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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: