The fastest car through the speed trap in first practice today was not a Mclaren – but a Renault.
Take a closer look at the data from first practice in Canada including an interactive chart of all the drivers’ lap times below.
Tick/untick drivers’ names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom
Renault fastest in speed traps
Red Bull’s Christian Horner has complained about the Renault engines being – he claims – 20-30bhp down on their rivals engines. So how were the R30s the quickest cars through the speed traps by 4kph in this session, with Vitaly Petrov clocking 319.2kph?
This is most likely explained by different downforce levels. During practice the BBC said McLaren, who have often been the quickest cars through the speed traps this year, were running a higher downforce rear wing than their rivals.
McLaren may think they can find more lap time by trading off their straight line speed advantage for more downforce, making them quicker in the corners yet still reasonably competitive on the straights.
As for Renault, they were a couple of tenths of a second off their benchmark rivals Mercedes. Let’s see if they continue to show the same performance through the rest of the practice sessions.
Teams may choose to trim their downforce for the race to improve their ability to overtake, make themselves harder to pass, and reduce their fuel consumption.
The fastest Cosworth-powered car was Bruno Senna’s HRT, ranked 12th at 309.1 kph.
The Red Bulls, who are not using their F-duct this weekend, ranked ninth (Sebastian Vettel, 312.5kph) and 20th (Mark Webber, 306.2kph).
McLaren faster than they look
We’ve seen McLaren top the times sheets on Fridays several times before this year.
But the manner in which they did it today suggests their full advantage over their rivals is greater than Jenson Button’s 0.158 second margin over Michael Schumacher.
In the past we’ve seen them do a lot of low-fuel running, working on their qualifying performance. Today each of their drivers did a single stint with what appears to be a reasonably low fuel load followed by a longer stint.
All of their closest rivals set their times later in the session, as the track became cleaner and grippier.
Although Button set the fastest time Lewis Hamilton set the quickest three sectors – had he strung them together he would have matched Button’s lap to within three thousandths of a second.
Expect the lap times to get much quicker in the second session, assuming it stays dry. In the last F1 race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2008 the fastest time of the weekend was set in second practice before the track started to break up. The best lap, a 1’15.752 set by Hamilton, was 1.8 seconds faster than the best from first practice.
|Car||Driver||Car||Best lap||Gap||Lap||At time||Laps|
|5||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’18.549||0.422||27||93||27|
|8||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’19.097||0.970||23||89||25|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’19.373||1.246||12||64||12|
|14||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’19.609||1.482||15||65||26|
|16||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’20.320||2.193||26||91||27|
|17||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||1’20.584||2.457||20||90||21|
|18||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’20.823||2.696||25||88||28|
|24||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||No time|