The outcome of today’s qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari was not entirely unpredictable.
Montreal, 7 June – Starting from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid is never ideal, but the outcome of today’s qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari was not entirely unpredictable. The long straights and lack of corners at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve were always going to favour the most powerful engine in the pack, while our closest rivals, Red Bull, were able to exploit a slight advantage on the aero front.
Therefore, both men will be facing an uphill battle over the 70 laps tomorrow, starting from seventh and tenth on the grid. However, if you were able to watch any of the on-board footage from Fernando Alonso’s and Kimi Raikkonen’s F14 T, you could see that there was certainly no lack of commitment from the Prancing Horse jockeys as they tackled the challenging Montreal track, almost brushing the unforgiving walls and charging over the kerbs.
Monaco winner Nico Rosberg took pole ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with the second row featuring reigning champion Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull, with Valtteri Bottas fourth for Williams.
As predicted, temperatures were much higher today and although it didn’t seem to have a very significant influence on tyre degradation, it did mean that in some cases, the Supersoft tyre was perhaps not performing as well as the Soft in qualifying. For tomorrow, one or two stops still seem the most likely strategy choices, while pit wall crews will have to be ready for any eventuality, as this is a circuit where the Safety Car has frequently made an appearance in the past. And it seems that might be the case for a few more years to come, as it was announced today that the authorities have signed a new contract to keep the Canadian Grand Prix here in Montreal for a further decade.
Although qualifying began at 13h00 today, tomorrow’s race gets underway an hour later at 14h00 local time.
Fernando Alonso: “The result of qualifying reflects the trend we have seen since the start of the season. As often happens, even if on Friday we are front runners, on Saturday we struggle a bit more. The development package we have brought here in Canada has worked well, the car has improved and I am pleased about that, even if at the moment we are unable to extract all the potential out of the car. Mercedes’ dominance today was not a surprise and the Red Bulls and Williams also did better than us. I think tomorrow’s race will not be easy, as it is hard to overtake at the start here, because there is not enough room through the first two corners. We will also have to do a good job of managing tyre degradation and of choosing the right number of stops. It’s been much hotter than yesterday and the tyre that seemed to be the best to race on, the Soft, today appeared less suited to the conditions than the Supersoft. If, as expected, the hot weather continues, the choice will move towards the latter and that will mean making one more stop.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “All weekend, I haven’t been completely satisfied with the handling of my car and again today in qualifying I found it difficult. On my only run in Q3, I went out on a new set of Supersofts, but my F14 T was sliding a lot and I couldn’t put together a good lap. Maybe I could have been one or two places higher up, but I don’t think it would have changed much. Even if the updates we tried yesterday worked, we knew it wouldn’t be easy: probably this is one of the tracks that least suits the characteristics of our car. I expect a very long race tomorrow, in which anything could happen. We will try and get a good start and then give it our all.”
Pat Fry: “Today we knew we’d be facing a difficult qualifying, but to be honest, we were hoping for something a bit better. We also knew that at this track, we wouldn’t just be fighting Red Bull, but other teams as well who, thanks to the few corners and long straights here, would give us a hard time and that proved to be the case. The session began in particularly high temperatures, almost 20 degrees hotter than yesterday and we struggled more than our rivals to find enough grip with both cars. From a technical point of view Red Bull, thanks to their higher level of downforce and Williams, with the better driveability of the Mercedes engine, were able to get more out of the tyres, which meant they were more competitive than us. Tomorrow, we will try and do all we can to get a good start, although this year it has not been so easy to make the most of the straights for overtaking. We will definitely have to keep an eye on tyre degradation, which has a bigger effect here, especially with the rears.”