It will be Nico Rosberg starting tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix from pole position after beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton to 1st place in todays qualifying.
In the first qualifying session of the day most drivers, when they eventually left their pit box, were on the soft compound tyres and for Bottas, he was able to be the first to start a timed lap and with a 1:18:270 set the early benchmark. This was before his team-mate popped in a lap time to move ahead of Bottas. The two would stay just behind the Mercedes duo for most of the session.
Only 21 cars actually took part in Q1 today after Esteban Gutierrez was forced to sit out qualifying following his FP3 crash.
The track itself saw a temperature rise of 13 degrees from the heat of FP3 but despite this some cars need to do a few laps to warm up tyres before being able to set a fast time. After completing his warm up laps, Rosberg went top of the session by over a second to Massa. It took Lewis a little bit longer to challenge Rosberg for top spot after he ran over the run off down at turn one on the start of his timed lap.
Lewis wasn’t the only one to have some issues stopping on time at turn one as Kobayashi was forced into going over gravel on the apex of turn 2 after running wide. As for Raikkonen, he wasn’t able to get enough stability through turn 2 and slid wide.
But once Hamilton set his first flying lap he took top spot by 0.252s to Rosberg. Nico Rosberg was suffering radio issues with the team at that point, with the team not being able to hear the driver. But whilst this was being broadcasted, the driver was setting fastest 1st and 2nd sector of the session but ended lap 0.033s down to Lewis. Who actually extended his lead by 0.688s at top of time sheet with a lap time of 1:15:750.
But now with the clock ticking down and drivers aiming to get away from the drop zone Sergio Perez went for a spin at turn 8 with four minuets remaining. The spin itself was similar to his spin in FP3 with his wheel touching the white line/grass at the side of the track. This was then followed up by Maldonado parking up and bringing his qualifying to an end. At the time he was running in 17th place and in the drop zone.
But that wasn’t an end to the session, that came as Ericsson brought out the red flag with 16 seconds remaining of the session after crashing into the wall on the exit of turn 9. He used a lot of the curb of turn 9 after running wide and the reduced turning space plus his speed resulted in the Caterham spinning round and hitting the wall.
The full classification after Q1 was Hamilton, Magnussen, Rosberg, Button, Massa, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Alonso, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Vergne, Vettel, Sutil, Grosjean, Perez, Maldonado, Chilton, Bianchi, Kobayashi, Ericsson and Gutierrez.
Now into Q2, the session was being topped by Massa for most of the session with a lap time of 1:15:773.
At the start of the session all cars running out on track were on the supersoft compound, including Mercedes who actually set slower lap times than Felipe Massa.
When Vettel was out on track for his final run of the session he was sat down in 13th place, 0.821 off of Massa’s session topping time. As he stormed around the track on his timed lap he was able to find enough time to get him out of the drop zone and move up to 5th place.
As the other drivers bidding to get into Q3 set their lap times Vergne was able to nudge into the top 10, by 0.045 of a second. But for Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Perez, Grosjean, Kyvat and Sutil, their qualifying was over.
But whilst they aimed to get into Q3, the Mercedes duo were still attacking the track to try to top the session from the Williams’. For Rosberg, he was the first Mercedes to cross the line and was able to go top of the session by around half a second. But despite a late push, it wasn’t good enough for Nico as Lewis romped home to take the top spot in Q2 by just over two tenths of a second.
Competing in the top 10 shoot out for the Canadian Grand Prix was Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Bottas, Ricciardo, Vettel, Alonso, Button, Raikkonen and Vergne.
First to head out in Q3 was Valtteri Bottas, just as the clock struck the ten minuets remaining mark. When he headed out on track he was on new supersoft tyres. Soon after Bottas, more cars flowed out on track with Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso following suit.
The benchmark time of Q3, set by Bottas was 1:15:550. A time faster than his Q2 time but unfortunately for him, it wasn’t fast enough to keep Rosberg and Hamilton behind. Rosberg took to the top spot with a 1:14:946, enough to keep Hamilton behind by just six hundredths of a second.
When every car, but Raikkonen, had set their first lap times the order was: Rosberg, Hamilton, Bottas, Massa, Ricciardo, Vettel, Alonso, Vergne, Button and Raikkonen.
Surprisingly, from my perspective at least, Ferrari hadn’t sent Raikkonen out for a banker lap time in the initial stages of Q3 but once every other car had returned to the pits he hit the track. The actual reason behind this was because he had one less set of the supersofts spare for Q3.
Unfortunately, this tactic didn’t seem to be paying Ferrari any favours as the rest of the field had returned to track on their out laps as Kimi set his first lap time of the session. Only good enough for eighth place and backed off once it was complete, bringing an end to his session.
For the rest of the field, once the chequered flag dropped Vettel moved ahead of the Williams pair and took third place. As for the battle for pole, Nico extended his lead at the top and a poor lap by Lewis meant pole went to the current championship leader. Despite their pace across the previous session, the Williams pair ended up qualifying behind Vettel but ahead of Ricciardo and the rest of the field, taking 4th and 5th place on the provisional grid.
The provisional grid for tomorrow’s Grand Prix is:
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:17.470||1:16.109||1:15.548||18|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:17.113||1:15.897||1:15.589||20|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.897||1:16.300||21|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:18.235||1:16.472||19|
|Q1 107% Time||1:21.052|
So who’s your favourite to convert their qualifying position into a win tomorrow? I believe Lewis Hamilton will take the win, simply because of how well he always does in Montreal. But it should be interesting to see how the Williams do in the race after what they showed during qualifying.