Lewis Hamilton lapped fastest in opening Canadian Grand Prix practice on Friday while Felipe Massa gave Formula One’s newest sponsors plenty of exposure by crashing his Williams into a Heineken hoarding.
Triple world champion Hamilton, a four times winner in Montreal who arrived fresh from victory in Monaco, led a Mercedes one-two with championship-leading team mate Nico Rosberg.
The Briton clocked a best time of one minute 14.755 seconds, 0.331 quicker than the German.
The only issue Hamilton faced was when he was forced to miss the final chicane to avoid hitting the McLaren of Fernando Alonso after the
Spaniard slowed right down in front of him.
“A bit dangerous from Fernando there,” he said of his former team mate.
Massa brought out the first red flag of the weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after losing control at turn one, destroying the rear wing as the car rammed backwards into the hoarding that fronted a tyre wall.
Dutch beer company Heineken announced a multi-year deal on Thursday, with the Montreal signage a welcome ‘gift’ from commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone.
“I think I had a problem,” said Massa over the team radio as his practice session was curtailed after just seven laps. “I cancelled the DRS (drag reduction system) and lost the rear completely.”
Ferrari, yet to win a race this season, have brought a new turbocharger to the seventh round as the sport’s oldest and most successful team attempts to close the gap to champions Mercedes.
Sebastian Vettel finished third fastest, just under 0.5 seconds off the pace set by Hamilton, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fifth. The Ferrari duo were split by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The Dutch teenager is looking to recover after crashing out in Monaco two weeks after he became the sport’s youngest race winner in Spain at 18 years old.
Australian Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who started on pole in Monaco and would probably have won that race but for a pit-stop error by the team, was back in 11th spot.
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas was sixth fastest with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg seventh and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz eighth.
Alonso was 10th fastest, behind Force India’s Sergio Perez. McLaren’s Jenson Button was 12th fastest but was forced back into the garage with an engine problem soon after going out for his final run.