But it was otherwise an underwhelming session as Pirelli's attempt to run the rule over its new experimental tyre was scuppered by poor weather conditions in Montreal.
Responding to recent criticisms and safety concerns relating to a number of incidents this season in which tyres have delaminated, the Italian manufacturer had planned for extensive running during Friday's two practice sessions of a new rubber at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
However, rain on Thursday, overnight and throughout Friday morning up until 45 minutes before the start of FP1 threw a spanner in the works.
It was not until the closing 15 minutes of the 90-minute session, and with a dry line appearing, that a handful of teams opted to assist Pirelli and bolt on a set of the modified tyres.
Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez for McLaren were the eventual guinea pigs.
But with conditions still tricky, only Perez conjured a timed lap as the quartet all quickly headed back into the pits to strap on the current medium compound.
Should the rain forecast for FP2 materialise, that will naturally scupper any further running and it is then unlikely Pirelli will gain the backing of all the teams to introduce the tyre for the British Grand Prix at the end of this month.
It means the teams will be allowed Friday practice at Silverstone to run with the experimental rubber, with the hope it will then be used for the German Grand Prix a week later.
Come the conclusion of the session it was the Force India driver who headed out on a fresh set of mediums just before the end to post the fastest time.
Di Resta posted a time of one minute 21.020secs, spearheading a rare British one-two in practice as McLaren's Jenson Button finished 0.088secs down.
Lotus' Romain Grosjean, who faces a 10-second grid penalty on Sunday for crashing into the back of Daniel Ricciardo during the Monaco Grand Prix 12 days ago, was third quickest just ahead of Alonso.
Kimi Raikkonen was half a second back in his Lotus, followed by Ricciardo, Monaco GP winner Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes and Perez, but with the Mexican 1.5secs adrift.
With the field strung out given the conditions, Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber completed the top 10, albeit with both two seconds back.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was down in 16th, four seconds off the pace, with a time hardly representative of what can be achieved on this track.
At the rear were Williams' Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan losing his front wing of a new chassis after running into a wall late on, and Marussia's Jules Bianchi who ran wide off track and was unable to recover.
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