2015 Canadian Grand Prix: Friday Analysis

A fortnight on from the Monaco debacle which cost him a race victory, Lewis Hamilton has arrived in Canada with intent. The Briton attacked the circuit today, topping the timesheet in both sessions and experiencing a handful of excursions along the way. In what was a truncated FP2 session – rain effected for the second race weekend in succession – Mercedes were the only team to take a gamble on the wet track and with Hamilton’s day ending in the Turn Eight barriers, their rivals decision to remain in the garage was somewhat vindicated.

Hamilton At Level 11

As I mentioned on Twitter immediately after FP1 yesterday, the classic model of Hamilton has seemingly made a comeback. While it is a feature of his driving that we have seen less of so far this season, the reigning champion hit the track in FP1 and instantaneously flirted with the limit, even exceeding it on several occasions. Hamilton’s trait for arriving at a circuit, hitting level 11 and eventually pegging it back to a far more civilised 10 when qualifying arrives, seems to be the order of the weekend.

However, finding the wall in FP2 was not the fault of this aggressive approach. On intermediate tyres, with a small lake forming at the hairpin of Turn Eight, Hamilton demonstrated how a driver becomes a passenger when aquaplaning sets in. Second of the two Mercedes on track, Rosberg was able to avoid making the same mistake. Heading out onto the circuit in those conditions may have appeared to be a high risk strategy, but ultimately, the day’s running was over meaning that Hamilton’s trip to the barriers only came at a cost of a front wing.

Ferrari’s Dangerous Race-Pace

Albeit a truncated second session, Ferrari’s long run pace looked remarkably strong. Fuel loads are, of course, undisclosed, but the team’s pace on both compounds of tyre should have Mercedes concerned.

Ferrari are with Honda, as being the only engine manufacturers to have spent engine tokens ahead of this event and while Mercedes have introduced an upgrade aimed at improving reliability, which has corrected a suspected engine-knock and could therefore, allow them to run with more power, initial conclusions suggest that Ferrari’s three tokens have been well spent.

FP1 Timesheet

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.212
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.415
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1.509
4 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1.659
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1.693
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1.773
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1.809
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1.814
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1.916
10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 2.045
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 2.113
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2.227
13 Sergio Perez Force India 2.291
14 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 2.563
15 Jenson Button McLaren 2.574
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber 2.736
17 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 2.853
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 2.953
19 Roberto Merhi Manor 4.404
20 Will Stevens Manor 4.412

FP2 Timesheet

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.988
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.316
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.322
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 0.452
5 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 0.612
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 0.861
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus 0.876
8 Felipe Massa Williams 1.053
9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1.104
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1.123
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1.132
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1.273
13 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1.330
14 Sergio Perez Force India 1.379
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1.639
16 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1.669
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1.763
18 Jenson Button McLaren 2.147
19 Roberto Merhi Manor 3.543
20 Will Stevens Manor 3.746

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