After an eventful few practice sessions, one car hitting the wall and putting itself out in each session, we’re onto Qualifying. Lewis Hamilton has been very quick all weekend topping P1 and P2, the Ferrari’s look a lot better just behind him and Sebastian Vettel finished off P3 in top spot. Jenson Button has had a difficult couple of days after issues with his car, a lengthy rebuild hindering his progress and then balance problems in the final practice session.
We’re under way in a somewhat sunny Canada. The weather is always a worry here as rain can come and go within 10 minutes (Ask Sebastian Vettel about Jenson Button in the rain last year, in fact, don’t.). Everyone is out, and we should be looking at around a 1:15 to 1:16 lap for this first session, dropping into the 1:14′s for the final lap.
Hamilton comes out and flies in a 1:16.2, not quite enough to retire to the pits. A few into the 1:15′s now and Alonso leads on a 1:15.1, a nice time to stick himself back in the pits and save tyres, which he doesn’t. People are all testing the limits, hopefully we won’t have another man into the wall of champions a la Bruno Senna in practice.
Hulkenberg pops into 1st with a 1:15.1, a little quicker than Alonso and looking good in that Force India on softs. Senna almost proves me right and gives the wall of champions a little love tap with his tyre and gets himself into 14th. Alonso back into 1st on a 1:14.9 surely time to pit. Now we’ll have a few people putting the Super Soft tyres on and seeing how much they can push the limits.
Schumacher takes it a little quicker, still on the softs until Vettel pops in a 1:14.7 to show he’s still got it. Raikkonen has put on the Super Softs, a worry for Lotus. They’ve looked like they have an awesome car but still can’t get things perfect. Hamilton and Button both out on Super Softs as well, that is odd, they’ve looked very quick this weekend. Di Resta goes 5th on the Super Softs, Button is on a flier though, albeit on Super Softs, and even with a tow down the final straight can only go 2nd. Hamilton follows up in 3rd. Vettel still leading with a 1:14.6.
Petrov puts in a nice lap which takes him above Vergne in the Toro Rosso, a few smiles in Caterham for that. Raikkonen is still down in 16th, and the flag is down. Vergne finishes his lap and is slower than both Caterhams! Kovalainen going quicker on that lap than his team-mate.
Out in Q1: 18th Kovalainen (Caterham) 19th Petrov (Caterham) 20th Vergne (Toro Rosso) 21st De La Rosa (HRT) 22nd Glock (Marussia) 23rd Pic (Marussia) 24th Karthikeyan (HRT)
So, Red Bull only using one set of Soft Tyres with McLaren using one set of each tyre, although McLaren may start Q2 on the same tyres they finished that session on. The talk is that the Soft Tyre can actually do the same sort of times as the Super Softs once it’s warmed up to full temperature after 3 or 4 laps which would look right as Vettel set the quickest lap on some well used Softs. Rosberg throws that Merc through the last chicane to a good 1:14.5 after a little tow from Vettel. Hamilton slightly betters that to go top, until Vettel nails in a 1:14.1 on Super Soft.
Top Ten ‘should’ all be in the 1:14′s here. Raikkonen still struggling, can’t get into that 1:14 zone, he is 10th at the moment. Button still complaining about locking up in the hairpins, he’s 6th and back in the pits. Alonso has fitted a new set of Super Softs after an off on his Softs he originally went out on. It’s such a beautiful track this, Alonso gliding around this track looking like the barriers are leading him around on a wire. He puts in a 1:14.3 to go 4th. Raikkonen needs to get a shuffle on, he’s 12th and out so far.
Kobayashi goes 7th fastest, Button could be struggling now, definitely as Di Resta goes 7th to drop Kobayashi to 8th. Button has got another one in but is still only 8th behind Di Resta. Lotus are struggling with Grosjean and Raikkonen both in the drop zone. Grosjean’s next lap only gets him to 11th, Raikkonen gets 10th and then gets knocked out by Massa who goes 8th. Button pushed down to 9th. Grosjean is looking quick on this lap as Button heads into the pits so won’t improve. Grosjean is in 7th and Button is down to 10th. Maldonado was about to put himself into the Top Ten and Button out until he clouts the rear of his car against the wall of champions and catches it before proper wiping out. Breathe Jenson, your ok now.
Out in Q2; 11th Kobayashi (Sauber) 12th Raikkonen (Lotus) 13th Hulkenberg (Force India) 14th Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 15th Perez (Sauber) 16th Senna (Williams) 17th Maldonado (Williams)
I’m sure Maldonado’s mechanics (no, not a new band) will be very pleased with him for giving them a late shift to work tonight. Top Ten are ready and waiting. Both McLarens head straight out, weaving like mad to heat up those tyres, oddly Lewis on Super Softs and Jenson on Softs. Di Resta sets sector times and comes back in to save tyres. Lewis bins his first lap, obviously made a mistake. Rosberg takes 1st, but is quickly swallowed up by Massa with a 1:14.4. Hamilton matches that but blows everyone away with a 1:13.9 to take first by over half a second. Alonso gets within 0.2 of that for 2nd.
As we all head in for new boots, this is the top 5 so far, Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Webber. Button has stayed out on those Softs, waiting for them to come to life and as I say that, he heads into the pits, he’s 9th and slowest of the drivers who have set a lap. Di Resta has still only set sectors. And that’s Jenson’s day done. Vettel is on a quicker lap on the new tyres, he is a class act, even quicker than before on a 1:13.7. Hamilton and Rosberg can’t beat it. Can Alonso or Webber, not a chance. Di Resta sets a lap and overtakes Button and Schumacher to go 8th. Vettel has it, and deserves it, a lot. What a lap, what a driver. It’s only the car? Webber was half a second off him and he was 0.3 of a second quicker than Hamilton in 2nd.
Top Ten Results
1st Vettel (Red Bull) 2nd Hamilton (McLaren) 3rd Alonso (Ferrari) 4th Webber (Red Bull) 5th Rosberg (Mercedes) 6th Massa (Ferrari) 7th Grosjean (Lotus) 8th Di Resta (Force India) 9th Schumacher (Mercedes) 10th Button (McLaren)
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