Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari stormed to the 54th pole position of his F1 career in the qualifying session of the Canadian Grand Prix. He was just ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes on P2 and Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing on P3. Lewis Hamilton joins Verstappen in the second row at P4. Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo complete the third row of the grid.
Sebastian Vettel Takes a Closely Fought Pole
Q1: Grosjean’s wretched luck in 2018 continues
The first qualifying session started with air temperatures at 22 degrees C and track temperatures at 44 degrees C at the Gilles Villenueve Circuit. Barely had the qualifying session commenced, when Romain Grosjean‘s car started spewing huge plumes of smoke in the pit lane. The Haas driver could not set a time. There were engine scares for Carlos Sainz as well, but the Renault team got them sorted.
Most drivers started on the pink-striped hypersoft tyres. The much maligned Brendon Hartley set an impressive 8th fastest time. His teammate Pierre Gasly was unlucky to be eliminated along with Lance Stroll, Sergey Sirotkin, Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean. Vettel topped Q1 with a time of 1:11.710, with the McLarens just scraping through to Q2.
Q2: Ricciardo gets his act together
Most top cars started Q2 on the ultrasoft tyres except the Red Bulls who were on hypersofts. Daniel Ricciardo, who had been slower than his teammate throughout the weekend topped Q2 with a time of 1:11.434. Vettel looked to be going faster than him on his final run, but had to abort his lap in the end due to unusual traffic.
Drivers eliminated were Kevin Magnussen, Brendon Hartley, Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. Both the Renaults and Force India cars managed to reach Q3.
Q3: Vettel sets a new lap record
The top ten shootout was expected to be close and so it turned out. But Lewis Hamilton had an uncharacteristically off day, never threatening for pole position. He locked up his front tyres on his flying laps and was outqualified by his teammate.
Sebastian Vettel went quickest early on and then again improved his timing for a lap record of 1:10.764s. Valtteri Bottas got to within a tenth of that pace for a front row start. Max Verstappen, who was fastest in all three Free Practice sessions, slotted his car at P3, just two-tenths shy of pole.
Close Performance of the Top Three teams bode well for a Close Race
Come Sunday, the fans should be treated to an interesting race at the circuit in Montreal. The top-three teams are quite evenly matched in performance and there is a high probability of Safety Car periods. The infamous “wall of champions” is sure to claim a few victims, which will make for a twist in strategy. Buckle up for a nail-biting race in Canada.
Canadian GP Qualifying Results:
|3||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:12.008||1:11.472||1:10.937||16|
|6||3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:12.459||1:11.434||1:11.116||18|
|8||31||Force India Mercedes||1:12.577||1:12.141||1:12.084||14|
|10||11||Force India Mercedes||1:12.702||1:12.395||1:12.671||13|
|12||28||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:12.587||1:12.635||17|
|16||10||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:13.047||8|
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