Nico Rosberg has won the pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix du Canada. His Mercedes F1 teammate, Lewis Hamilton, will start second while Sebastian Vettel will go off third for Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
Rosberg turned a lap in one minute, 14:874 seconds, to edge Hamilton’s time of 1:14:953. Vettel’s time was 1:15:548.
Williams-Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas qualified fourth, with his teammate Felipe Massa right behind. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will go off sixth, with Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso-Renault), Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) following in that order.
Sebastian Vettel, who won the last four world driving championships, the last three poles at the Grand Prix of Canada and the race itself a year ago, had to pull of a last-second banzai run in order to continue qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix du Canada.
Vettel had not performed well during three practices and early in the hour-long knockout qualifying session. In fact, he set 14th fastest time duringg the second session while his first-year Infiniti Red Bull Racing teammate Daniel Ricciardo was 12th fastest.
But both pulled up their socks in the second qualifying session and when the dust had settled, Vettel was sixth quickest and Ricciardo was fifth.
Fastest, of course, was Lewis Hamilton who ripped off a lap of one minute, 15:750 seconds. His Mercedes F1 teammate, Nico Rosberg, was second fastest followed by Felipe Massa of Williams.
Nico Hulkenburg(Force India), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Sergio Perez (Force India), Romain Grosjean (Lotus F1) Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Adrian Sutil (Sauber) didn’t survive – in that order.
The run for the pole is now on between Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, Button, Vergne, Ricciardo, Vettel, Raikkonen and Bottas.
Pastor Maldonado (Lotus F1), Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi (Marussia) and Kamui Kobayashi and and Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) were eliminated from qualifying today after the first session.
They will start on the grid from position 17 on back, in that order. Starting 22nd and last in Sunday’s Grand Prix du Canada will be Esteban Guttierez, who didn’t try to qualify his Sauber after crashing it during final practice.
The Grand Prix du Canada will live on for another 10 years, it was announced today.
And the contributing partners in bringing the race to Montreal – the federal, provincial and municipal governments involved plus Tourism Montreal – will actually get some money coming back.
Under the terms of the new deal, which will see Formula One racing promoted at Le Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Ilse Notre-Dame through 2024, the federal government will contribute $62.4 million, as will Tourism Montreal. The province will contribute $49.9 million over the 10 years and Montreal will contribute $12.4 million.
On its own, Montreal will pay for improvements to the paddock and the infrastructure, estimated to cost about $32-million.
In return, all of the contributing partners will share in minimum revenues of $3.9-million each year taken from box office receipts. The Grand Prix is the country’s biggest one-day sporting event with more than 100,000 paying their way in on race day.
Although the deal is an agreement in principal – translation: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone hasn’t signed off – all on board maintained that it would be a formality after the agreement was approved by various councils and cabinets.
Final practice has ended and there is a surprise. Felipe Massa in the Williams has split fastest driver Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes F1 teammate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton finished atop the charts with a lap of one minute, 15:610 around Le Circuit Gilles0Villeneuve. Massa was second in 1:16:088 and Rosberg was third in 1:16:120.
Then came Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari at 1:16:488, with Daniel Ricciardo fifth in an Infiniti Red Bull at 1:16:504.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who won the pole here the last three years, won’t sit on it today and will be hard-pressed to get into final qualifying. He was 10th with a lap of 1:16:884.
Sergio Perez was the final spinner – at Turn 10 – but continued while Kamui Kobayashi lost control of his Caterham, also at Turn 10, and had to be pushed off.
Qualifying starts at 1 p.m. Now off to a press conference for a big announcement about the future of the GP here in Montreal.
Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen are two other drivers who’ve gone off track during final practice as they try to find the absolute limit prior to qualifying.
Vettel went off at Turn 10 and was able to continue; Magnussen had his problems at Turn One but got back on track and kept going.
By the way, the Hardy Boys are atop the charts – Hamilton is fastest with 20 minutes remaining and Rosberg is second. Felipe Massa is third fastest – but the Williams always goes well in Montreal.
Final practice before F1 qualifying is under way and Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez maybe should have stayed in bed. Five minutes in, he went off the track at Turn 10 but was able to continue. Ten minutes later, however, he lost control at Turn 4 and hit the wall, forcing a red flag.
Lewis Hamilton (surprise!) is fastest with 35 minutes remaining. Vettel and Alonso have yet to leave the pits.
Incidentally, this is Kimi Raikkonen’s 200th Grand Prix. Ferrari has a cake.
Good Saturday morning from Montreal. The sun is shining, there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the forecast for the rest of the weekend is terrific.
The F1 cars will take to the track for final practice at 10 a.m., with qualifying scheduled for 1 p.m. (TSN will show that session live, starting at 12:55).
Last year, there were showers during qualifying, which made it difficult for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to win his third straight pole (I goofed today in my Star Sports story by reporting he won the last two poles – which is technically correct but it should have been three).
There should be no such problems today.
By the way, here is a link to that Star Sports story, if you should be interested. Also, a link to Friday’s live blog (that I had to stop writing in order to file to the paper and thestar.com – that won’t happen today).
Now, Walter Buchignani is a wonderful motorsports writer for the Montreal Gazette. He’s been at it almost as many years as me (not quite; he’s younger). He wrote a wonderful tribute today to the missing Michael Schumacher and I urge you to read it. Click here for the link.
By the way, there is other racing going on this weekend. The Verizon IndyCar Series will be on the big oval at Texas Motor Speedway tonight and Will Power will start from pole after averaging 218.896 mph for two laps.
Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, broke a tie with Dario Franchitti for sixth on the all-time Indy car list with his 34th pole and second of the season.
Josef Newgarden will start second in the No. 67 Strike/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, recording his best qualifying effort in his third Verizon IndyCar Series season with a two-lap average of 217.835 mph.
Tony Kanaan, who wrapped up his 2004 series championship at Texas Motor Speedway, and Juan Pablo Montoya will start on Row 2.
Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter (217.677 mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car will be on Row 3 with Simon Pagenaud (217.222 mph), driving the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car.
James Hinchcliffe of Oakville went 216.967 mph and will start ninth for Andretti Autosport – the highest starting position of the four Andretti drivers. Said Hinch:
“It’s funny, this is probably the most difficult qualifying run I’ve ever had on a 15.-mile track. I’m kind of disappointed with that run; I think the . . . car had more in it. We’ll be good in the race.”