Canadian GP Qualifying: Alonso on the Front Row, Verstappen on Pole
A wet qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve ended with a Red Bull-Alpine front row. What does this mean for tomorrow's race?
In changing conditions, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was the quickest in every session of qualifying. The Dutchman took pole position after a tight battle, but he proved that he is confident no matter the conditions; on both full wet and intermediate tires.
His teammate Sergio Perez crashed out early in Q2 when he hit the wall at Turn Three. He will start P13. This takes some pressure off of the reigning World Champion because Perez is his closest rival as it stands.
El Plan (part 2)
Fernando Alonso was lighting fast all weekend. The 40-year-old pushed Verstappen, but the young driver continued to put in faster laps. Alonso would set a fast lap, then Verstappen would come along and do better, and this happened several times. In the end, Alonso could not best Verstappen, but he did put his Alpine on the front row.
It was an impressive result from the veteran, who said after the session, “I think that I will attack Max into the first corner," then he smiled and winked. Clearly, he plans to get his elbows out, as well as sew doubt for Verstappen when the two head into Turn One tomorrow.
Ferrari’s Troubles Continue
Charles Leclerc was out in Q1 and will start from the back because of a grid penalty for taking a new engine component.
The Ferrari driver watched on with the engineers from the paddock, as he cheered on his teammate Carlos Sainz. Sainz drove well, but in his final attempts in Q3, he couldn’t best Verstappen or Alonso. The Spaniard will start tomorrow’s race in the third position.
Haas Into Q3 Again
Mick Schumacher was rapid for the first time really in qualifying. His teammate Kevin Magnussen was also quick, and the pair of Haas cars finished a mighty P6 and P5, respectively.
It was Schumacher’s best-ever result in qualifying; he showed today why he deserves his seat in F1.
Mercedes Gamble on Slicks
Lewis came back from a rough race last week to finish P4 in tricky conditions, ahead of his teammate, George Russell in P8. Russell went for a risky move when he pitted for slick tires, gambling of course on whether or not the track was dry enough. It wasn’t, and he slid off in Turn Two. It’s a shame because Russell showed pace this weekend, and it makes me wonder if the gamble was his call or the team's. Fortunately for the Mercedes drivers, it seems that the porpoising has subsided a bit, although I speculate that it could change in dry conditions. To read up on the latest controversies related to porpoising, check out my article for Belly Up Sports.
First for Zhou
Guanyu Zhou, the rookie Alfa Romeo driver, made Q3 for the first time in his F1 career. Unfortunately for him, he failed to improve his position after Q2, so the Chinese driver will be starting P10.
There is no rain in the forecast for the race tomorrow, which is disappointing for some and ideal for others. The teams that set up their car for a good result in a wet qualifying will have to race in the dry with that setup. The teams that opted for the dry setup would have sacrificed qualifying pace to have a better ride in the race.
My prediction for tomorrow?… It will likely “Go Dutch” in Montreal with Verstappen winning, and hopefully, Alonso can hold onto a podium.