Sebastian Vettel may have taken pole position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix, but in a qualifying session blighted by persistent rainfall and a red flag period it was Williams’ rookie Valtteri Bottas who stunned the paddock with the 3rd fastest time.
The afternoon got off to a damp start and the unpredictable weather conditions cost Paul Di Resta dear – the Force India driver was left marooned in his pit box while his car received attention for a gearbox fault, losing him any chance of setting a competitive time as the rain came down harder. By the time the Scot made it onto the circuit it was too late and he was left seething in 17th place, just two ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean who also lost out.
McLaren had expected the rain to present them with an opportunity to obtain a good result, but their hopes ended when Felipe Massa crashed his Ferrari at turn 3 and brought out the red flags. Once again the Woking team’s operational procedures were called into question when they failed to get Button, lying 12th when the session restarted, to the end of the pitlane in time and he failed to make it across the finish line to start a flying lap before the 1:59 remaining on the clock evaporated.
Q3 was a similar lottery and saw Lewis Hamilton post the fastest time early on before Vettel sneaked ahead as the weather got gradually worse. Bottas had been competitive all session and didn’t disappoint his fans, his time placing him 3rd ahead of established names such as Alonso, Webber and Raikkonen. Thanks to further rainfall, no-one improved their time and Williams had cause to celebrate in the Montreal rain.
“It was very tricky, especially as you never knew what conditions it would be next time you were out. We decided to have two runs in the final part and we thought the second one would be quicker especially as we had new tyres, but it started to drizzle again and the track was too wet in the final sector. It was very tight with Lewis – in the end everyone was improving in the first two sectors but the last two corners did not allow anyone to go quicker. I didn’t mind but it just goes to show how difficult it was for everyone.” Sebastian Vettel
“Today’s qualifying was one of those sessions where it either all falls into place for you – or it doesn’t. And we were just out of luck this afternoon. We encountered yellow flags, a red flag; and, when the session restarted, I crossed the line about half a second too late to start my final flying lap. We weren’t as competitive as we thought we’d be, and 14th obviously isn’t the place where I want to start, but the good news is that you can overtake around here. A race in mixed conditions tomorrow would be good for us.” Jenson Button
“It means a lot. It has been a difficult first six races for us, so this will be a nice boost for the team. We really got everything right today.” Valtteri Bottas
“It’s not even acceptable what happened, wasn’t the right settings, had a problem with the gearbox and sat in the garage for four minutes getting that fixed. It wasn’t that serious a problem. And then when we got out there again it was raining. We need to look at what happened because it’s not’s acceptable and I’m sure the management won’t think so either.” Paul Di Resta
More to follow.
TIMES – QUALIFYING – CANADIAN GP
|17||Di Resta||Force India||1:25:908|
|22||Van Der Garde||Caterham||1:27:110|