Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor John Myburgh
After what seemed like an eternity between Monaco and Canada, and the controversy that surrounded the race and the two Mercedes drivers’ behaviour, qualifying could not have come faster. Renault talking about 100% for the first time and the surfacing of ‘illegal’ tests took us speeding into the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix weekend.
Throughout the practice sessions Lewis had the edge on Rosberg and it seems Vettel found his mojo again in Suzie (Mark II) by outpacing the always smiling Ricciardo; FP3 went to the Aussie though. Down at Ferrari rumours have been coming out in the paddock that they are looking to get rid of Kimi after 2015 but with Kimi getting the edge on Alonso in 2 out of three practice sessions, could he out-qualify they feisty Spanish Samurai?
And what about Williams? At the end of FP3 Massa got his FW36 slotted in between the Hamilton/Rosberg Mercedes sandwich, will we see Massa or Bottas up there again?
As things panned out, it was business as usual at the front, sort of. Rosberg managed to beat Hamilton to pole, making it count when it mattered. Bringing Suzie him in a surprising 3rd place was Vettel who was closely followed by Bottas and Massa.
Q1 got underway under a sunny sky with ambient temperature 23˚C and the track a nice and warm 46˚C. Massa and Bottas went to the top of the timesheets immediately with a 1m17.728 and 1:18.270 respectively. Bottas then went better to get a 1m17.696 but this was comprehensively eclipsed by a flying Rosberg who put a banker in at 1m16.690 while Hamilton had to abort his first flyer.
No mistakes on his second flyer though and Hamilton shot to the top of the timesheets with a stonking 1m16.438. In the mean time Massa went faster than Bottas with Magnuessen in 5th, just ahead of Button. With 9min to go, Alonso was in 7th, Hulkenberg in 8th and Raikkonen in 9th and the first 100% powered Renault powered car, Jean Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso in 10th. The Red Bulls was yet to set a time.
When the Bulls did emerge they slotted in just behind Button in 6th and 7th for Riccardo and Vettel respectively.
Hamilton was taking no prisoners though, clearly showing who is the fastest of the two Mercedes drivers, went faster still and put in a 1m15.750, more than 0.7s faster than second placed Rosberg.
With just under three minutes to go Perez spun his Force India at Turn 8, similar to what he did in final practice, trying to get away from the dropzone. While Perez was spinning other drivers started bolting on supersofts which helped Magnussen up to second, Button to fourth and Kvyat to seventh. The two Ferraris of Alonso and Raikkonen were down in 8th and 9th.
After a rather ‘quiet’ start to qualifying the last two minutes gave some entertainment. First Maldonado had to park his Lotus due to problems (100%
unreliable Renault PU not liking his driving style?) and then, with 16s of Q1 remaining, Marcus Ericsson put his Caterham into the wall at the exit of turn 9 brining an end to the session.
Thus, as Q1 ends Maldonado, Chilton, Bianchi, Kobayashi, Ericsson and Gutierrez were not taking part in any further activities for the afternoon. (Anyone notice Super Max ahead of Bianchi again?)
As Q2 started Sutil was the first on the track, closely followed by Bottas, Hulkenberg and Massa. Bottas was the first real contender to put a decent time on the board but Massa soon kicked him one place down to take over at the top with a 1m15.773, only slightly slower than Hamilton’s flying lap in Q1.
As Alonso came through he was up to third with Raikkonen in fourth, 0.3 and 0.5s off the pace set by Massa. As the two Mercedes drivers came through on their first timed laps they could not topple Massa and Rosberg took 2nd with Hamilton slotting in 3rd, 0.1s off Massa’s pace. At this point things were looking good for Williams to get into the
With 4min left of Q2 and more drivers coming through Raikkonen found himself down in 10th, seperated from Alonso by Ricciardo, Button, Hulkenberg and Magnussen. No sign of Vettel though, who was way down in 13th. Perez was struggling as well, one of the only non Renault drivers in the dropzone.
As the flag dropped for Q2 to come to an end Vettel dragged Suzie up to 5th. But Q2 belonged to Hamilton again who crossed the line just after his teammate in a staggering quick time of 1m15.0, 0.2s faster than Rosberg.
So as we lose Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Perez, Grosjean, Kvyat and Sutil, Williams celebrates a milestone as they get both cars into the top 10 at the Canadian Grand Prix for the first time since 2004!
So with P1 all but sorted, or so you may have thought, eyes were on the two Williams drivers and Red Bull; who would be taking the first place behind the Silver Arrows?
Bottas did not wait long and as the lights turned green he headed for the track and put the marker down at 1m15.550. He was closely followed by Rosberg and Hamilton. Rosberg crossed the line in 1m14.946 followed by Hamilton who crossed the line in 1m15.946.
Massa crossed the line in 4th just behind Bottas. Vettel slotted in into 5th with Alonso 6th, Vergne 7th and Button 8th but as Ricciardo crossed the line he went faster than Vettel again and push the quadruple world champion down into 6th. The only car yet to run, Raikkonen who emerged with just under 4min left of Q1.
Brand new supersofts and into the final part and ultimate fight for pole. Showing his trust in his teammate Hamilton opted to follow his teammate out for their last flying laps.
Raikkonen crossed the line in 8th but up front Rosberg was on fire! Going even faster that on his first run he crossed the line in 1m14.874 and beating Hamilton to pole by 0.079s. Somehow Vettel got Suzie flying and crossed the line in 3rd, 1m15.548. Bottas could not go faster but for teammate wars, he beat Massa by 0.028s. Ricciardo, only for the 2nd time this year got out-qualified by Vettel and slotted in 6th with a time of 1m15.589.
Alonso got his red
truck Ferrari over the line in 1m15.814, followed by Vergne, Button and his teammate Raikkonen.
The race is tomorrow but how is Hamilton feeling now that Rosberg pipped him on a track that he is normally a master of? And are we now seeing a resurgence from Vettel or is this just a blip for Ricciardo?
Tomorrow will be a great race!
Final Qualifying Results:
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull|
|8||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso|