Canadian GP 2018
JUNE 9, 2018
Qualifying Report - Out of juice
By Dan Knutson in Montreal
"I was running a bit out of juice at the end," Sebastian Vettel radioed on his cooldown lap after his final qualifying lap for the Canadian Grand Prix. But the Ferrari driver had enough juice to win the 54th pole of his career.
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari - Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes -Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda - Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen had gone quickest in all three practice sessions, topping things off with a 1:11.599s on Pirelli's hyper soft tires in FP3. Hamilton won the pole in 2017 with a lap of 1:11.459.
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Centigrade).
Five drivers would be eliminated at the end of Q1 which lasted 18 minutes. One of them was Grosjean whose engine emitted a huge plume of smoke as he pulled out of the garage.
Vettel set the early pace with a 1:12.110. Raikkonen chipped that down to a 1:12.050 and then a 1:11.725.
The drivers were on the hyper soft tires including Verstappen who went third with a 1:12.008. Then Vettel got down to a 1:11.710.
With six minutes to go, Magnussen was 15th and on the bubble with Alonso 14th and Stroll 16th. Ericsson's session ended when the slid along the wall.
Out front it was Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton and Ricciardo.
While the order at the top remained almost the same, there were changes at the cut line.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Gasly, Stroll, Sirotkin, Ericsson and Grosjean.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Ocon, Hartley, Magnussen, Sainz, Perez, Hulkenberg, Leclerc, Alonso and Vandoorne.
The question leading into the 15-minute Q2 was if some of the top teams would try to use the ultra soft tires rather than the hyper softs, thus allowing them to start the race on the more durable tire.
There were no Grosjean-smokers at the start of this session.
The Ferrari and Merc drivers headed out on the ultra softs.
Vettel clocked a 1:11.524, a time that Bottas beat with a 1:11.514. Raikkonen was third and Hamilton fourth at this stage.
The Red Bulls ran the hypers. Verstappen topped the times with a 1:11.472 while Ricciardo took sixth place.
With five minutes to go, Hulkenberg was tenth and on the bubble with Perez ninth and Magnussen 11th.
The order at the top as Verstappen, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Ricciardo.
Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Bottas now emerged on the hyper soft tires. But the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers did not improve, so would start the race on the ultra soft rubber.
Ricciardo grabbed the lead with a 1:11.434. Verstappen, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Ocon and Perez rounded out the 10 drivers moving on to Q3.
It was the first time in the weekend that Ricciardo had gone quicker than teammate Verstappen.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Magnussen, Hartley, Leclerc, Alonso and Vandoorne.
Hamilton was first out in Q3 that lasted 12 minutes. It was 11 years ago to the date that he had earned his first F1 pole and at this very same track.
All the drivers would use the hyper soft tires in this session.
Bottas slammed in a 1:10.857. Vettel beat that with a 1:10.776. Raikkonen was third and Hamilton fourth in the early going. Then Verstappen moved into fourth and Ricciardo into sixth.
The drivers headed for the pits to prepare for the usual last blast in Q3. All 10 of them were on track in the final two minutes.
Hamilton clocked a 1:10.996. But Vettel improved to a 1:10.764 to take the pole. Bottas held onto second ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Sainz and Perez.