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Canadian GP: Alonso beats Mercedes duo in first practice

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the opening practice session for this weekend's Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard managed to set a time just 0.016 seconds faster than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton was fractionally ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg during the morning's dry practice session at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest in his Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas's Williams and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is characterised by long straights and slow corners and it was the Mercedes-powered cars that filled most of the top 10 positions, with both McLaren and Williams impressing early on in the weekend.

But the session belonged to Alonso, who was trialling a number of new upgrades in his Ferrari. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished the session in ninth place.

After some early morning drizzle, the first half of the session was held in dry, sunny conditions and it was characterised by drivers struggling on the low grip track, either locking up at the Turn 10 hairpin or cutting the final chicane.

Dark rain clouds developed throughout the morning and the final minutes just escaped a heavy shower of rain.

Just before the hour mark, Marussia's Jules Bianchi was in trouble after he damaged the right-hand side of his car after running wide and hitting the wall at Turn 4. He was able to return to the pits slowly with suspension damage.

Brazilian Felipe Massa - celebrating his 200th race weekend in F1 - had to end his session early after a battery problem with his Williams.

Nico Hulkenberg was an early spinner in the session, losing control at Turn 8 in his Force India after he placed his wheels on the grass braking for the chicane and was able to continue unharmed.

Only one reserve driver ran in FP1, American Alexander Rossi took over Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham seat. He finished the session 22nd and slowest overall.

Pos Driver                Team                  Time      Gap      Laps
 1. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m17.238s           21
 2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes              1m17.254s  +0.016s  25
 3. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m17.384s  +0.146s  32
 4. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m18.131s  +0.893s  28
 5. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes     1m18.361s  +1.123s  20
 6. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault      1m18.435s  +1.197s  26
 7. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m18.446s  +1.208s  33
 8. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes      1m18.514s  +1.276s  31
 9. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari               1m18.578s  +1.340s  15
10. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault    1m18.643s  +1.405s  14
11. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m18.733s  +1.495s  30
12. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes  1m18.959s  +1.721s  22
13. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari        1m19.108s  +1.870s  24
14. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m19.142s  +1.904s  32
15. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault    1m19.177s  +1.939s  21
16. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault         1m19.340s  +2.102s  37
17. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes     1m19.575s  +2.337s  7
18. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari        1m19.804s  +2.566s  15
19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari      1m20.200s  +2.962s  15
20. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari      1m20.844s  +3.606s  26
21. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault      1m21.404s  +4.166s  33
22. Alexander Rossi       Caterham-Renault      1m21.757s  +4.519s  27

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