Formula One News » F1 2013: Vettel ends Mercedes run with Canadian pole Posted on 08/06/2013
The German came out on top of two of the three phases on a damp Saturday afternoon at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, most crucially after posting a quick lap before conditions worsened in Q3. With only Adrian Sutil able to improve on his second set of tyres – and then only to eighth – Vettel was safe at the top of the pile.
The world champion’s closest challenge came from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, but the Briton, having to press on on an increasingly slippery track, ended up missing his braking for the final chicane and had to settle for second, just 0.08secs adrift of the Silver Arrows’ fifth straight pole.
If the front row was largely expected given practice performances, third place produced the biggest surprise of the day, if not the season so far. Williams has struggled to produce anything like its 2012 form in six race weekends so far, but Valtteri Bottas showed that he and the FW35 may have what it takes to claim the team’s first points after claiming the inside of row two on merit after a sterling qualifying performance.
The Finn’s efforts, which came after he languished well down the order in a similarly damp FP3, were enough to see off Nico Rosberg – the owner of the past three pole positions – and Mark Webber, while Friday pacesetter Fernando Alonso was only able to secure sixth spot as Ferrari struggled in the tricky conditions.
The rest of the top ten was completed by Jean-Eric Vergne, Adrian Sutil, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo as Toro Rosso responded well to the rain and Lotus did not, the E21 seemingly unable to generate enough heat in its intermediate tyres to give Raikkonen a shot at the front few rows.
Missing from the top ten, and thus allowing the likes of Bottas, Vergne and Ricciardo their moment ‘in the sun’, were some names expected to make more of an impact, regardless of the conditions.
Paul di Resta, who had topped Friday morning’s wet session, was the most frustrated as pitting for attention to his gearbox during the fastest part of Q1 left him unable to respond as times began to tumble. The Scot eventually proved good enough only for 17th, his second Q1 exit on the trot after an equally surprising Monaco debacle.
The Scot was joined on the sidelines by the man who had finished third in both of Friday’s sessions. Romain Grosjean made a mistake on his last flying lap and was consigned to 19th spot as a result. With the ten-place grid penalty he bears after clattering Ricciardo out of the race in Monaco, that will become a start from the very back on Sunday.
Another driver to make a violent exit from round six also found himself heading for an early bath in Montreal, albeit via another trip to the medical centre.
Felipe Massa’s hopes of bouncing back from his two accidents in Monaco weekend took a hit, literally, when he skated off into the turn three barriers in the closing moments of Q2. Although the incident brought out the red flags, there was no way for the Brazilian to rejoin the fray and he slipped to 16th when the action resumed.
The rest of the field had just under two minutes to turn their session around following the clear-up operation, but it wasn’t enough for Jenson Button, who blew his chances of hauling McLaren into the pole position shoot-out when he misjudged his run to the line ahead of what should have been his one flying lap. Seeing the lights turn red and the chequered flag appear before he started the clocks ensured the Briton would miss the cut, eventually dropping to 14th in the session.
Button’s McLaren team-mate, Sergio Perez, also failed to find enough time to make it into the top ten, and the Mexican will line-up one row ahead of the 2009 world champion as Woking’s finest faces a rare struggle in Canada.