Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
Following the drama of the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, Formula One travels to Canada to take on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Mercedes have dominated the F1 season so far but saw the animosity between drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton reach a boiling point following the conclusion of the race in Monte Carlo.
Rosberg claimed the lead in the championship standings but was aided by what some people viewed as a controversial maneuver during the qualifying session, blocking his teammate's chance of improving on his lap time, as reported by Sky Sports' Pete Gill.
The race itself was light on incidents, but as reported by The Telegraph's Daniel Johnson, even Mercedes' Niki Lauda had to admit the two drivers had some major issues to resolve:
Mercedes will have a tough time keeping a lid on the situation, but in Niki Lauda they have the perfect man for the job. The Austrian admitted that the row remained unresolved, with Hamilton still declining to accept Rosberg’s apology for what happened in qualifying. Lauda insisted it would be fixed before the next race in Canada, but admonished his drivers for failing to be courteous and recognise one another on the podium.
The gap in the standings between Hamilton and third-placed Fernando Alonso is an incredible 57 points, illustrating exactly how good the Mercedes cars have been.
Canada's track is nothing like the one we saw in Monte Carlo. The long straits favour the cars with more powerful engines. While Ferrari and Red Bull were able to separate themselves from the pack in Spain and Monaco, the battle behind Rosberg and Hamilton will be far closer in Canada.
Read on for full practice and qualifying results, as the drivers try to adjust from Monaco's technical track to Canada's all-out speedfest.
Qualifying: Nico Rosberg Leads Mercedes Dominance, Sebastian Vettel Third
Nico Rosberg will start the Canadian Grand Prix in pole position after an enthralling qualifying session in Montreal. The German will start ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton, giving Mercedes their third consecutive front-row lockout. Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a prosperous qualification session and he’ll start third.
Williams will be delighted with their qualifying performance, as their drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will begin tomorrow’s Grand Prix in fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.
Ferrari endured another difficult day of qualifying, as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen could only finish in seventh and tenth respectively. Between them, Toro Roso’s Jean-Eric Vergne will start in eighth, while Jenson Button will go off ninth in his McLaren
In the first qualifying session, the usual suspects were battling it out to avoid the drop at the first time of asking. After picking the first ever World Championship point for Caterham last time out at Monaco, Jules Bianchi was striving to make it through to the second qualifying round, but he was unable to match his heroics from a fortnight ago, finishing in 19th place.
Pastor Maldonado’s poor form continued as he pulled up early and was resigned to 17th place. Marcus Ericsson put his Caterham into the wall with 16 seconds remaining in Q1, spurring a flurry of red flags. That brought the session to an end and as a result Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton and Esteban Guttierez—who didn’t take part in Q1—also failed to make it into Q2.
The signs were promising ahead of Q2, as the track seemed to quicken up throughout the first phase. Williams were a team who sought to take advantage, and when Massa—who impressed throughout the practice sessions—posted a time of 1:15.773 to go top of the standings, it was clear they were going to very competitive around this circuit.
Vettel was facing a fight to make it into the top ten at this juncture, and throughout the course of the second phase he was loitering in the drop zone. But he found some real pace with the chequered flag out, and sneaked through into Q3.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez both dropped out in Q2, finishing 11th and 13th respectively; McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen was in 12th. Also dropping out were Adrian Sutil in the Sauber, Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.
After ending up in third and fourth position after Q2, Williams were keen on preserving their momentum in the final qualifying session, sending Bottas out to post the first time of the session, an impressive 1:15.550.
But the Mercedes’ were not far behind him on the track. Rosberg topped the Williams driver with a time of 1:14.946, and seconds later Hamilton posted his first hot lap of the session. But the Brit could only post a time of 1:15.014, putting him into second spot. Massa meanwhile, found himself down in fourth.
The second spell of hot laps saw Vettel make a move, putting together a wonderful lap to leapfrog the Williams duo into third place. Meanwhile, Rosberg was able to extend his lead with a time of 1:14.874, a tenth too quick for his teammate Hamilton, who could only post 1:14.953; a lock-up at turn eight costing the Brit dearly.
After winning in Monte Carlo last weekend, Rosberg was delighted to get the better of Hamilton on a track where his teammate is usually dominant, per BBC Sport:
I know it's a track where Lewis is really strong
I'm very happy it worked out. It has been a fantastic day and through the weekend we have been progressing all the time and I'm in the best position for tomorrow.
Hamilton, by contrast, felt as though he could have performed better, per BBC Sport:
It was not a particularly [bad lap], it just wasn't the greatest qualifying - sometimes you have a good qualifying, sometimes you have bad qualifying.
But it's a great to get a one-two for the team and a fantastic performance. Let's hope we can make history tomorrow.
Rosberg currently leads Hamilton by four points in the World Championship standings, making this qualification result look vital on the face of things. But Montreal is an extremely unpredictable circuit, with the pole-sitter only winning four of the last 12 races in Canada.
A Rosberg win would put some real daylight between him and his, teammate so it’s vital that the Brit gets the better of his teammate. Despite Hamilton’s qualifying performance, not to mention the fact that Hamilton has won three times here in his career already, he’ll certainly fancy his chances of being on the top step of the podium once again come the end of Sunday's race.
Here are your full qualifying results courtesy of Formula1.com:
P3: Felipe Massa Surprises, but Lewis Hamilton Is Still Top Dog
Williams driver Felipe Massa was the surprise package of the final practice session before Sunday's Candian Grand Prix, but he could only finish second place in the standings behind Lewis Hamilton, who was once again imperious in his Mercedes.
The Brit was just shy of half-a-second quicker than Massa, and 0.510 seconds clear of his teammate Nico Rosberg, who ended up third.
Massa's former Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest throughout the session, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Alonso's new Ferrari companion Kimi Raikkonen finishing with the fifth and sixth fasted times of the P3 respectively.
Although Massa's excellent performance here will give F1 fans hope that he can split the two Mercedes' in qualifying later on today, it's worth noting that Hamilton and Rosberg were the only two drivers who failed to improve on their times from yesterday's two practice sessions, even though they were on the supposedly faster tyre compound.
So while Hamilton was still the strongest around the Canadian circuit, there's a sense that both him and Rosberg still have plenty in reserve ahead of race qualification.
Despite Ricciardo's decent performance in P3, the race looks as though it could be difficult for the Red Bull team. The lengthy straights and harsh braking zones don't make for a good marriage with their current qualities, and team principal Christian Horner was quick to quell expectations ahead of the qualifying sessions, per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport:
I think Ferrari have made a step forward but so have Williams. We actually had Williams down as the fastest team on the race-simulation runs on Friday, so they could be a threat.
But all the Mercedes teams look in good shape. If we can get on the third row, that's a realistic proposition for the afternoon for us.
The main excitement in qualifying will almost certainly come in the form of the battle between Rosberg and Hamilton. The two drivers' relationship took a turn for the worse during qualification for the last race, when the German qualified ahead of the Brit at Monaco in controversial circumstances, per Sky Sports.
But with just four points separating leader Rosberg from second placed Hamilton atop of the World Championship standings, getting on pole is going to be vital here. If Rosberg can snatch it from Hamilton—who is superb around this particular circuit, having won here three times already—then it'd be a major boost ahead of Sunday's showpiece.
Full practice results, via Formula1.com:
P2: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Dominate Second Session
Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari may have gotten the better of the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg during the first practice, but Hamilton dominated the pack in the afternoon, and the Englishman looks a safe bet to make a run at the pole position in Montreal.
A fastest lap of 1:16:118 on the super soft tyres midway through the session was all that was needed, with teammate Rosberg unable to get under 1:16:293.
Both Mercedes drivers had difficulty navigating the first turn after the long strait and the hairpin near the end of the track during the first session, and with those issues sorted, Mercedes' superior engines reigned supreme. World Champion Sebastian Vettel clocked the third time, nearly half a second behind Hamilton.
The Red Bull car has struggled so far this season, and some have pointed at engine manufacturers Renault. Chris Horner told Sky Sports' James Galloway Renault are aware of the problem, while denying his team was looking into a potential change of engine:
Renault fully understand the predicament that they're in. [Renault-Nissan CEO] Carlos Ghosn was in Monte Carlo to look and see for himself.
There are no ultimatums with Renault other than we want to improve as quickly as we can. We have enjoyed a great deal of success with team over the years, all our World Championships and race victories have come with Renault engines and we trust in them to sort their issues out.
Ferrari have travelled to Montreal with an engine upgrade and it's showing, Kimi Raikkonen finishing in fourth despite having some issues with oversteer. Teammate Alonso clocked the fifth time, as both drivers were unable to complete their fastest laps entirely mistake-free.
The Ferrari's aren't the only cars that look significantly faster than they did in Monte Carlo, however. Both Williams and Force India made solid impressions with their runs on the first practice day, and with Canada's wide-open track evening the playing field behind the Mercedes cars considerably, the actual Grand Prix could turn into a must-see event.
The hairpin turn claimed several more victims during the second practice session, with a full spin by Raikkonen the most spectacular example. Several of the drivers seemed to have difficulties controlling their cars pure power coming into the turn leading to a numbers of drivers locking up, and the track's slippery status didn't help either.
Weather remained very clear, however, and that is not expected to change ahead of the race on Sunday.
Full practice results, via Formula1.com:
P1: Fernando Alonso Edges out Mercedes Duo
Fernando Alonso looked very impressive during the first practice session in Canada, clocking the fastest time in 1:17:238—0.016 faster than Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari travelled to Montreal with an engine upgrade, and it became evident their cars would be much improved when compared to the early parts of the 2014 F1 season, as Alonso went head-to-head with the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the last 30 minutes of the session.
Hamilton and Rosberg continued their battle for supremacy in the championship standings, swapping the early lead in the session. However, both looked unstable coming out of the strait. Despite Hamilton clocking the top time in every section of the track, it still wasn't enough to beat Alonso for the top spot in the end.
Sebastian Vettel sounded determined to make up ground in Montreal, telling BBC Sport the difference in power between his Red Bull and the Mercedes cars will make beating Hamilton and Rosberg hard, but not impossible:
We're down on power and it will be hard to match Mercedes, but we've been competitive in the past here.
In 2011 we were in a good position to win and we did win last year, but we know it could be a difficult weekend this time. But, saying that, you can make up a lot of time in the corners here.
Vettel wasn't able to keep things close with the three drivers at the top, but he still put together a solid performance in the first session, finishing fourth. His Red Bull locked up several times in the first turn, but with plenty of space to move outside, no major harm was done.
Felipe Massa had to end his session prematurely with a ERS pump failure on his Williams, while Marussia's Jules Bianchi touched the wall on a fast corner early in the session.
Dark clouds started to gather as the first practice session came to a conclusion, so the second practice session could be held on a wet track. Several drivers already seemed to struggle with their cars sliding in both the first corner and the hairpin near the end of the track, and a wet track will not make the more powerful engines easier to control.
Full practice results, via Formula1.com: