June 11, 2011

F1 Quals: Canada 2011

Leaden, heavy skies awaited the F1 Circus as Quals for the 2011 Grand Prix of Canada got underway, but would the rain come?  Or would the galoshes come out for the first time this year?  Let's take a look at the provisional grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:14.011 1:13.486 1:13.014
2 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:13.822 1:13.672 1:13.199
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.026 1:13.431 1:13.217
4 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:14.375 1:13.654 1:13.429
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.114 1:13.926 1:13.565
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.920 1:13.950 1:13.814
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.374 1:13.955 1:13.838
8 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.970 1:14.242 1:13.864
9 Grizzly Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:15.096 1:14.467 1:14.062
10 The Red Menace
Renault 1:14.699 1:14.354 1:14.085
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:14.874 1:14.752
12 Subdeacon Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:15.585 1:15.043
13 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.694 1:15.285
14 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:14.931 1:15.287
15 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:15.901 1:15.334
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:15.331 1:15.361
17 Pete Rose
Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.229 1:15.587
18 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:16.294

19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:16.745

20 Heikki Kovalainenninnie Lotus-Renault 1:16.786

21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:18.424

22 Timo Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.537

23 Narain Kittylitter HRT-Cosworth 1:18.574

Custard d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:19.414

Q1 107% Time

Okay yes, Seb Vettel is on pole for the sixth time in seven races, and yes, his lap was the fastest this track has seen since 2004 when F1 was in the middle of a tire war, used V-10 engines and had huge wings.  But the two Ferrari drivers made him work for it.  Indeed, both Felipe Massa and HWMNBN were on pole at various times in Q3.  Vettel actually had to come out for a second hot lap, something he hasn't done for a couple of races... meaning that he won't have that unused set of super-soft tires in pocket tomorrow.  Tracks like Montreal don't really suit the Red Bull chassis, which performs better on low speed circuits.  I think this pole lap was probably Vettel's best of the season; he looked so smooth and controlled out there, like he wasn't under any pressure whatsoever. 

Yet Ferrari very nearly took the front row from him.  Both look strong, but whether that's because the car works well on a low fuel load or if it can truly duel with the Red Bull, we won't discover until tomorrow. 

And what of the McLarens?  The two of them have to be running a lot of rear wing, for they were dreadfully slow through the speed trap (~190mph, when the Force Indias are over 200).  That's great for traction, but then why did they still look twitchy through the chicanes?  I can only assume they are running a wet setup on Hamilton's and Button's cars.  It's a gamble, but if the rains come they'll be in the catbird seat.  And the weather forecast suggests it will rain at some time during Sunday's race.

Further down the grid, bonus points to Pete Rose for making it to Q2.  He was given roughly 10 minutes to get ready going into P2, it took the team over an hour to modify the cockpit to fit him (he's nearly six inches taller than the driver he's replacing), he'd never been in the 2011 Sauber challenger, and they didn't even have a Sauber firesuit for him.  Yet he still made it out of Q1.  Pretty spiffy, that. 

Unfortunately, it looks like we'll only have a 23-car grid.  Custard d'Ambrosio just couldn't figure out the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and his time falls below the 107% mark.  Unlike in Monaco where HRT was allowed to race because their pace in P3 was faster than their Quals time, Custard hasn't been fast all weekend.  Look for him to be on the sidelines when the lights go out on Sunday.

We'll see you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:18 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I think it's really classy that McClaren was willing to let Pete Rose race for someone else today.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 11, 2011 02:30 PM (+rSRq)

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