Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix produced another Mercedes front-row lockout, but the Saturday battle for grid honours produced a few surprises at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Who were the winners and losers of qualifying?
While the session threatened to deliver some upset results thanks to the possibility of rain, conditions remained dry and that allowed the works Mercedes to dominate proceedings. Exactly who out of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would claim top spot was the real unknown heading into Q3, but in the end it was the four-time Canadian Grand Prix winner Hamilton who won out to claim his 53rd career pole. He edged out Rosberg, who made a small mistake on one of his flying laps.
A driver to brush the wall was Daniel Ricciardo, with the Red Bull Racing driver still managing to post his fastest flying lap – despite the error – to qualify fourth-fastest ahead of teammate Max Verstappen.
Sergio Pérez has never started in the top-ten in Canada, but the Mexican has been on the podium in the past. His record continued into 2016 thanks to being outqualified by his Force India teammate Nico Hülkenberg, who made it into Q3 and will start in ninth place.
Neither McLaren Honda was expected to fare well on this horsepower-dependent circuit, but Fernando Alonso managed to sneak into Q3 and will start from tenth place. Teammate Jenson Button posted almost identical sector times to the Spaniard, but a crucial lock-up cost the Englishman a place in the final session.
Ricciardo was one of the lucky ones at least. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen suffered a big crash in FP3 and the resulting damage meant he didn’t take part at all in qualifying. His teammate Jolyon Palmer narrowly missed out on making it into Q2 by just one-hundredth of a second.
Carlos Sainz was another driver to go over the limit and was the latest addition to the ‘Wall of Champions’ crash victims. The Spaniard smacked the wall in Q2 in a ‘do or die’ effort to get into the top-ten, succeeding only in giving his mechanics an unnecessary overnight repair job and briefly red-flagging the session. His teammate Daniil Kvyat qualified thirteenth-fastest but will take a grid penalty as a result of his Monaco crash antics.
Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto also came to grief against the barriers, tagging the wall at Turn 4 and puncturing a tyre. The Indonesian rookie was outqualified by teammate Pascal Wehrlein, but won’t start from the back row of the grid thanks to Magnussen’s non-participation and a three-place grid penalty for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who qualified 19th-fastest.
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