Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix

A very eventful qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix saw rain once again dominating the hour, with the track teasing drivers with sections of dry areas on the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve.

Red Bull Racing confirmed their strong pace in the wet weather with Sebastian Vettel claiming his 39th pole position in F1.

Q1 began with the entire field on the super soft compound tyres, as teams were optimistic that they could get a dry lap in before the heavens opened up. However, it took only one lap for drivers to determine the track was too slippery for slicks.

The opening phase also saw good times for F1 fans. All 22 cars were on the track to get a lap in so they weren’t caught out. It was good to see cars on traeck in the opening stages of Q1, contrary to most races where teams choose to preserve their tyres.

Throughout the weekend, the Red Bulls and Mercedes’ cars have looked quite strong in the wet, and qualifying proved no exception. It seemed as this stage as if it it would be a battle of the bulls for pole come Q3.

The conclusion of Q1 saw the surprise exit of Paul di Resta – the fastest driver in Friday’s opening practice session – who had apparently struggled with a gearbox issue. Romain Grosjean also struggled in the conditions and failed to get out of the drop-zone. He’ll start last due to the ten-place grid penalty he received in Monaco.

Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde were also knocked out in Q1, as expected.

For a brief moment between sessions, it looked as though the track had dried enough for cars to jump onto slicks. That thought was quickly dismissed however as the rain resumed and left the teams on intermediate tyres.

The drivers certainly voiced their opinions on the conditions of the track, letting their engineers know how slippery the track was, and also in some drivers’ cases, proving it, as a lot of drivers were cutting chicanes.

The session was red flagged with less than two minutes left when Felipe Massa, struggling to get out of the bottom six, locked the rear brakes under braking and lost control of his Ferrari, slamming into the wall at Turn 3.

Massa was visibly upset, slamming the steering wheel with his hands after the crash.

Just prior to the restart of Q2, all of the drivers were lined up at the end of pit lane waiting to go out, to ensure they had enough time to complete a lap. The way the cars were positioned was reminiscent of a 1960’s starting grid.

All cars made it around the circuit to start a flying lap except the Red Bulls, who didn’t really need to set a new fast lap, and Jenson Button, who took too much time holding back making a clear space and was unable to complete his out-lap in time.

Hulkenberg, Perez, Maldonado, Button, Gutierrez and the crash-eliminated Massa were knocked out in Q2.

Both Toro Rossos made it into Q3 for the first time this year, as Daniel Ricciardo just edged out Hulkenberg by under one tenth of a second to claim the final spot in Q3.

As teams expected more rain to ruin the current dry line that protruded at some parts around the circuit, nine of the ten drivers headed straight out on track with Valtteri Bottas sitting tight for a few minutes.

The extra time in the garage turned out to work wonders for the Finn, as just before the rain resumed, the Williams driver posted a 1:25.897 to go third-fastest, easily the team’s best performance of what has been a dreadful 2013 campaign to-date.

Once the rain started dropping quite heavily with just over three minutes to go, the grid was determined as no driver improved on their times. Vettel lead the way with Hamilton a tenth behind and Bottas a further three tenths off.


2013 Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Qualifying Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:25.425
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:25.512 + 0.087
3. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:25.897 + 0.472
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:26.008 + 0.583
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:26.208 + 0.783
6. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:26.504 + 1.079
7. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:26.543 + 1.118
8. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:27.348 + 1.923
9. Kimi Räikkönen^ FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:27.432 + 2.007
10. Daniel Ricciardo^ AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:27.946 + 2.521
Q3 Cut-Off – 1:29.359   Time Gap*
11. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:29.435 + 1.786
12. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:29.761 + 2.112
13. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:29.917 + 2.268
14. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:30.068 + 2.419
15. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:30.315 + 2.666
16. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:30.354 + 2.705
Q2 Cut-Off – 1:24.776   Time Gap**
17. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:24.908 + 2.590
18. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:25.626 + 3.308
19. Romain Grosjean^ FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:25.716 + 3.398
20. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 1:26.508 + 4.190
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 1:27.062 + 4.744
22. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:27.110 + 4.792

* Gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:27.649 by Lewis Hamilton
** Gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:22.318 by Sebastian Vettel
^ Räikkönen and Ricciardo will incur a 2-place grid penalty apiece for pit exit infringements; Grosjean incurs a ten-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Ricciardo at the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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