Bottas leads a short lived FP1 in Montreal, suspended for a CCTV issue

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Photo credits: Alfa Romeo Racing

Formula 1 is back on track after a week of stop for the eighth round of the season as it’s time for the first free practice session of the weekend at the Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit.

A weekend in which all eyes are set on the Astons, who after an impressive kick-off that saw Fernando Alonso step into the podium are now looking to become a consistent contender for second place in the constructors standings.

Following Mercedes’ lead – who debuted a quite effective set of upgrades between Monaco and Barcelona – the Brits will hit the track with a revised AMR23: a new and more aggressive sidepod design and an altered floor that are set to improve performance.

And what better way to test it out than Friday’s sessions?

A Friday that didn’t start on a high note for F1 with FP1 coming to halt only a couple minutes after the start, as a red flag was waved out as Pierre Gasly’s Alpine stopped at Turn 8 for a driveshaft issue.

Mercedes was getting ready to return on track and sent both W13 at the end of the pitlane, where they stayed for a few minutes until it became clear things were taking too long.

“Both cars headed to end of pit lane but then a problem in race control meant the circuit was not reopened while it is resolved. This issue was only communicated when cars reached end of pit lane. So we have brought the cars back as they would have lost any useful tyre temperature,” explained the team in a note.

And reasons behind the delay soon get clarified.

While car number ten is taken back into the garage, FIA announces a delay in the restart of the session “due to issues with the local CCTV infrastructure around the circuit,” that “local organisers are working to resolve.”

A further note makes it clear that the issue is not quick to be fixed.

“The delay will be longer as the CCTV is not synced correctly and until the issue has been fixed we cannot run on track. This system is a local installation and they are continuing to work to resolve the problem. The clock will continue to run down on FP1 and the session won’t be extended as there must be 2.5hrs between FP1 and FP2. We are looking at options to extend FP2.”

Red Bull was planning to make the most out of the session, as Max Max Verstappen had gone out on track ahead of everyone setting his first and only timed lap of the session – 1m20.154s – running on a RB19B sporting an aerodynamic load-measuring device.

Data that will have to wait a bit more to be collected, as with ten minutes left on the clock the decision is to call off FP1 and extend what was supposed to be the second session of the day to a total of 90 minutes, starting 30 minutes earlier than planned.

The session ends with a rather unusual top 3: it is Valterri Bottas leading the way followed by the two Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.