Hamilton 'Pushes' the McLaren ahead of Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton stormed to Pole Position ahead of tomorrow’s Canadian GP. It marks his first Pole Position and the first non-Red Bull pole of the year. The Red Bull duo looked to be at a slight disadvantage this weekend but still battled hard, midway through Q3 it looked ominous for another Red Bull 1-2 with Webber leading the way. That was before Hamilton produced a stunning lap to seize the Pole in the dying seconds of qualifying.
Canada has produced the closest top 10 shoot out to date this season, with the cars being separated by less than a second. Strategy will be key tomorrow and we are set to see the first major difference between the top teams. McLaren are starting on the super soft (option) tyres while Red Bull have decided to start both cars on the harder (prime) tyres. In any case Canada which was looking set to be the most dramatic race of the season just got a whole lot more complicated.
Surprise of Qualifying
So on to my surprise of qualifying, and this time it has to be Force India. After a few lack luster performances and some development pieces that made the car slower, Liuzzi and Sutil struck back with a great performance to net themselves 6th and 9th respectively.
The team had been fairly quiet this weekend going about their business and I think there will be a few big teams scratching their heads wondering why they are so far back on the grid and the answer is Force India.
It’s a great result for the team and I’m pleased to see it. The signs were there from Q2, with both cars strongly in the top 10 forcing Schumacher out and very nearly Jenson Button too. Yet even more impressive was Liuzzi, the Italian thoroughly out performed his teammate and that will have go some way to restoring his status in the team. That is as long as he and Sutil can translate their qualifying form into a decent race result.
Disappointment of Qualifying
My disappointment has to be Michael Schumacher and Mercedes. The team and in particularly Schumi looked very strong in Free Practice, but come qualifying Mercedes recorded their worst starting position of the season so far. Coming off the back of some strong results that looked like Schumacher was getting back to his old self, Canada should have been a continuation of that form, but sadly it was the exact opposite
Hopes that Rosberg could salvage something and reasurt himself in the team didn’t happen as the young German only got 1 flying lap in Q3 and that was the slowest of all. Without a Safety car or the elements intervening I think it will be difficult for Mercedes to salvage anything respectable from this weekend
My second disappointment has to be the current World Champion Jenson Button. He was extremely lucky to make it into the top 10 shoot out and just seemed to lack the pace that his teammate and the eventual pole-sitter had. Jenson is a very smooth and flowing driver, but as Lewis literally muscled his way to pole position by thrashing his McLaren round the track, it seems that Button’s driving style is not as well suited to Canada as Hamilton’s. That said I think Button will be reasonably happy with 5th, it’s a good position to be starting from and given his performance in qualifying it could have been a lot worse!
Prediction for the Race
Now its time for my prediction for the race tomorrow and I can’t think of a more difficult one to call. Canada has always been a track where things happen and seldom is it a cut and dry event. I only wish I had bet £10 on David Coulthard claiming a podium two years ago, as nobody, not even DC saw that one coming! That’s the unpredictable nature of Montreal.
With the interesting difference in strategy between the top two teams and the significant tyre ware, I think that anybody in the top eight has a realistic chance of coming away with a win. The safety car is almost certain to make an appearance and with the likelihood of rain being thrown into the mix for the race anything could happen.
I do have a feeling that this could be a weekend for one of the midfield teams to score some big points and maybe even a podium to boot. So I guess in not so many words, I haven’t got a clue what the result will be. But not to shy away from making a prediction, I’ll have a punt at it, why not.
I’m going to go with a Force India on the podium, a Hamilton victory and one of the Red Bulls on the podium. But as I’ve already hinted to anything can happen in Canada and in most cases it does…
|2||M Webber||Red Bull||1:15.373|
|3||S Vettel||Red Bull||1:15.420|
|6||V Liuzzi||Force India||1:15.648|
|9||A Sutil||Force India||1:15.881|
|15||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:16.928|
|16||J Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:17.029|
|17||P De la Rosa||BMW Sauber||1:17.384|
|18||K Kobayashi||BMW Sauber||1:18.019|
|23||L Di Grassi||Virgin||1:19.675|
|1||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:36:24.44|
|2||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+16.4 secs|
|3||D Coulthard||Red Bull||+23.3 secs|
|4||T Glock||Toyota||+42.6 secs|
|5||F Massa||Ferrari||+43.9 secs|
|6||J Trulli||Toyota||+47.7 secs|
|7||R Barrichello||Honda||+53.5 secs|
|8||S Vettel||Toro Rosso||+54.1 secs|
|9||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+54.4 secs|
|10||N Rosberg||Williams||+57.7 secs|
|11||J Button||Honda||+67.5 secs|
|12||M Webber||Red Bull||+71.2 secs|
|13||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap|
|DNF||G Fisichella||Force India||+19 Laps|
|DNF||K Nakajima||Williams||+24 Laps|
|DNF||F Alonso||Renault||+26 Laps|
|DNF||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+31 Laps|
|DNF||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+51 Laps|
|DNF||L Hamilton||McLaren||+51 Laps|
|DNF||A Sutil||Force India||+57 Laps|
|2||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+4.3 sec|
|3||A Wurz||Williams||+5.3 sec|
|4||H Kovalainen||Renault||+6.7 sec|
|5||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+13.0 sec|
|6||T Sato||Super Aguri||+16.6 sec|
|7||F Alonso||McLaren||+21.9 sec|
|8||R Schumacher||Toyota||+22.8 sec|
|9||M Webber||Red Bull||+22.9 sec|
|10||N Rosberg||Williams||+23.9 sec|
|11||A Davidson||Super Aguri||+24.3 sec|
|12||R Barrichello||Honda||+30.4 sec|
|DNF||J Trulli||Toyota||+12 Laps|
|DNF||V Liuzzi||Toro Rosso||+16 Laps|
|DNF||C Albers||Spyker||+23 Laps|
|DNF||D Coulthard||Red Bull||+34 Laps|
|DNF||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+44 Laps|
|DNF||A Sutil||Spyker||+49 Laps|
|DNF||S Speed||Toro Rosso||+62 Laps|
|DNF||J Button||Honda||+70 Laps|
|DSQ||F Massa||Ferrari||+19 Laps|
|DSQ||G Fisichella||Renault||+19 Laps|