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Qualifying analysis - take nothing for granted in Montreal 08 Jun 2008

Post qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1, second; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, pole position; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 7 June 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 7 June 2008 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 7 June 2008 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF108.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 7 June 2008 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA108.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 7 June 2008

Despite a track that was breaking up in several places, and the strong challenge from BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton planted his McLaren firmly on pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix with a lap six-tenths faster than the Pole’s. He is thus perfectly placed to repeat his maiden win here last year, but with poor weather expected, the need for sections of the track to be resurfaced overnight, and the likelihood of safety car interventions, nobody is taking anything for granted. If anything, all of the teams are expecting a chaotic race!

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 17.886s, P1
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 19.089s, P7

When it really mattered - on his final run of the day - Hamilton simply rose to the occasion, utilised everything that a very good car had to offer, and blitzed his opposition to take pole position, the eighth of his F1 career. Riding high after Monaco, he suddenly looks again like the man who dominated in Melbourne. Kovalainen showed flashes of what he can do, but said that he never really got a clear run on his way to a disappointing seventh place.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, 1m 18.498s, P2
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 19.633s, P8

As Kubica yet again starred, Heidfeld continued his struggle to like the BMW Sauber F1.08. The Pole was cautious not to read too much into his excellent performance - and he, after all, knows exactly what fuel load he was running - but the German said he was less happy with his Q3 times than he had been with those from Q2 when he was within a tenth of his team mate.

Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 18.735s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 19.048s, P6

Both Raikkonen and Massa complained of losing huge amounts of time exiting Turn 10. Each believe their car to have been capable of fighting for pole position, and the practice times bore that out, but the fact remains that Hamilton found the grip in all three qualifying sessions, especially on his last run when it really mattered, and they didn’t. The fascination in the race will lie in observing their individual strategies.

Renault
Fernando Alonso, 1m 18.746s, P4
Nelson Piquet, 1m 18.393s, P15

Alonso said that his Renault felt very sensitive, but was delighted with a fourth place that may yet prove to owe something to a lighter fuel load than rivals’. Sunday will tell. Piquet struggled again, and never looked likely to get beyond Q2.

Williams
Nico Rosberg, 1m 18.844s, P5
Kazuki Nakajima, 1m 18.062s, P12

Rosberg was very happy with his car and himself, especially given the state of the track, and to have achieved his goal after Monaco of not making any mistakes. Fifth was a great reward. Nakajima yet again failed to get through to Q3, albeit by 0.042s!

Honda
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 20.848, P9
Jenson Button, 1m 23.565s, P19

Barrichello was very pleased with ninth on the grid as he really got the most out of his Honda RA108, but poor Button’s chances of doing anything with a car that still handled poorly were frustrated by a problem with third gear that led to loss of drive early in Q1.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 18.031s, P10
David Coulthard, 1m 18.238s, P13

Webber said he was happy with his Red Bull’s performance until, right at the end of Q2 and on his way pitward, he got slightly off line in the back chicane, got on to the marbles, and couldn’t bring the R4 back. The resultant tap with the wall damaged his right front suspension, which could not be fixed in time to get him out again for Q3. On his first run Coulthard said he got held up by Bourdais, on the second by Piquet.

Toyota
Jarno Trulli, 1m 18.327s, P14
Timo Glock, 1m 18.031s, P11

Glock struggled to get a decent balance on his TF108, and that was compounded by the track conditions. Trulli said the latter were a disaster and demonstrated it by spinning twice.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 19.108s, P17 will start P16
Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 19.165s, P18 will start P17

Sutil said his Force India felt worse in qualifying than it had in morning practice, but that may have been because of the changing track conditions. He qualified 17th, but starts 16th after Bourdais’ penalty. Fisichella was very little slower, but lacked confidence in the track, which he described as ‘undriveable.’ He moves up a place too because of Toro Rosso’s problems.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Bourdais, 1m 18.916s, P16, will start P20
Sebastian Vettel, No time, will start P19

Bourdais described his day as one of the worst of his career after his shunt this morning. That required the gearbox to be changed, so after qualifying 16th he will start from 20th and last place. Vettel, of course, did not run at all as his car is being rebuilt around a new monocoque for the race. He will start 19th as a result.

David Tremayne