacher/Jordan Belgium ’91, not the same but…). Fortunately Sergio’s replacement is unlukely to trouble the scorers this weekend.

David Turnedge

More crashes? A good question! Anyone have the stats?


Good decision by Perez. Mature. Looking forward to seeing him at Valencia.


Not watching the home GP in Montreal this year. Stupid decision to save some money.

Good for Sergio to admit feeling unwell instead of endangering himself and others.

Are we seeing more crashes this year compared to previous years?

Is on-off DRS making the cars more unstable? Too many switches and buttons for drivers to attend to?

Sergey Matvienko

Well the circuit was very dirty in the FP. You could see cars creating clouds of dust and drifting all over the track. So i’m not surprised drivers crashed while looking for the limits.


Interesting that a mclaren driver has been called in to drive what is essentially a ferrari car. Shouldn’t ferrari have objected to this choice given the potential for spygate round 2 that this appointment creates?


Reportedly Pedro has McLaren permission to do so.


Engines are the only thing Mclaren could stand to learn something from……. but I think the engines would all be pretty much identical due to the restrictions now days anyway, but all PdLR could tell Mclaren is how the engine felt like it was mapped….which isn’t going to be groundbreaking information anyway.

Its not like PdLR will be looking at a computer screen as he is flooring the car so there is only so much he could even pass along to Mclaren.


Does anyone know, how many (if any) drivers have hit the Wall of Champions more than once?..and who were they?



One of the more amusing quotes about hitting walls was from either AJ Foyt or Mario Andretti regarding the walls at Indy: “any way you can hit it, I been there twice!”


For the sake of history we need a champion to hit the wall during the race, we need it to confirm F1 is truly back to its exciting old self!


” Ile de Notre Dame circuit is notoriously low in grip…”

Yes, but what a beautiful venue. And it helps F1’s ‘green’ image because most ppl walk or take mass transit!!


Sergio Perez, …, reported feeling unwell after FP1…

An amazingly mature thing to do for a young, fire-breathing racer. Good job!


Any news on why pedro was borrowed from mclaren instead of sauber using their own driver?

Sergey Matvienko

I heard Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez was not present in Canada for this weekend. So the had no choice but to use some other driver.


Firstly it was unexpected that Sergio would feel unfit, and secondly Pedro happened to be on the paddock as well. I doubt a rival team like FI would want to lend their own test driver Hulkenberg….


There reserve driver is sitting an exam… any pics of De La Rosa in McLaren suit driving the Sauber?


No bad feelings between de la rosa and sauber then!


Agree with Steve. Get better Sergio.


James wrote: “In morning practice world champion Sebastian Vettel had a big impact with the “wall of champions” on the outside of the final corner, badly damaging the right side of his car.”

Vettel said: “The crash was quite mild and there was not too much damage to fix”


From Vettel’s viewpoint, not too bad could be interpreted as simply “we’ll be able to fix it in time for P2”.

If you took it to the garage down the road, the mechanic would certainly be pursing his lips ang “ooh, that’s going to cost you”, but thats only a secondary consideration to a race team (especially one as wealthy as RB).


Regarding your comment on mechanics; You forgot the part when they suck air in through their teeth.


Yes, and all the while they’re shaking their heads sadly.


Maybe Vettel did not look at his car properly when he stepped out from it, or just did a PR statement, because all the reports say that the car was badly damaged.


well they got the car back ready before FP2 so it couldnt have been that bad.


Exactly…you all know what happens when the car is badly damaged – you miss the next session.


Now Canada is what Monaco should look like – plenty of walls but enough space to let drivers try an overtake.

And how I would have loved Vettel to plough his Red Bull into the wall when it really matters – On Sunday. Now it appears he’s safe for the entire weekend for drivers that have issues on a Friday go ahead to have a clean weekend.

But you know what, Vettel looks good for pole again, as for the race, well that’s something else.

Ferrari appear to love this track for Schumi used to do well there.

Oh Perez, the heart is willing but the body says no. It’s really weird, if it were me, I doubt I would ever step in a racing car ever again.

As for Perez’s replacement Lol, people never learn, right? They should have poached Force India for Hulkenburg (Still can’t believe Williams let his go, all thanks to Hamilton’s debut season)

Oh well, can’t wait for the race for we already know who will be on pole, right?


It is not the smartest thing to approach your direct competition and get one of their drivers,especially an excellent driver such as the Hulk in to your cockpit, not for a few laps yet alone for a whole weekend. Peter Sauber knows what he is doing. Hope that Perez gets well for the next race and I wish Pedro great race!


Qualifying will be EPIC!


Sergio has more good sense than some. I hope he gets 100% soon.

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