Vettel takes pole as Bottas impresses

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Sebastian Vettel has secured pole in a very tricky qualifying session that was once again dominated by the rain. Lewis Hamilton will start from the first row aside of the German. Surprise of the day however was Williams driver Bottas who mastered the mixed conditions to take third on the grid.

The weather continues to play an important role at Canada with qualifying starting under a light drizzle. As the track is still rather dry, all drivers are immediately out on track on the super soft tyres. Many however spin off on their first laps or go wide through the chicanes. As a result, everybody is back in after that single lap to change to intermediates as it seems to be too wet for slicks.

One of the first men out on track on the intermediates is Massa. His teammate Fernano Alonso got a bit blocked in the pitlane when the Brazilian changed from the slick tyres. Ferrari then opted to pull Alonso back into the pits to change the tyres there, rather than in a pitstop style tyre change.

With the first 12 times set after 6 minutes, Rosberg and Hamilton are on top of the timesheet, ahead of Button, Massa, Hulkenberg, Vergne and Di Resta.

2 minutes later Vettel and Webber posted their first times and are immediately on top of the times. At the same time, several drivers still find the conditions are very tricky, with Sutil taking the grass in an action to avoid a collision with a Sauber ahead. Rookies van der Garda and Bianchi also have obvious trouble keeping their cars on the track, repeatedly cutting a chicane or going long on the hairpin.

Just past the halfway mark, Vettel improves again with Rosberg slotting into second. Raikkonen also moved up from 17th to a more safe 4th place.

14 minutes into the session, the times are down to 1:23.840 by Rosberg thanks to a dry line clearly showing on the track. It seems though it is still a bit too slippery for slicks because of the continuing light rain. Vettel, among others, pits for a new set of intermediates.

With 4 minutes left, Massa improves to 1:23.735, followed by Webber who sets 1:23.247.

2 minutes later, Alonso goes fastest in 1:23.224. Bottas surprisingly is up there as well in third. Another minute later Vettel moves back to the top by going another full second faster.

Grosjean meanwhile is struggling in 19th with just one more lap possible for him. Di Resta is even worse off as he was just too late to cross the finish line to make it another lap. Grosjean did that, but slight increase of rain cost him at the end, leaving the Frenchman in 19th place. He will start from the back of the grid after the application of his 10 place grid penalty.

Out are Di Resta, Pic, Grosjean, Bianchi, Chilton and Van der Garde.

At he start of Q2, the track is more wet again, so everybody is still on intermediates while the dry line has disappeared completely. It's again very slippery while all cars are on track early on in the session. Massa for instance is using reverse after missing turn 3 on his first lap. As the session progresses, conditions appear to get worse and people are slipping all over the track. Alonso for instance missed the final chicane and returns to the track alongside the high orange kerbs. Gutierrez on the other hand missed the turn as well but chose to bump over the high kerbs instead.

Halfway into the session, Vettel moves ahead of a new set of inters. He's ahead of Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Vergne, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Alonso, Ricciardo and Bottas.

At about the same time, Hamilton and Sutil are both off the track in the same place as Massa earlier. The short run off track is used well today as Maldonado did the same in FP3.

With 5 minutes left, Perez, Gutierrez, Massa, Sutil, Maldonado and Button are all in danger of being eliminated. Bottas meanwhile continues to impress and improves to P3 just 3 minutes before the end of the session.

One minute later, Massa touches the white line under braking for turn 3 and ends up in the tyre wall. It's a good test for his brand new Ferrari F138 chassis, but unfortunately the end of qualifying for him. The crash immediately triggered a red flag with just 1'59 on the clock. This means that everybody is waiting at the end of the pitlane soon after in order to get a proper track position and attempt just one more flying lap.

As the light at the pitlane goes green, Gutierrez is the first to take the track, ahead of Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Cars are backing up each other at the final chicane in order to get themselves some space, making it unable for Button to cross the line in time, while Vettel simply dove into the pits again, realising he wouldn't make it anyway. All others are through and get to do a lap.

Hamilton managed to improve and moves up to P1, but the two winners are the Toro Rosso drivers who both move through to Q3. Out are Hulkenberg, Perez, Maldonado, Button, Gutierrez and of course Felipe Massa.

The start of Q3 is very similar to Q2 with 9 cars queuing at the end of the pitlane for the light to go green. Bottas is the only one not waiting on the light, but instead Williams keep him in for a few more seconds to have some free track ahead of him.

Halfway into the session and with the first runs completed, Vettel is on top, ahead of Hamilton, Bottas, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso, Vergne, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Sutil.

After some stops, drivers are doing 2 or 3 laps on their final set of intermediates. Raikkonen screws his first by going through the grass in turn 3. Alonso also messes up and completely misses the apex of the hairpin.

The track seems to get slower towards the end with several drivers failing to go faster, and essentially nobody managed to improve on their position after the first runs. This means Vettel on pole, Hamilton second and an impressive third place for Valtteri Bottas.


11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:22.3181:28.1661:25.42525
210Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:23.8011:27.6491:25.51231
317Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:23.4461:28.4191:25.89730
49Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:23.8401:28.4201:26.00832
52Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:23.2471:28.1451:26.20830
63Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:23.2241:28.7881:26.50430
718Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:24.1591:28.5271:26.54332
815Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:24.5511:28.7991:27.34829
97Kimi Räikkönen*Lotus-Renault1:24.4511:28.6671:27.43232
1019Daniel Ricciardo*STR-Ferrari1:24.7701:29.3591:27.94631
1111Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:23.8991:29.435-22
126Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:24.1761:29.761-23
1316Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:24.7761:29.917-24
145Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:24.0211:30.068-22
1512Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:24.4081:30.315-24
164Felipe MassaFerrari1:23.7351:30.354-20
1714Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:24.908--12
1820Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:25.626--10
198Romain Grosjean*Lotus-Renault1:25.716--13
2022Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:26.508--12
2123Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:27.062--12
2221Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:27.110--10

* Raikkonen drops 2 places on the grid for not starting from the fast lane at the end of the pitlane in Q2
* Ricciardo drops 2 places on the grid for not starting from the fast lane at the end of the pitlane in Q2 (promoting RAI back to 10th)
* Grosjean drops 10 places on the grid following his penalty incurred at the Monaco GP for causing a collision