I love the Canadian Grand Prix. Canada has one of the best race circuits in the world and some of the best fans who never fail to fill the grandstands.
However, it’s hard to explain how I felt about the qualifying for the 2011 Grand Prix in Montreal.
Yes, Sebastian Vettel is pole again, but he was pushed to the very last corner by a resurgent Ferrari. In that respect, the qualifying today was great, and it was a very welcome change to see all of the cars out on track for the whole final session.
It has to be said, though, that Montreal continued a worrying trend in F1 qualifying for 2011, it was closer than it has been, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of inevitability in every single session.
Jerome D’Ambrosio set the first time of the session with a 1:25:366.
With the threat of rain looming over the teams, it was great to see D’Ambrosio quickly joined on the track by every other driver eager to get a time in.
From an early stage, it became clear that today’s fight would be between the Ferrari team that had done very well in all of the practice sessions and the Red Bull team who had been expected not to perform as well in Canada.
McLaren and, to an extent, Mercedes had promised a lot, but at this stage, weren’t looking great for a Top 4 spot.
There are rumours floating around the paddock that Jamie Alguersuari will be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo. I think Torro Rosso should be looking at Sebastien Buemi when considering a driver change, but I think Alguersuari’s stress was evident by his erratic driving in Q1.
It was relatively close towards the end of the first session, but in the end, the expected drivers bowed out and they were joined by an unhappy Alguersuari.
Q1 Top 3:
Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa
Jamie Alguersuari, Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalienen, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Timo Glock, Narain Karthikeyan, Jerome D’Ambrosio (failed to make the 107 percent time required to take part in the race)
This session was easily the worst today. Possibly the worst second session I have seen in a long time.
Pastor Maldinado set the first time of 1:17:871.
The Williams driver was quickly beaten by a blisteringly quick Sebastian Vettel. Vettel set a 1:13:690—the fastest time anyone had set this weekend.
However, Vettel was then overtaken by an amazing time from Fernando Alonso, and then Mark Webber jumped to pole!
Of course this was exciting, and it was great to see such a close fight at the top, but I have to say, this was the only thing worth reporting. Very early in the second session, the usual suspects occupied the drop out zone and apart from a super quick time from Massa with about five minutes left, nothing much changed.
I can’t remember ever seeing a second session in which the Top 9 drivers felt comfortable enough to stay in the pits with just under three minutes left!
Q2 Top 3:
The final session promised a lot, and to an extent delivered an interesting end to today’s qualifying.
Sure, Vettel ended up in pole again, but I think he was pushed very hard by both Ferrari drivers and Mark Webber.
Nick Heidfeld’s opening time of 1:15:721 ended up looking amateur compared to Vettel’s eventual 1:13:014, but as I said, it was great to see all of the cars out on track as the checkered flag dropped.
I expect McLaren and Mercedes will be very disappointed by their quiet weekends, but with a significant threat of rain for tomorrow, perhaps they’ll be able to make amends.
As a fan of the Canadian Grand Prix and Ferrari, of course I feel excited about tomorrow's race and pretty satisfied by today’s result. Whilst I believe the Grand Prix will deliver tomorrow, I am concerned about the two DRS zones. I hate DRS and I think it has the potential to ruin a great race, but I’m confident that Montreal always throws a few spanners in the works.
The 2011 qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix was by no means a stunner, but I think it has set up an interesting race for tomorrow.
1 Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault 1:13.014
2 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari 1:13.199
3 Felipe Massa, Ferrari 1:13.217
4 Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault 1:13.429
5 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.565
6 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP 1:13.814
7 Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.838
8 Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP 1:13.864
9 Nick Heidfeld, Renault 1:14.062
10 Vitaly Petrov, Renault 1:14.085
11 Paul Di Resta, Force India-Mercedes 1:14.752
12 Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Cosworth 1:15.043
13 Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber 1:15.285
14 Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes 1:15.287
15 Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.334
16 Rubens Barrichello, Williams-Cosworth 1:15.361
17 Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber 1:15.587
18 Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.294
19 Jarno Trulli, Lotus-Renault 1:16.745
20 Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus-Renault 1:16.786
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi, Hispania-Cosworth 1:18.424
22 Timo Glock, Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.537
23 Narain Karthikeyan, Hispania-Cosworth 1:18.574
24 Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin-Cosworth 1:19.414