Qualifying analysis - take nothing for granted in Montreal 08 Jun 2008
Despite a track that was breaking up in several places, and the strong challenge from BMW Saubers Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton planted his McLaren firmly on pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix with a lap six-tenths faster than the Poles. 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!
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.
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.
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 didnt. The fascination in the race will lie in observing their individual strategies.
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.
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!
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 Buttons 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.
Mark Webber, 1m 18.031s, P10
David Coulthard, 1m 18.238s, P13
Webber said he was happy with his Red Bulls 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 couldnt 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.
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.
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 Rossos problems.
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.