Saturday, 7 June 2008

Canadian Grand Prix: Qualifying Report

Lewis Hamilton recorded his second consecutive Montreal pole position with a blistering last minute lap to oust the impressive Robert Kubica. He wasn't just faster by a small margin either, he completely blitzed the field, which suggests that he may be running lighter than the other front runners on the grid. However, arguably the biggest story of qualifying was the condition of the track; it looked truly terrible as it broke apart throughout the session. The lap times were slow, and the drivers were incredibly cautious. Heaven only knows what sort of state it will be in during tomorrow's race after all the support races.

The session today was perfectly dry, and it was a beautifully warm and sunny day. Ideal conditions for driving a race car in theory. In practice however, things panned out rather differently as the track slowly began disintegrating from early on in the session. It was really disappointing to see, and Mark Webber in particular vented his frustration about the state of the track after he spun off at the end of Q2 and ruined his shot at the top-10 shootout. Lewis Hamilton's pole-setting time was a full TWO seconds slower than his pole time last year, which just shows how awful the track had become by the end of the session.

The first of the three sessions was fairly uneventful. With Vettel already out after his practice crash, and Button pulling out with a broken gearbox, there were only three more people to be eliminated. There were no shocks to be had, as the remaining Toro Rosso driver and both Force India drivers dropped out. Hamilton was comfortably fastest, and the only man to break under the 1:17s mark all afternoon.

The second session was a little more eventful. Jarno Trulli entertained the fans with some beautiful pirouetting in his Toyota. Needless to say, it didn't do him much good as he finished 14th ahead of Piquet and dropped out. Coulthard also dropped out, but complained about getting held up by Piquet who was on one of his patented epically slow hot-laps. Nakajima also dropped out after looking decent all weekend, and he was joined by Glock who put in one of his best showings of the season by beating his teammate for the very first time. As previously mentioned, Webber ended the session in the barriers and was robbed of the chance to fight it out in the final shootout.

Rubens Barrichello impressed by making it through to the final shootout for the first time in a while. He couldn't improve from ninth and last of the runners in the final session, but plenty of reason to be optimistic for one half of the Honda garage. For the rest of the field, it seemed to be a question of "who dares wins". Many drivers were extremely cautious in the deteriorating conditions, whereas the likes of Kubica and Hamilton seemed to throw caution to the wind and were throwing their cars over the kerbs with abandon. It seemed to work for them as they locked out the top row quite comfortably.

The Ferraris weren't too impressive, finishing in 3rd and 6th place for Raikkonen and Massa respectively. Whether they are heavier on fuel or not remains to be seen, but they may have their work cut out to stop Hamilton extending his lead in the championship.

Heidfeld and Kovalainen didn't impress at all, down in 8th and 7th place. More worryingly for them they were both comprehensively thrashed by their teammates. They were also well beaten by arguably the two stars of qualifying; Williams' Nico Rosberg and Renault's Fernando Alonso. They both managed to split the two Ferraris, and can be extremely happy with their day's work. They will both be hoping to convert their good performances into solid points finishes tomorrow after they both missed out in Monaco with accident filled races.

So tomorrow will be something of a voyage into the unknown for the drivers as they set out on a track which seems almost certain to fall to pieces throughout the course of the race. Lewis Hamilton is certainly in the ideal position as he will be able to avoid the trouble that will almost inevitably occur. There will probably be plenty of safety car periods throughout, just like last year. I think Mark Webber summed things up perfectly when he said they should be out on motocross bikes tomorrow, not Grand Prix cars...

Provisional Race Grid

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:17.886
02 R. Kubica BMW 1:18.498
03 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:18.735
04 F. Alonso Renault 1:18.746
05 N. Rosberg Williams 1:18.844
06 F. Massa Ferrari 1:19.048
07 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:19.089
08 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:19.633
09 R. Barrichello Honda 1:20.848
10 M. Webber Red Bull no time
11 T. Glock Toyota 1:18.031
12 K. Nakajima Williams 1:18.062
13 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:18.238
14 J. Trulli Toyota 1:18.327
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:18.393
16 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:18.916
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:19.108
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:19.165
19 J. Button Honda 1:23.565
20 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso no time

1 comment:

Riverside Speedway said...

Thanks for sharing the list for Provisional Race Grid.I will definitely visit this blog again. Keep updating us.

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