Reaction round-up: Canadian Grand Prix qualifying
It was a busy qualifying session, with Vettel moving up to third in the closing stages. The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa complete the top five. Here is a round-up of the driver’s reactions following qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve:
“The start of the last lap wasn’t great. I still didn’t manage to get that first sector right, I didn’t get along with the first two corners very well today. But, after that I tried to take more risk and it worked, so sector two was very good through the two chicanes, especially through the second one; I found a significantly better line and more time compared to previous runs.
“I then kept it together until the end, so a very good result. It was the maximum we could do – we were very close with those behind, half a second behind the Mercs, but then four cars were within four to five hundredths of a second of each other, so I’m happy to be the quickest of those. Strategy could be a bit of a surprise tomorrow, we’ll have to wait and see what happens but Williams is strong here and the Mercedes powered cars will be looking forward to the straights. I will try to stay as close as I can to the front two and get some tow. If we have a chance to attack them, then we should go for it.”
“It was a bit scrappy on the final run, we made a couple of adjustments and it didn’t quite work out – but that’s hindsight! We were close to third, but not close enough and we paid a bit of a price by being sixth. We’ve made progress throughout the weekend and we were not too far off, but it’s disappointing to just miss out. The times were close, but it could have been better. Hopefully we can get a good start tomorrow and see how we go, the strategy will be interesting.”
“It’s been a great weekend so far and I’m really pleased with how I have been able to improve my set-up from session to session. Even before Qualifying we made some quite big changes and they worked out perfectly. So I am very happy with starting from pole tomorrow. That was very important as there aren’t many opportunities to overtake here, particularly if you are in the same car.
“I think it will be a battle between the two of us out there tomorrow as the gap to the other cars was quite big in Qualifying today and also on our long runs on Friday were strong. This is a such a good track here in Montreal and the fans create a special atmosphere so I hope we can put on a great race tomorrow for them.”
“Nico did a fantastic lap but it wasn’t the greatest qualifying session for me because I went wide a couple of times on my lap, in turns six and eight. It was very close, with just eight hundredths of a second in it, but Nico did the better job this afternoon. It’s great for the team that we have a one-two on the grid but I am expecting it to be a tough race: it’s not that easy to overtake here, especially in the same car and with Nico being so close on pace.
“I will do what I can tomorrow and we will be trying to score as many points as we can. I also want to say something about this amazing weekend in Canada. It’s one of the best races of the year, especially because of the fantastic fans who make the atmosphere something special. We love coming here and I hope we can put on a great race tomorrow.”
“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.”
“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.”
“We expected a tough time in Canada but if you ignore the position on the grid I’m very positive as we’ve made good improvements with the car so it genuinely feels very good to drive. Qualifying was frustrating as we just missed out on gaining a couple of positions with another lap, but we wouldn’t have overcome our speed deficit down the straight. The race looks like it will be hot so tyre degradation could be an interesting aspect. The circuit is good and I like it as it’s an intense lap where you have some tight moments in the car which always makes for a good race.”
“Jenson probably got the maximum from the car today. But Q2 was a bit tougher for me. The car actually feels good – there’s not much I’d do to change the set-up – but the car’s lack of downforce means that we’re not quick enough. Tomorrow, it’ll be important to look after the tyres – especially the Option, which will struggle in the hotter conditions. I really don’t know what to expect on Sunday: we’re starting just outside the top 10; with a good race, I hope we can score some points. All I know is that I’ll go into tomorrow absolutely fighting.”
“I was close to making the top ten – just half a tenth would have made the difference, but I think we’ve known since yesterday it was going to be quite tight in qualifying. Having said that, P11 is a good starting position: it gives us some flexibility in terms of the strategy; I get to choose my starting tyres, and I’m feeling quite optimistic about our race pace. The pack is very close in terms of performance but it should be an interesting race because it’s a circuit where overtaking is possible and history has shown that anything can happen here.”
“It was a disappointing day, after we also had some troubles on Friday. Concerning what happened today, we have to further analyse what caused the problem. I came into the corner with a little bit of oversteer, then later something happened and I lost the car completely. We have to find out whether this happened through what I did, or something I had identified earlier. We have to analyse further what caused the incident. I know that it’s going to be a lot of work to rebuild the car for tomorrow, and I would like to thank the team for the hard work ahead of them. Tomorrow is another day, and I will do my best.”
“I’m disappointed with how my Qualifying turned out today. After the limited running yesterday, the team worked hard overnight and everything seemed to be working fine in this morning’s FP3 session. Then during Qualifying I found the car difficult to drive and I experienced some brake problems. We will have to analyse this closely tonight, but I’m sure we will be fine for tomorrow. It is not ideal to start from P15, but as always, I will give it my 100 percent and aim to finish the race as high as possible.”
“We need to be happy with the result. It was really, really close. On the last run there was some traffic which cost the opportunity to improve the time, but luckily I had done a good lap on the first run in Q3. We’ve been competitive all weekend so I’m looking forward to the race. I’m very happy with the car, we’ve made so much progress. I know we can challenge Red Bull here and we have great straightline speed, so we’ll see.”
“It’s a disappointing way to end our qualifying because after the minimal running I had yesterday, we were back on it for FP3 this morning. The car seems very good here this weekend, which is nice to see because it shows that our improvements have helped us master a circuit that does not typically suit us. My first run was okay considering the small amount of time I have spent in the car with low fuel and options this weekend.
“There was no chance to improve on the second because we had a problem starting the car and, in any case, the red flag came out and no one was able to improve. We start with the Caterhams behind me, so I just have to focus on the race in front of me and I’m sure we can fight back and have a good race.”
“We went out early in Q1 for the first of two runs on the supersofts. I was having tyre warm-up problems on both runs but the performance had improved a little from the morning session so I could push a bit harder. Unfortunately on my last flying lap I lost the back of the car in turn nine coming up behind a couple of other cars and made contact with the wall, ending my quali. It’s obviously fair to say this has been a difficult weekend for me and the whole team. We just aren’t strong enough here and that’s going to make the race pretty hard, but I know I’m ready to do the best I can and that’s the same for everyone in our team.”
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.