In a season that began to look completely unpredictable, Red Bull are beginning to dominate. Sebastian Vettel’s hot lap of 1m 13.784s was more than a quarter of a second faster than the closest car, Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren at 1m 14.087s. Behind them the championship leader for Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, came in at 1m 14:151s.
Both Lewis and Fernando looked threateningly close to challenging for pole but the German’s last lap around the spectacular Montreal circuit proved to be too quick for either of them.
Felipe Massa recorded his best qualifying position of the year in P6 with 1m 14:465s while Mark Webber at 1m 14:346s and Nico Rosberg on 1m 14:411s settled for P5 and P6 respectively. Romain Grosjean, Paul Di Resta, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button brought up the top ten.
The session started with both Pirelli Red Super Softs and Yellow Softs available to the drivers. Most opted to set fast times with the Super Softs as they would need the harder compound for tomorrow’s grueling race. It was clear that the grip levels around the track were varying drastically as drivers found themselves spinning and going off on small excursions.
Hamilton set the early pace with a banker lap of 1m 16:232s, which soon went down to 1m 15:300s as the rubber was laid down. A new rear wing update for HRT this round meant they had the potential to beat closest rivals, Marussia.
Before being relegated out of Q1, Narain Karthikeyan ensured the fastest time through the speed trap would belong to HRT at 324 kmph!
Along with him, Charles Pic, Timo Glock, Pedro Da La Rosa, Jean Eric Vergne, Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalaninen were relegated.
The ‘Wall of Champions’ at turn 14 loomed larger as drivers began to push for faster lap times. While television cameras revealed that many had brushed their tyres on the wall, at the front a battle between Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel was emerging. Vettel threw down the gauntlet with a 1m 13:905s scorcher. It was never challenged.
His RB8 has been in the news for a controversial floor modification recently. But the FIA has now deemed it legal. Kamui Kobayashi, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado went no further. Maldonado damaged his rear suspension against the much talked about wall. This brought out the Yellow flags.
It was a difficult day for Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen. Both had limited running on Friday practise and were nowhere close to their teammates pace today. Grosjean out-qualified the Finn for the fifth time. And Hamilton has been faster on all seven outings so far.
With Di Resta deciding to save tyres for the race like Button, and Schumacher sitting pretty in P9 with an aborted lap, it was the familiar three up ahead of the timesheets. Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. Without doubt the faces of modern Formula 1. Does the real season start here tomorrow? Let’s hope the vicious Champion’s wall doesn’t have a say in that.