Formula 1: Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying
The past few days at the Canadian Grand Prix have proven to be a real test for the teams and drivers as various weather conditions have dictated their every move.
Qualifying was no exception – the track that had started to dry out in practice 3 just two hours earlier was now soaked as it continued to rain.
Both Ferraris went out on intermediate tyres, whilst Sebastian Vettel left the pitlane on a fresh set of intermediates.
Shortly after Vettel hit the track, both Red Bulls notched up times good enough for a first and second in the standings.
The wet conditions saw Lewis Hamilton out-brake himself at turn one, whilst Force Indian’s Adrian Sutil suffered a real ‘tankslapper’ when a Sauber cut him up.
Mercedes’ Hamilton was the first driver to break into the 1m25s, but just behind him, Vettel took P1 by a massive 1.2 seconds.
Things were looking just as miserable as the weather in the McLaren camp with both cars in the drop zone. However, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez redeemed themselves with two minutes to go and both made it into the top 16.
Although still wet, track conditions improved as Filipe Massa jumped from 16th to first.
The drivers who didn’t make it through to Q2 were Paul di Resta, Charles Pic, Romain Grosjean, Jules Bianchi, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton.
The rain continued to fall in Q2 with lap times nearing the 1m30s. Teams faced the crossover from intermediate to wet tires; it was just a question of who jumps first.
A handful of drivers were seeing a lot of the run offs as they got it all wrong at various points around the circuit.
Hamilton set the early pace, with Mark Webber close behind and Jean-Eric Vergne making up third.
It didn’t take long for the reigning World Champion Vettel to claim P1, nearly half a second faster than Hamilton.
With two minutes to go, Massa crashed into turn three’s barrier and the session was ‘red flagged’.
When the final two frantic minutes of Q2 were underway, all of the remaining cars struggled to make it past the start line to ensure a final lap.
Hamilton topped the time sheets with Webber second and Vettel third.
The drivers failing to make Q3 were Button, Perez, Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez.
The first timed lap of Q3 saw Vettel fastest, Hamilton second, Rosberg third and Alonso forth.
Valtteri Bottas clearly loved the elements as he headed out into his first career Q3, setting an impressive early time good enough to steal third.
As the cars piled into the pits before their final timed lap, the rain really started to fall.
A futile attack on previous lap times followed as the drivers headed out onto a slippery track, none managing to make a difference.
This meant Bottas would start in third for the race - a really happy day for the Williams Team.
1 – [Red Bull] – Vettel – 1:25.425
2 – [Mercedes-Benz] – Hamilton – 1:25.512
3 – [Williams-Renault] – Bottas – 1:25.897
4 – [Mercedes-Benz] – Rosberg– 1:26.008
5 – [Red Bull] – Webber – 1:26.208
6 – [Ferrari] – Alonso – 1:26.504
7 – [STR-Ferrari] – Vergne – 1:26.543
8 – [Force India] – Sutil – 1:27.348
9 – [Lotus-Renault] – Raikkonen – 1:27.432
10 – [STR-Ferrari] – Ricciardo – 1:27.946
Rest Of The Grid
11 – [Sauber] – Hulkenberg
12 – [McLaren] – Perez
13 – [Williams-Renault] – Maldonado
14 – [McLaren] – Button
15 – [Sauber] – Gutierrez
16 – [Ferrari] – Massa
17 – [Force India] – di Resta
18 – [Caterham-Renault] – Pic
19 – [Lotus-Renault] – Grosjean
20 – [Maurissa-Cosworth] – Bianchi
21 – [Maurissa-Cosworth] – Chilton
22 – [Caterham-Renault] – van der Garde
James Harris is a NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.