A late lap from Paul Di Resta saw him go fastest in first practice for the Canadian GP

Force India driver P1 on drying track

By Mike Wise in Montreal.   Last Updated: 07/06/13 9:35pm

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A late lap from Paul Di Resta saw him go fastest in first practice for the Canadian Grand Prix on Friday.

On a drying track, the Force India driver set a time of 1:21.020s in the closing seconds of the 90-minute session to go 0.088s faster than McLaren's Jenson Button.

Lotus's Romain Grosjean was third fastest from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus). The top ten was completed by Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Sergio Perez (McLaren), Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Mark Webber (Red Bull).

Di Resta's team are contesting their 100th grand prix this weekend and are hopeful of earning themselves another good result at the 4.361km Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Yet the Scot's headline-grabbing time was more a case of good timing than pure performance. The session was characterised by changing conditions, with the track sodden at its outset but drying rapidly at its conclusion.

The weather in Montreal has, to say the least, been grim since Thursday afternoon. Rainfall has been incessant and yet it finally ceased not long before practice got underway.

Earlier, it had seemed likely that the new tyre construction that Pirelli is debuting in practice ahead of a planned introduction at the British Grand Prix might not get a run out at all.

Conditions were dry enough for the unmarked tyres to make an appearance in the final 20 minutes, although Di Resta's time was set on mediums.

He had hardly featured before then and neither had Button, who moments before had leapt from nowhere to go almost 1.5s quicker than the field.

Mercedes had run one-two earlier in the session when conditions were suited to intermediate tyres. Rosberg (1:26.051s) was fastest 40 minutes in, with Lewis Hamilton moving second fastest before they were split by Vettel around the hour-mark.

Hamilton ended the session 16th overall over four seconds off the pace but did not go out on slick tyres. Some drivers - notably Button, Perez, Alonso and Massa - tried the new tyre, although they have another chance to do so in P2.

Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne and Caterham's Alexander Rossi - who replaced Charles Pic for the session - were the first to make the switch to slicks and both found the going difficult.

Di Resta's team-mate Adrian Sutil also spun but the session's biggest accident came when Pastor Maldonado lost control of his Williams and hit the wall at Turn Four.

The Venezuelan is racing a new chassis this weekend after his heavy shunt in Monaco but a damaged front wing seemed the extent of the damage on this occasion.

Maldonado was 21st fastest ahead of Jules Bianchi, whose session also ended prematurely when he went down the escape road at Turn Three.

P2 starts at 7pm BST but with the weather forecast set for the day, it remains to be seen whether the track continues to dry out.

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