Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel fought against the rain showers, red flag period and his closest Championship rivals to take pole position for the FIA Formula One 2013 Canadian Grand Prix tomorrow. The reigning World Champion is known for being a fan of statistics and has achieved his third pole position in a row at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit as a result of the outcome in today’s soggy qualifying session.
Said Vettel, “It was very tricky today, especially as you never knew what the conditions were going to be like the next time you went out. It was intermediate tyres throughout, but it was extremely difficult to adapt as the conditions were constantly changing."
Mercedes’ driver Lewis Hamilton, was pipped to the post by Vettel as Q3 came to a close and he had to settle for second best in the end to start alongside the German on the front row of the grid.
"It's good to be up on the front row again but I am a little disappointed with my last lap. I was seven-tenths up going into the last corner which was really slippery and unfortunately I went straight on," explained the Briton.
One of the surprising results of the session began to unfold from Q2 onwards. Unfortunately, the Williams team do not appear to have had the smoothest start to their season so far, but their rookie driver, Valtteri Bottas has most certainly given them something to smile about today. The Finnish driver impressed with his performance during Q2 and by the end of it got into Q3 and completed the session to take a very well deserved third position on the grid for tomorrow.
Bottas not only expressed his own happiness but for the Williams team also as he commented: "It’s a great feeling to qualify in third place and the team did a really good job today. The showers made the track very slippery but this suited us as the car handled the conditions well. We were on the right tyres at the right time which was so important today."
Vettel may have resumed his position at the front for the race, but in doing so he not only knocked Hamilton off his perch but also the second Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg, who have shared the front row and pole position spot at the beginning of the last four races. Rosberg slipped slightly further down the pack than Hamilton and the German will start the Grand Prix from fourth place.
Another of the front runners who lost out in qualifying to his team mate, was Mark Webber in the second Red Bull car. The Australian failed to catch those ahead of him in the line-up and will begin from fifth place on the grid.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the sole car left flying the flag for the team towards the end of Q2 after his Brazilian team mate, Felipe Massa crashed out after reportedly losing control of his car, which led him to swiftly slide off the track at Turn three and caused him to make an early exit from qualifying, which provoked a red flag period for a short while in order for the marshals to move his damaged car to safety. After the team have worked their magic on his car, Massa will have quite a lot to do himself as he will have to make his way from 16th place on the grid. Alonso carried on battling against his closest rivals in Massa’s absence but could only do enough to secure sixth place in the line-up for tomorrow.
The theme of surprising results in qualifying continued further down in the top 10 and featured the Toro Rosso duo next. Jean-Eric Vergne is the first of the two, after he beat his team mate to a higher grid slot. The French man crossed the line at the end of Q3 to take seventh place. Vergne’s Australian team mate, Daniel Ricciardo was not too far behind him though and he qualified in ninth place.
The second Finnish driver in the field, Kimi Raikkonen will begin the race in a Toro Rosso sandwich as he could only secure eighth place in his Lotus Renault car.
The final driver who made it through to the all-important top 10 qualifying shootout was Force India’s Adrian Sutil. The German driver will start off his race from 10th position as a result of beating some of the usual faces that feature in Q3.
In addition to the drivers that make up the back of the field, there were some familiar ones who failed to make the grade in the tricky conditions on this occasion. They include the McLaren pair, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, Force India’s Paul Di Resta and Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean.
If today’s action on the track in qualifying is anything to go by, it is certain that the race will not disappoint either for those watching as the lights go out and the 22 drivers get racing. Pole sitter, Vettel in particular, has everything to play for and is in the best position to achieve his first victory at the Canadian Grand Prix. The German may have previously held the top spot and is on pole position tomorrow, but he is yet to remain in the driving seat as he passes the chequered flag at the end of the race at the circuit.
The shoe will be on the other foot as well for Vettel as he has been behind the Mercedes duo, Hamilton and Rosberg for the last four race starts this season and they may be likely to put him under some pressure as the action gets underway tomorrow. There is also third place man, Bottas to consider, as he participates in his maiden race at Montreal and he will be in the mix with the other three. The battle at the front of the field will be one thing to watch out for tomorrow, but there is the rest of the field to keep in mind as the grid is slightly mixed up, which could make for an interesting start to the proceedings and not forgetting the unpredictable weather conditions as well.