After one wet and one dry session yesterday, the teams eventually managed to get a grasp on what Pirelli’s new compound could offer them in the future.
The third free practice session at the Gilles Villeuneve Circuit in Canada today was a mixed bag in terms of weather – the air was heavy and black cloud loomed. It did lightly spit in the pitlane, and experts thought this turn of conditions suggested the real rain was set for tomorrow’s race.
If that wasn’t enough for the teams to get their heads around, the session was delayed due to the work being carried out on the Armco barriers, which were damaged during a support race this morning.
By the time the session started, the track was damp, but McLaren’s Jenson Button discovered a dry line around most of the circuit. Button is renowned at relishing bad conditions — perhaps he was considering slicks?
Backing up his optimism, Button set the pace with a 1:26.340.
Joining the World Champion quartet of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg completed his installation lap and all five cars headed back into the pits.
Ferrari’s Alonso then headed back out into the gloom on a set of full wet tires. It’s thought this is to save his intermediates for qualifying. Second Ferrari driver Felipe Massa hit the top spot on the time sheets, clocking 1:23.492 as the conditions started to improve.
Nearing the end of the session, Alonso and Mark Webber tried their hands with the super soft tires.
McLaren’s Sergio Perez left the pitlane on a set of medium slick tires and Button was soon to follow on the same.
As the conditions led to a dry track, the times tumbled. The teams will be scrambling around preparing for qualifying in just two hours time.
The biggest question: Will it be wet or dry?
1 – [Red Bull] – Webber – 1:17.895
2 – [Force India] – Sutil – 1:18.248
3 – [Mercedes-Benz] – Hamilton – 1:18.732
4 – [Ferrari] – Alonso – 1:18.977
5 – [Red Bull] – Vettel – 1:19.131
6 – [Mercedes-Benz] – Rosberg – 1:19.457
7 – [Force India] – di Resta – 1:19.496
8 – [Ferrari] – Massa – 1:19.750
9 – [McLaren] – Button – 1:19.790
10 – [Lotus-Renault] – Raikkonen – 1:20.316