Vettel records 54th career pole at Canada

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed his 54th career pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix, while his Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton was only fourth.

Vettel set the pace throughout the Q3 top ten shootout, posting a time of one minute, 10.776 seconds on his first run to take top spot.

He then shaved 0.012 seconds off that time on his second run using the hypersoft Pirellis to make sure of pole. By securing the prime position on the grid, this was Ferrari’s first pole since the great Michael Schumacher in 2001.

Valtteri Bottas was second fastest for Mercedes, but was unable to improve on his first-run lap having lost time in the first and second sectors.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen made it three different makes in the top three by jumping to third on his final lap, relegating Hamilton to fourth place – just over two tenths slower than Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen had been third after the first runs in Q3, but ran wide onto the grass exiting Turn 2 on his second set of hypersofts and was forced to abort the lap. The Iceman ended up shuffled down to fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth fastest, lapping just two-hundredths of a second off Raikkonen.

The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers will start the race on the ultrasoft Pirellis, having used that compound to set their fastest times in Q2, with Red Bull and the rest of the top ten using hypersofts.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg took seventh place ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

The Renault and Force India pattern was repeated on the fifth row, with Carlos Sainz Jr comfortably ahead of Sergio Perez.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was fastest of those eliminated in Q2, lapping two-tenths slower than Perez.

That was enough to put him 29 thousandths of a second ahead of Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso, which is running the upgraded Honda engine package.

Hartley complained about losing a couple of tenths in the final chicane on his quickest lap.

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc was P13, with McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne never looking like a Q3 threat and ending up P14 and P15 – separated by just 0.009 seconds.

Alonso complained about poor drivability out of the hairpin on his last run, but Vandoorne suggested over the radio that this pace was representative of McLaren’s capability this weekend.

All five of those drivers had been in the drop zone after their first runs in Q2, but despite all finding time on their second set of hypersofts none were able to break into the top ten.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, who had an engine change to the old-specification Honda after a problem in final practice, was knocked out in Q1 by last-minute improvements by Alonso and Vandoorne.

Gasly was unable to improve on the pace he set on his first Q1 run having been 11th at that stage, meaning he was shuffled down the order in the final minutes and ended up P16.

Williams duo Lance Stroll, who had an off-track moment at the final chicane on his last run, and Sergey Sirotkin were P17 and P18 respectively, effectively last of those not to hit trouble.

Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson hit the wall exiting the Turn 8/9 chicane on his first run, and sustained damage that left him P19.

Haas-Ferrari driver Romain Grosjean was unable to run at all after suffering what appeared to be an engine failure as he headed towards the end of the pitlane billowing smoke at the beginning of the session.

So an exciting qualifying session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Title challenger Sebastian Vettel sets a new track record to take his 54th career pole. The lap times between the three cars – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – are very close. Roll on the Canadian Grand Prix.

Canadian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m10.776s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m10.857s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m11.096s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.227s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m11.095s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m11.281s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m12.038s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m12.084s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m12.238s
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m12.671s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.606s
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m12.635s
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m12.661s
14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m12.856s
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m12.865s
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.047s
17 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m13.590s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m13.643-
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.593s
20 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari –

6 thoughts to “Vettel records 54th career pole at Canada”

  1. Canadian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Records continued to tumble in the 2018 season on Saturday, with the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve’s outright track record being claimed by Sebastian Vettel as he romped to pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix…

    The Ferrari driver was imperious form in the final Q3 session in Montreal, setting a stunning pole time of 1m 10.764s in the closing moments of qualifying. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas will join the German on the front row after finishing just 0.093 off Vettel’s time, while Max Verstappen, who’d led all three of the weekend’s Free Practice sessions, put in a strong last lap to go third in his Red Bull.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who many had tipped as favourite for pole, had to content himself with fourth, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fifth after an error on his final quick lap, and the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.

    Force India and Renault were the two other teams duking it out for top midfield honours. Ultimately it was Renault who came out on top, with Nico Hulkenberg seventh – interestingly the position he’s spent 40% of races in so far this year – with Force India’s Esteban Ocon eighth, Renault’s Carlos Sainz ninth and the sister Force India of Sergio Perez 10th.

    It was a scrappy first session for many drivers as qualifying got underway. There were lurid slides for Hamilton, Ricciardo and Marcus Ericsson, with the Swede damaging his Sauber’s suspension after clouting the wall at the exit of Turn 9 and nearly running into the slower Red Bull of Verstappen ahead.

    With the top three teams lining up in twos at the top of the timesheet – Ferrari’s Vettel and Raikkonen, Mercedes’s Hamilton and Bottas and Red Bull’s Verstappen and Ricciardo – there were impressive performances elsewhere from Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley, who put his car into eighth, and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in 12th.

    After showing very promising pace across the Free Practice sessions, there was disappointment for Haas’s Romain Grosjean, with his car dramatically billowing smoke as soon as he left his garage. Although he was pushed back in, the problem was deemed terminal, with Grosjean forced to watch from the sidelines.

    He was joined in the elimination zone for the session by Pierre Gasly in 16th – who, unlike team mate Brendon Hartley, was forced back to Honda’s previous-spec power unit after an issue in FP3 – local boy Lance Stroll and his Williams team mate Sergey Sirotkin in 17th and 18th, with Ericsson and Grosjean bringing up the rear.

    With the teams having to start the race on the tyres they set their fastest lap on in Q2, there was intrigue as many of the top runners experimented to see if they could make it through the session on the harder, purple ultrasoft.

    The Ferraris and the Mercedes drivers all managed it, while the Red Bulls didn’t even try it, opting to stay on the pink-walled hypersofts throughout the session.

    Ricciardo was certainly making them work, though, banging in what was at the time the fastest-ever lap around the Montreal track – a 1m 11.434s – at the end of the session.

    Haas’s Kevin Magnussen ended up as the first man outside of the top 10, with Hartley 12th, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc 13th, and the McLarens of ‘300th Grand Prix man’ Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne down in 14th and 15th.

    It was anybody’s guess as to who would come out on top in the final session. Early on, Bottas became the first man to lap the circuit in under 1m 11s, while Hamilton seemed less comfortable, cutting short engineer Pete Bonnington on team radio as he was having his pace differential to his Finnish team mate explained to him.

    With Vettel having beaten Bottas’ time midway through the session, the German then brought the track’s outright lap record down even further with his final attempt as team mate Raikkonen took to the grass at Turn 2, preventing him from improving on his fifth-placed time.

    Verstappen put in a rapid last-gasp effort to go third ahead of Hamilton, while team mate Ricciardo – who’s traditionally struggled most against team mates at this track – down in sixth, around two-tenths off the Dutchman.

    As one canny observer on Twitter put it, the fourth and fifth rows of the grid will be a ‘Battenberg cake’ formation, with the yellow and pink Renault and Force India cars lining up two by two, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon in seventh and eighth, ahead of Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez.

  2. Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly has revealed he was forced to switch to an older-specification Honda power unit ahead of qualifying for Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix.

    The Japanese manufacturer introduced a new engine in Montreal, which Gasly and teammate Brendon Hartley agreed was “better” and “faster” than the previous version after trying it out on Friday.

    But an issue in Saturday morning practice meant the Frenchman was forced to revert to the previous unit that had been in use since the second race weekend of the year in Bahrain.

    Gasly feels this left him at a significant disadvantage come qualifying, as he was eliminated in the first segment, taking 16th place and missing out on a Q2 berth by under half a tenth.

    “We had an issue with the engine in P3, with the new upgrade, we had to revert to the engine [we used] in Monaco,” Gasly told Sky Sports after the session.

    “On a track like Canada the top speed is massively important and it made qualifying quite tough. It’s always frustrating to miss out with such a small gap.”

    Asked about the benefit of the new specification, Gasly said: “The speed in the straight, when you put the power down you have more from the engine.

    “On a track like Canada where you have such long straights, the gain of lap time is quite important.”

    Hartley, using the new specification, had progressed comfortably through the first qualifying segment and will line up 12th on Sunday.

    “The positive, Brendon did a good job with the upgrades so I just can’t wait to put this back on my car as soon as possible,” Gasly said.

    “Looking at the positives, it’s good for the coming races. It’ll just be quite difficult for our side of the garage tomorrow.

    “I’m always full of hope. In racing, everything can happen. It won’t be easy but racing never is. I just need to give it all and see what we can get tomorrow.”


  3. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel expressed surprised that Red Bull Racing has chosen hypersofts for race start. has the full story.

    Canadian Grand Prix polesitter Sebastian Vettel says he was surprised to see Red Bull choose the hypersoft Formula 1 tyre as its race-start compound for Sunday.

    Vettel narrowly beat Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas to pole position, with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull heading the second row.

    But while Ferrari and Mercedes progressed from Q2 using the harder ultrasoft compound to avoid starting the race on the hypersoft, both Verstappen and teammate Daniel Ricciardo took the softest tyre for that segment.

    When asked after qualifying if he considered using the hypersoft to start the race, and if he was worried about Red Bull’s strategy, Vettel said: “No, no. It was a very smooth session for us.

    “We were briefly talking about what we wanted to do, trying to figure everything out.

    “For me it was pretty straightforward, and in terms of strategy we did what we wanted to do.

    “I don’t think the hypersoft is a good race tyre. I’m a bit surprised that both of the Red Bulls chose that, but I guess they have their reasons.”

    Verstappen said the leading cars’ strategies for Q2 went as he expected them to.

    When asked by if there was any concerns about suffering higher degradation with the hypersoft in the first stint, he said: “We think it’s a good tyre for us, and in the long run [in practice] I felt good on it.

    “No big surprises. We thought that Ferrari and Mercedes were going to qualify on the ultras.”

    Verstappen said it was also not a surprise to see Mercedes and Ferrari’s advantage over Red Bull in Q3 when engines are run at full power, but he was pleased to only have one car from each of those teams ahead of him.

    “We extracted the best we could have from qualifying,” he added. “We knew that in Q3 it was going to be a bit harder for us, but to still be so close was good.

    “Our weekend has been really strong, and every session we have made good progress with the car.

    “In qualifying the track grips up quite a lot so you just have to follow the track. Very happy.”

  4. It has been a difficult 2018 season already for Romain Grosjean with crashes and non-finishes. The Haas driver says he is “laughing” about run of bad luck. has the details.

    Romain Grosjean says he is laughing about his tough run in Formula 1 this season after his Canadian Grand Prix qualifying lasted just a few seconds before a smoky end.

    The Haas driver had only just left the garage at the start of qualifying when smoke started pouring from the back of his Ferrari-engined VF-18.

    He stopped immediately and was wheeled back to the garage, where his session ended before anyone had even set a laptime.

    Haas described it as a “power unit failure” that was being investigated.

    It means Grosjean, who along with Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin is yet to score a point this year, will start Sunday’s race last while teammate Kevin Magnussen lines up 11th.

    “I’m getting the bad luck for next season and maybe even [beyond],” Grosjean told Sky Sports F1.

    “It’s a tough series [of bad results], everyone is taking it as good as they can.

    “We’re laughing about it because at one point that’s the only thing you’ve got to do.”

    Grosjean has endured a dismal season, which started with a retirement in Australia after a Haas wheelgun error denied him a possible top-five finish.

    His car shed bargeboard parts in Bahrain, dropping him to 13th, and he finished 17th in China after an ill-timed safety car.

    Grosjean then retired from successive GPs in bizarre fashion, spinning under the safety car in Azerbaijan before causing a big first-lap crash in Spain.

    Haas was uncompetitive in Monaco after compromising performance by removing the fragile bargeboard components for the street race, while Grosjean’s bizarre run continued when he hit a marmot in Friday practice in Montreal.

    Grosjean said the failure in qualifying was “up there on the podium” for bad luck this year but said the performance of Haas’s upgraded car in Canada was a silver lining.

    “The positive is the car feels really good with the upgrade, we had a really good pace through practice,” he said. “I knew I could be best of the rest today.”

  5. This was a difficult qualifying session for McLaren with both drivers knocked out in Q2. Stoffel Vandoorne admitted that McLaren’s pace drop was “bizarre”. has the story.

    McLaren’s lacklustre pace in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix has been labelled as “bizarre” by Stoffel Vandoorne, as the team seeks answers as to what went wrong.

    Vandoorne and teammate Fernando Alonso had been optimistic of a good showing in Montreal after their McLaren showed some encouraging speed in Friday’s free practice sessions – especially because the team did not do that much running on the faster hypersoft tyre.

    But despite making only minor changes to their cars overnight, the McLaren duo found their pace fell away on Saturday and it ended up with Alonso down in 14th on the grid, with Vandoorne one place further back.

    The disappointing showing – with the team outqualified by a Toro Rosso and a Sauber – has highlighted the weaknesses the team has at the moment, although Vandoorne was baffled about what had gone wrong.

    “We weren’t competitive at all,” said Vandoorne. “It’s a bit bizarre. Yesterday we had a good rhythm and we didn’t use the hypersofts in FP2.

    “We thought there was a chance to get to Q3. From the start of qualifying we didn’t have the performance to get there.

    “We were quite disappointed to qualify so far back. We kind of stagnated. There was nothing particularly wrong with the car. The balance was good. Nothing major to comment. We were just lacking pace.

    “It’s a shame not to be able to progress further. There’s some learning to do. We expected to be higher up.”

    Alonso was equally unsure about what had gone wrong over the Montreal weekend.

    “It’s difficult to know,” he said. “We didn’t change the car much. It feels as good or as bad as yesterday. It feels the same and yesterday we were very competitive and today not, so we need to make a deeper analysis.

    When asked what had changed then from Friday to Saturday, he said: “Basically nothing. I think the car kept feeling okay.

    “Yesterday we seemed a little bit more competitive and today we lost that level. Already in FP3 we felt a little bit worse and less competitive and unfortunately we confirmed that in qualifying.

    “Disappointing day probably but hopefully we can recover some places tomorrow.”

  6. Sebastian Vettel says he had to abort his second run in Q2 of Canadian Grand Prix qualifying because it was impossible to “slalom” past the traffic he caught.

    The Ferrari driver went on to claim pole position at Montreal on Saturday, and he progressed from Q2 with the ultrasoft tyre, meaning he avoids having to start the race on the more fragile hypersoft.

    However, he wanted to get a feel for the softest tyre before the decisive Q3 session, but had to abandon the lap when he caught a train of four slow cars on the long straight before the final chicane.

    Vettel called the incident “ridiculous” on the radio at the time, and questioned what the drivers involved – Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen – were doing.

    “I wanted to get a feel [for the hypersoft] and see where we end up,” he said after the session.

    “That has never happened to me, four cars doing, I don’t know, maximum 100kph and if they weren’t told, they weren’t looking, I don’t know what they were doing.

    “Obviously they were all trying to get a slot for their flying lap, but I was coming at full speed and I had to abort.

    “There was no chance to go slalom around them. It was a bit surprising, there was no way for me to carry on.”

    Magnussen said the other drivers did their best to stay out of Vettel’s way.

    “I was pretty surprised as well,” he said of the incident. “He was on a flying lap, so we all tried to get out of his way.

    “But you are also trying to stay out of the other cars’ way, and trying not to have an accident, while looking in your mirrors.

    “It’s not an easy situation. What are you going to do? I don’t think there’s much.

    “That situation was a bit unlucky – we were all bunched up.

    “Because people tried to stay out of his way they all braked, and went really slow in a fast bit of the track to let him past.

    “I arrived there and saw three cars stopped on the track so I then looked in my mirror and saw him not far away so I did the same.

    “We all did that, four cars trying to let him past. It was pretty messy, but I don’t know what you’re going to do about it.”

    Haas team boss Gunther Steiner said situations like that are “impossible” to manage from the pit wall.

    “A situation like this for Vettel when he is coming up fast – in the end he still got pole, so no harm, no foul, which was good,” he said.

    “But we cannot manage it. We don’t know what the other cars are doing, so we cannot tell our driver ‘go right, go left’.

    “Everybody else moves out of the way, Kevin knew he was coming, he was out of the racing line, but we are not playing games between teams.”


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