Hamilton regains the initiative as he starts Canadian GP weekend on top
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jun 2014   |  10:00 pm GMT  |  56 comments

Lewis Hamilton firmly put his stamp on the opening day of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend with fastest time in the Friday Free Practice session and a very strong long run.

The 29 year old lost the initiative at the last race in Monaco to Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, but here, on a track where he has had three wins and three poles, he took it back again, setting a lap 0.175s faster than the German in the sister car.

The next non-Mercedes was world champion Sebastian Vettel, who did better than Red Bull expected with third fastest time ahead of the Ferraris.

But when the Mercedes pair went out to do long runs on the supersoft tyre and later the soft, their pace was well clear of the rest, indicating that they will drive off into the distance on Sunday.

Hamilton did a 16 lap run on supersofts, simulating the opening stint of the race, with laps consistently in the low 1m 20s.

“It felt pretty good out there today but we’ve still got improvements to make and there is more to come from the set-up and balance tomorrow,” said Hamilton. “This is quite a technical circuit which is all about the kerbs and apexes; you have to have a car that reacts well to the bumps. You’re always trying to find the limit so we’re not quite where we want to be yet.”

With track temperatures in the low 30s, colder than projected for qualifying and the race, the Mercedes seemed to be able to get the tyres into the correct operating window quickly and then maintain them there for the long run.

Mercedes did a lot of homework today, with 42 laps this afternoon for Hamilton and 39 for Rosberg.

The battle for the podium will be interesting with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner forced to reconsider his pre weekend prediction that his team would be doing well to finish fifth here. He said that Red Bull had the same amount of power available to it this weekend as in the last race, so still not reaching the maximum from the Renault engine.

Ferrari had a number of undated on the car, aerodynamics such as the new floor that Alonso tried in the morning and Raikkonen in the afternoon, as well as many updates on the engine.

The Ferrari looks more competitive here and it will be interesting to see whether they can be the team to reach the podium.

Force India, tipped by many to do well here, seemed to struggle with tyre degradation and both drivers were outside the top ten in qualifying simulation pace.

Instead Williams looked the best of the customer Mercedes engined teams with Massa 6th and Bottas 7th, ahead of the McLaren pair.

Daniel Ricciardo escaped with a warning after a close shave in the pit lane in FP1 as he passed Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, while Jule Bianchi rather blotted his copybook by crashing in FP1. In FP2 a power unit issue curtailed his running to just 3 laps.

Fuel consumption is quite high at this circuit (around 1.45 kilos per race) and all the teams will be careful to manage it over 70 laps, with only 100kg allowed.

Strategy wise we are likely to see a mixture of one and two stop strategies, but if the temperatures rise as forecast, that will push more drivers into making two stops.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX, Montreal, Free Practice 2
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.118s 42
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m16.293s +0.175s 39
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m16.573s +0.455s 26
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m16.648s +0.530s 31
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.701s +0.583s 27
6. Felipe Massa Williams 1m16.774s +0.656s 37
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m16.893s +0.775s 37
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m17.052s +0.934s 42
9. Jenson Button McLaren 1m17.059s +0.941s 38
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m17.180s +1.062s 40
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m17.626s +1.508s 28
12. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m17.644s +1.526s 36
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m17.712s +1.594s 35
14. Sergio Perez Force India 1m17.819s +1.701s 33
15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m17.868s +1.750s 27
16. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m17.964s +1.846s 47
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m18.340s +2.222s 43
18. Max Chilton Marussia 1m18.693s +2.575s 34
19. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m18.732s +2.614s 9
20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m20.244s +4.126s 38
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m22.418s +6.300s 13
22. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m32.127s +16.009s 3

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Like the new look – don’t like the terse paragraph style (a la BBC). I prefer paragraphs that are *paragraphs*, not isolated sentences. And Ferrari din’t have “a number of undated on the car”, but updates, I presume. 😉


Typical – I din’t pick the best moment for a typo, did I?


No, they can do 1.45 kilos per race (they just have to get out and push the car for 68 laps or so 😉 )


Good to see you back Random – I was starting to think you had disappeared for good 🙂


Cheers C63 🙂

Thanks to an unplanned relocation I was unfortunately unexpectedly temporarily sans internetically, but it’s all sorted now 🙂


Like the new look from the laptop for sure -Ii do not seem to have issues with caps.


Just love hearing that when the pinnacle of motorsport comes to a fantastic, fast circuit, they will actually be tooling around, trailing throttle with eyes glued to the fuel gauge – so much more exciting than simply racing each other like there’s no tomorrow. (I’d apologise for the sarcasm, but it was deliberate)


if I try to leave a reply, I get an error message advising that I should slow down as I am trying to post comments too quickly.


I will try to reply to my own comment


I thought only GazBoy was allowed to reply himself


that’s good, it appears to have fixed itself 🙂


Come quali we’ll know how far Merc is again. Red Bull and Ferrari seems much closer but Merc has more to show I’m sure.


@ Tealeaf

No Novak reminds me of Vettel for not only are they the same age but both also tend to have the same results e.g. both dominated 2011.


Hi James, can we please retain having the posters’ names in colour? It was useful previously as one could scan quickly down the posts looking for posts of people one likes. Now that is all monochromatic it seems a whole lot more difficult.

Gabo Rochinotti

Shouldn’t read kilos per lap instead of kilos per race? (before the last paragraph)


No, that’s correct. The cars now get approx 200 km/L of fuel 😉


Man, ive been thinking about this whole I’d love to see merc cut off the too drivers and not share data. Something tells me Rosberg would gain a significant overall advantage from this.

But then again that would probably not play well with Merc’s marketing department. I smell something funny and thats the smell of this “rivalry” being manufactured to promote their brand..

Anyway all I can see is “Merc is on top” after all the nonsense. No doubt running yet again some type of conservation mode to hide their 1 second, if not more, advantage on this (or any) track.


Considering that Rosberg studied an entire dossier on Lewis’ driving and this was well reported and documented and he still could not beat Lewis in the following race why would Rosberg have the advantage if data was no longer been shared.

Regrettably I have yet to find an F1 site where opinions are backed by facts so that we can have informed discussions.

James would it be possible to create another discussion group tier where participants justify their opinions with facts and not fiction, hope or some extra terrestrial signs. That’s the forum I would love to be reading where I can agree with others even if they support another team or driver as what they say is based on facts.



Something tells me Rosberg would gain a significant overall advantage from this……

I would be interested to hear your rationale for this hypothesis. It has been well documented that Rosberg has, more than once, had a peak at Hamiltons telemetry to see where he was losing time. Also, and this is the real clincher for me, how is Hamilton quicker, more economic (do you know they load his car with less fuel for the race which means less weight) and yet somehow it’s Rosberg that knows how to set a car up? It doesn’t really make stack up for me.


I get how hard it is for british fans to accept my opinion. Rosberg is the the one making the technical advances, Hamilton is using Rosbergs superior skill in setting up the car, which is to his advantage since he’s the better driver in finding laptime on the track. He gains far more from Rosbergs presence than Rosberg is from his.



Rosberg is the the one making the technical advances……

So Rosberg is actually working on the technical development of the Merc as well driving the car. Wow – he really must be special 😉

Seriously though, please provide some concrete evidence to back up your assertion’s or it’s just opinion – and opinions are just like a##holes, every one has got one!


I don’t know how Mercedes does it, but for a lot of teams the drivers don’t work on identical programs and the engineers use both sets of results to determine the set up for Saturday. This is largely about confirming new bits work as intended and back-to-back running is a good way of doing it. This part Mercedes wouldn’t want to compromise as it brings the other teams closer.

I suspect that on Saturday the drivers go their separate ways a bit more on set up to suit individual preferences – making the driver faster in the car, rather than making the car faster.

As to which driver benefits more from being told “he’s only faster than you in turns 8 and 11” in between the first and second run in Q3 I’ve no idea.



As to which driver benefits more from being told “he’s only faster than you in turns 8 and 11″ in between the first and second run in Q3 I’ve no idea…..

I was watching a programme a while back on Sky and Eddie Irvine was saying that telemetry like that has made a huge difference to drivers (particularly slower ones). In the ‘old days’ (pre-telemetry), drivers had little idea where they were losing time to their quicker teammates. But now, with the benefit of knowing that driver x is braking 2 meters later than driver y, driver y can close up. At least that was the gist of what Eddie said.


If data is not shared between Nico and Lewis, I doubt Lewis would be at any disadvantage. Lewis has always been the faster driver right from day one of a race weekend, Rosberg seems to make up times during Saturdays and Sunday presuming after going through Lewis’ data.


Something tells me you are wrong.

After Malaysia Rosberg caught up as he had Hamiltons set and data!


I guess JAonF1 doesn’t suffer from windtunnel correlation issues…the updates to the website work well 🙂


Hi James, correct me if I’m wrong but was Massa’s pace as fast as the Mercedes in the long runs on the soft? His last run was mostly in the mid 1:19s.


What was Mr.Congeniality (DR) doing playing it so close with El Diablo (PM)? That’s just asking for trouble!

Looks like the gap to AMG-MB is coming down slowly. Maybe under optimal conditions and a mistake, it might even close up completely. Could be an interesting qualifying for a change… In the race though AMG-MB have the thing sown up. Their PU is not only stronger, but also more efficient than the Renault and Ferrari.

( So much for extra power this weekend from Renault- what happened to it James? )


Meanwhile, I will be keeping track of the tennis this weekend in a bid to determine how Lewis will perform.

Yes, for some reason, Lewis and Nadal tend to have the same form at the same time especially on weekends in which both are working e.g. Nadal lost the 2014 Australian Open mainly thanks to injury likewise, Lewis had to retire from the Australian race due to mechanical issues.


I think it’s safe to say that barring problems Hamilton should go well on Sunday, so if you’re correct then that’s probably good news for Nadal 🙂


Well you want your theory to be correct because I think Djokovic will beat Nadal does that mean Rosberg will beat Hamilton on his strongest track? Would be a sucker blow just like the tennis if Nadal loses on his strongest type of court (clay).



Would be a sucker blow…..

I would have said what Rosberg did in Monaco was more akin to a sucker punch.


@ Tealeaf

No Novak reminds me of Vettel for not only are they the same age but both also tend to have the same results e.g. both dominated 2011.

Mike from Colombia

Would not conclude that Rosberg took the “initiative” at Monaco….maybe took the something else.

Really hope that Mercedes decides not to give Hamilton 4.5 sec pitstops this weekend.


For sure Lewis loves street circuits as he said they suit his driving style as he’s able to take more risks.

Once again Mercedes look strong in both the long and short runs but seeing as Rosberg seemed to struggle with the pressures of the qualifying run, there maybe a chance for somebody to grab P2 in qualifying.

Ferrari had set off the alarm bells with Alonso’s FP1 times and appear to be more competitive but the picture is still murky for just like 2013, Ferrari was similarly strong at the low downforce tracks and not so strong at the others.

At this moment in time Red Bull look somewhat off colour as the team aren’t too optimist of a good result because of those long straights.

Williams are looking decent as the best of the Mercedes customers and are capable of staging an upset but I doubt Massa’s luck could have changed overnight.

Pretty odd that Force India would suffer with tyre degradation considering Perez wants Pirell to bring back the softer tyres.

All in all, the race is set up to be a blockbuster especially so with the track being a the biggest fuel gazzler.


Force India’s problems could be down to not being able to get the rock hard tyres into the temperature range, if you can’t switch them on then they will not work and degrade


@ NickH

Shoot, I forgot. Thanks for the reminder.


Did both Alonso and Kimi run the new floor in FP2 or just Kimi? Either way, the new upgrades seem to be working well.


Kimi had engine locking problems in FP1, which can cause the engine to explode! from what I watched he was sat in the garage most of the session.


Only Kimi, Fernando used it in FP1.


Lol… Only when you type.

The New floor on the Ferrari looked effective.

Vettel luck maybe changing –


Alonso’s pace in FP2 was very similar cu Kimi’s, even tho’ Kimi had the new floor which took Alonso to top spot in FP1.

Are the Ferrari’s going to use the new floor, or they are just testing it here?


According to Marc Gene, if telemetry says it works, they will use it, along with the PU software update. Looking at the differences it made between Alo and Rai in FP1 and 2, it does seem to perform very well.


I hate change

Auto caps lockout seems to be on.


I had the same thing, also I couldn’t leave a reply without getting a message asking me to slow down as I was posting comments too quickly. Try re-booting, that seemed to solve my issue.


If the times are like this after qualifiers tomorrow, then it’s a great progress for other teams as they have REDUCED the gap to Mercedes to half a second.

On a more serious note, it would be better for other teams to shift focus to next year and let Lewis and Nico to battle it out for this season’s championship. mercedes is far more superior, they have conquered all teams in all types of circuit layout. On which circuit could Mercedes be beaten considering their current advantage? It will take a miracle for any team to beat Mercedes this season, and if any team is still putting resources in this year’s car after hungary TO BEAT MERCEDES , then the team is doom to suffer the same fate that kept them behind mercedes this season.

Alec Tronnick

What changes can the teams make to the engines for next year?

I know they can make limited “reliability” upgrades during this season, but can Reno design a completely new unit for 2015?

Ps like the new design James, awesome


I think its a fair bet that Renault and Ferrari will be redesigning their engines along the lines of the Mercedes ie with split MGU-H and better efficiency and weight distribution. I assume they will already have prototypes running on the dyno. How on earth they can do this while also trying to improve the performance of this years engines goodness knows. Also I assume the teams have to be designing next years car now and if the stories about Mercedes getting ‘extra advantage’ from designing theiir car around the engine better than their customer teams is to be believed, the teams will have a lot of work there while also trying to get more out of this year’s cars. The non mercedes customers will have more to do since the merc engine configuration probably won’t change much So much for the new regs helping to drive down costs!


Hi Alec,

By my reading of the regulations pretty much everything that will matter. The only frozen things from this year that I can see are the:

Cylinder bore spacing

Deck height

Bank stagger

Crank throw

Main bearing journal diameter

Rob bearing journal diameter

Aiir valve system including the compressor and pressure regulation devices.

The cylinder bore spacing is fixed at 80 mm +/- 0.1 mm, so the teams are all effectively running the same bore and stroke anyway. In the FIA’s view, 8% of the engine is carried over for 2015. But very little of this is a performance differentiator, as the main effects are small variations in weight and length of the engines.

So cylinder heads, valve timing, direct injection, turbo, intercooler, MGU-H and MGU-K are all free to be changed for next year. Within the dimension constraints, the teams can work to reduce the weight of the block too for 2015.

The 2015 engine locks in another 15% of the engine for 2016 and 2017, but these bits will largely define weight rather than power. The development of the engines really only gets locked down after 2018 with few changes allowed for 2019 and 2020.




Teams can make any changes they want to the engine next year as far as it’s within the regulation.


Like the new web design James 🙂

Spot on.

Come On Lewis you can do it




Noticed in practice 1 that the Bulls had severe problems with the front axle locking.

I wonder why this is? Could either be very stiff front suspension set up, or maybe the weight distribution/aero centre of pressure is set a bit too far rearwards (as Montreal is a rear limited, traction limited circuit I would assume most of the teams would run a more rear bias to protect the rear tyres). Could be. I noticed on Seb’s laps his traction seems pretty decent, so I guess the Bulls are very soft springs on the rear axle to maximise traction……………perhaps somebody could explain what set-up Red Bull are running.

Wow, that was a close shave (literally!) for Sutil and Mini-Mag! Bizarre…………

Bit surprised that Ferrari are going decently, considering their previous traction problems. Perhaps they have solved that with a new engine map?

Having said that, too early to wildly speculate. The track hasn’t rubbered in yet, so even with higher temperatures, if it doesn’t rain the track will; just get quicker and quicker.


For once their ‘upgrades’ seem to have worked. I hope they have as Ferrari v Red Bull will be good entertainment for the rest of the season

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