Qualy: Vettel nabs his third Montreal pole

Saturday 08-June-2013 19:11

Sebastian Vettel continued to dominate qualifying in Canada, securing his third successive pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

The German, who has yet to claim the victory in Montreal, put in a 1:25.425 on a wet Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to edge Hamilton by less than a tenth.

However, the star of the show was Williams rookie Valtteri Bottas.The Finnish driver put in a 1:25.897 to take third place, just four-tenths off the pace.

Nico Rosberg was fourth ahead of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso.

Qualifying 1
It had been drizzling on and off all morning in Montreal and as the session started no-one was sure if it would get better or worse. The track was just16C.

It was not wet enough for anything but Inters, but it was dry enough to tempt the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen to attempt slick tyres. He came back in after one lap and an excursion across the grass. Others who had tried the gambit also came in to get Inters without setting a time.

So despite the frenetic activity on track with cars running over the final chicane and running on at the Casino hairpin, nobody had set a time at the fifteen minute mark. When they did, the times rapidly started to tumble with a sequence of cars in P1:
Vergne 1:28.204
Massa 1:28.093
Hamilton 1:27.308
Rosberg 1:26.781
Vettel 1:26.293
Hamilton 1: 25.944
Vettel 1:24.708

Alonso had a scary moment when he lost control just after Turn 1, slid his car on the kerbs and almost ended up nosing into the barriers on the outside of the track. He got it stopped just in time. There were barrier-threatening moments going on all round the track.

The P1 time still kept being whittled down:
Hamilton 1:24.544
Vettel 1:24.003
Rosberg 1:23.840
Hamilton 1:23.801

With four minutes to go the danger positions were: 15.Ricciardo, 16.Massa, 17.Button, 18.Chilton, 19.Vergne, 20.Pic, 21.Bianchi, 22.Van der Garde

Massa the set fastest time of 1:23.735 to escape, which was bettered by Mark Webber with a 1:23.247. Button moaned his way through traffic to get a P5, Bottas jumped up to P2, Vergne took P9 - by which stage Romain Grosjean and Paul DiResta had been shoved into the dropzone along with the Caterhams and Marussias.

Paul DiResta managed P16, but it looked like Romain Grosjean was struggling to get heat into his tyres. DiResta's safety didn't last long because Esteban Gutierrez then demoted him back down to P17 again. Di Resta tried one more time but stayed P17.

So out went: 17.DiResta, 18.Pic, 19.Grosjean, 20.Bianchi, 21.Chilton, 22.Van der Garde.

It was interesting that both the Force India and the Lotus are light on their tyres and hence struggle to get heat into them (although both had team-mates who would ultimately make it to the top 10).

Qualifying 2
Everyone was out the moment the green light came on, this time on Inters. It had looked as though we were nearing the crossover point between Inters and slick tyres in Q1, but it was now much wetter, almost the crossover between Inters and wets.

Jean-Eric Vergne set the benchmark time of 1:30.033, Mark Webber edged it down carefully to a 1:29.677, before Hamilton reduced it to a 1:29.289.

Many drivers were exploring (and failing to find) the best braking point into the final chicane and skipping it - Alonso did it neatly and threaded out through the small gap there, Gutierrez bounced and slid his car over the 'sausage' kerb. Sutil, Hamilton and Vettel all followed suit.

Vettel took P1 to 1:28.825 and then lowered it further to a 1:28.146.

Running into the final four minutes the danger positions were: 8.Alonso, 9.Ricciardo, 10.Bottas, 11.Massa, 12.Perez, 13.Gutierrez, 14.Sutil, 15.Maldonado, 16.Button

Teams pitted for fresh Inters - Button moved up to P7, Perez to P6, Valtteri Bottas impressed with a P3 time. This left Alonso in P13 and Massa in P14 - with just 2:30 left on the clock.

Vergne took P6, Raikkonen P5, Alonso made himself safe in P5 and then cameras switched to Felipe Massa sliding into the barriers near the Turn 3 escape road. The impact was so strong and the car in such a vulnerable position that the sessions was red-flagged to recover it.

There was just 1:59 left on the clock and with no rain after Massa's accident - hence a drying, maybe quicker track - all 15 cars gathered at the pitlane exit in a rush to get out again.

Jenson Button failed to get out early enough, a massive mistake by the team considering he was down in P12 and with everyone trying to find themselves space he ended up missing one final flying lap, crossing the line two seconds too late.

Daniel Riccciardo grabbed P9, then Adrian Sutil made it into the top 10 eliminating both Perez and Hulkenberg from Q3. Out went: 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Perez, 13.Maldonado, 14.Button, 15.Gutierrez, 16.Massa

It had been a bad session for Massa having had two accidents in the previous race and now one that left him in P16. But it was worse for McLaren who saw both cars fail to get into Q3. Hero of the session was Bottas in the Williams who had made it into his first ever Q3. Di Resta will not be happy that his team-mate made Q3 yet he couldn't get out of Q1.

Qualifying 3
Another queue in the pitlane which Kimi Raikkonen immediately jumped to get ahead of Mark Webber as the lights went green. Sebastian Vettel was out first and set provisional pole at 1:25.425, Hamilton slotted into P2 and then Bottas managed an impressive P3 in front of Rosberg and Webber.

After the first runs it was; Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso, Vergne, Raikkonen, Riciardo, Sutil.

The cars came in for more (or less used) Inters for their second runs of two laps. Disappointingly everyone was going slower with the exception of Lewis Hamilton who looked like he might just steal pole when he ran wide into the final chicane, cutting it and losing his time. Sutil hauled himself into an impressive P8.

So Vettel took his third pole in Canada even though he is yet to win the race. The Mercedes stranglehold on P1 was broken with Hamilton faster than Rosberg and Bottas in between the two Mercedes. For the Finnish rookie it was a dream result and a much-needed boost for the Williams team.

With the weather still changeable for Sunday - showers are predicted - grid position may not count nearly as much as tyre wear or strategy and Fernando Alonso is still handily placed in P6.

Vettel will be determined to break his Canadian duck in weather that might be just suited to them - that's ducks, not Red Bull.


01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m25.425
02. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.512 +0.087
03. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m25.897 +0.472
04. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.008 +0.583
05. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m26.208 +0.783
06. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.504 +1.079
07. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m26.543 +1.118
08. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m27.348 +1.923
09. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m27.432 +2.007
10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m27.946 +2.521
11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m29.435
12. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m29.761
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m29.917
14. Jenson Button McLaren 1m30.068
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m30.315
16. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m30.354
17. Paul di Resta Force India 1m24.908
18. Charles Pic Caterham 1m25.626
19. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m25.716
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m26.508
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m27.062
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m27.110

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