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Qualifying analysis - Hamilton leaves Red Bull playing catch-up 12 Jun 2010

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 12 June 2010 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 VJM03 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 12 June 2010 Robert Kubica (POL) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 12 June 2010 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 12 June 2010 Karun Chandhok (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 12 June 2010

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton finally ousted Red Bull from the top grid slot on Saturday after taking pole position during the dying moments of a thrilling qualifying session in Montreal. Red Bull’s Mark Webber is second on the grid ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in the second McLaren. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed…

Lewis Hamilton, 1m 15.105s, P1
Jenson Button, 1m 15.520s, P5

Tyres were the talk of the day, and fuel afterwards. Especially in McLaren’s case. The team gambled and ran both Hamilton and Button on the soft Bridgestone option tyres. Hamilton made the best use of them in an MP4-25 that had rapidly had two new left-hand corners fitted after Practice Three, and grabbed pole from the Red Bulls at the last gasp. Button said he was happy with his own Q3 lap but that he couldn’t match Hamilton, whose performance he described as ‘phenomenal’. Button has chief race engineer Phil Prew as his crew chief this weekend after regular race engineer Jacob Andreasen was sent home after being taken ill on Friday. In the evening, after Hamilton had stopped out on the track on his slow down lap after running out of fuel, McLaren were reprimanded and fined $10,000 by the stewards for exceeding the maximum permitted time to make it back to the pits.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 15.373s, P2
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 15.420s, P3

Red Bull failed to take pole position for the first time this season, but it took a low-fuelled McLaren on the softer option tyre to do it. Webber was clearly very happy with his run, which beat Vettel yet again, and is brimful of confidence for the race. Vettel admitted that his quick lap wasn’t neat, and said it was almost boring having to do so many laps in Q3 to get the primes fully heated. He too, however, believes that he will be in very good shape for the race.

Fernando Alonso, 1m 15.435s, P4
Felipe Massa, 1m 15.688s, P7

Ferrari made a solid comeback here after their disasters in Turkey, and the medium downforce Circuit Gilles Villeneuve suited the F10 better. Alonso said he has his sights set realistically on a podium, especially as the F10 is kind to its tyres. Massa said his best Q3 time came on his fourth lap as the primes came in, but that he didn’t produce the perfect lap.

Force India
Vitantonio Liuzzi 1m 15.648s, P6
Adrian Sutil 1m 15.881s, P9

Some significant changes to the VJM03, notably a new floor and front wing but also some rectifications of problems discovered on Liuzzi’s ‘old’ pre-Spain car, transformed the Italian’s chances and he made the most of them to take a strong sixth on the grid on the prime tyres. He’s expecting different tyre wear rates to create a potentially crazy race. Sutil yet again made it through to Q3 and said he had a little trouble getting temperature into his front tyres when it mattered.

Robert Kubica, 1m 15.715s, P8
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 16.844s, P14

Kubica said that it was a hard decision whether to go for the prime or the option tyre, but in the end Renault went with the former and suffered a slight drop in potential performance. Petrov said that he had lots of trouble heating up his rear primes in Q2, and that his performance in Q1 had relatively been better.

Rubens Barrichello, 1m 16.434s, P11
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 16.438s, P12

Williams hoped to do well here, and qualifying ahead of one Mercedes GP was a solid result. Barrichello was happy he got everything from his FW32, and Hulkenberg echoed his sentiments. Williams were encouraged to miss the top 10 by just a fraction on a quick track.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 16.071s, P10
Michael Schumacher, 1m 16.492s, P13

Mercedes GP’s issue was simple, but complicated. They just couldn’t get their tyres working. Schumacher couldn’t get enough heat into his primes in Q2 and was only 13th; Rosberg struggled with his options in Q3. Result: frustration and disappointment.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 17.384s, P17
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 18.019s, P18

BMW Sauber found that the C29 doesn’t like to run with low downforce, and both De la Rosa and Kobayashi struggled for grip as they tyres were insufficiently loaded and thus didn’t generate their optimum operating temperature.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 16.928s, P15
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 17.029s, P16

Buemi reckoned that 15th was the best he could expect and that he was happy enough with the lap he achieved. Alguersuari struggled to generate decent tyre temperature.

Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 18.237s, P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 18.698s, P20

Yet again Lotus had the legs of their ‘newbie’ rivals, but the T127 was also respectably close to BMW Sauber’s Ferrari-engined C29 as the green and yellow team continues to close the gap. Kovalainen said he was very happy with his car’s balance all weekend, and with his qualifying lap. Trulli got going after Friday’s troubles, but gambled on the options to try and leapfrog others, but said it didn’t pay off.

Timo Glock, 1m 18.941s, P21
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 19.675s, P23

Glock said that overnight changes had improved the VR-01 considerably, but that it still doesn’t like going over kerbs. Reverting to a higher downforce mode proved the right way to go on both cars, but Di Grassi said he had too much traffic on his second run, most notably Kobayashi.

Bruno Senna, 1m 19.484s, P22
Karun Chandhok, 1m 27.757, P24

Senna felt HRT had to start again as the track was still green this morning, but at least he got plenty of running. Chandhok was beached with a gearbox problem in the morning, and a sensor issue in qualifying after one slow lap.

David Tremayne