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Qualifying analysis - Vettel halts the Mercedes train 08 Jun 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, centre, and Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal, right.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03 waits for the lights to turn green for a shortened Free Practice Three.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Montreal weather did its best to make qualifying a logistical and strategic nightmare, but at least it was the same for everyone. Intermediate tyres were the order of the day throughout, with drizzle in Q2 and in the final sector in Q3 generally preventing the racing line from really drying out. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was the man to master the conditions, taking his third pole in as many years here and halting Mercedes recent run of four successive P1 grid slots. We take a team-by-team look at Saturday in Canada…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 25.425s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 26.208s P5

Red Bull finally managed to interrupt Mercedes’ run of pole positions, and though he made a couple of mistakes in his seconds runs Vettel said he was very happy with pole and felt that Red Bull had the situation covered either way should it be wet of dry for the race. Webber also made a costly mistake, running wide on his first run which proved to be his fastest as the conditions changed thereafter.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 25.512s, P2
Nico Rosberg, 1m 26.008s, P4

Hamilton ended Rosberg’s record of never being out-qualified by a team mate in Canada, and very nearly beat Vettel to pole. His final run was six to seven-tenths under the German’s time, but he couldn’t get turned in for the final two corners, and the time went away. But he did not seem at all happy with second place and said things had not gone to plan. Nevertheless, with changes to his car’s brake master cylinders and pedal leverage giving him better feel, he’s had the upper hand over his team mate all weekend and seems back to his old form. Rosberg’s recent run of poles also ended. He said he was hampered by failure of his radio, an essential tool in such changing conditions.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 25.897s, P3
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 29.917s, P13

Coming so soon after the disaster that was Monaco, Bottas’s superb qualifying form was a major fillip for Williams. And it was no fluke as the Finnish rookie was in the top four in each of the three sessions. It’ll be interesting to see how high he can stay if the race is dry. Maldonado was unlucky as the red flag came out when he was on a quick lap in Q2 and he was then mired in the heavy traffic at the restart and could not improve.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 26.504s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 30.354s, P16

Alonso said he was happy to have salvaged sixth on the grid from a session which had so many variables, and that he believes he will be able to overtake in the race. He’s one who’s praying for a dry race after the long-run pace the Ferrari showed yesterday afternoon when he was fastest. Massa had another horrible afternoon which ended with his third broadside collision with a tyre wall in two weeks when he spun in Turn 3 after an earlier visit to its escape road. He admitted to being very disappointed in himself, but promised an attacking race.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 26.543s, P7
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 27.946s, P10, will start P11

For a while Toro Rosso had both cars in the top 10. Vergne did a brilliant job on the Q2 restart to get into Q3, and then slipped in a lap very little slower than Alonso’s. Ricciardo got through in 10th, which surprised him as he said he was never happy with his STR8 on intermediates, but was then penalised down for starting in the wrong lane in the pits during the Q2 restart.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 27.348s, P8
Paul di Resta, 1m 24.908s, P17

Sutil did a terrific job to take another eighth place as Force India repeated their Monaco qualifying positions. The German was one of only three drivers to jump up in the Q2 restart, making it through to Q3 and taking a fourth-row slot. Poor Di Resta, the star of FP1, had a horrible day. This time something malfunctioned in the gearbox’s seamless shift software and he lost time while that was being attended to. By the time he got going again the conditions in Q1 were past their best, condemning him to another ninth-row start.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 27.432s, P9, will start P10
Romain Grosjean, 1m 25.716s, P19, will start P22

Lotus had a pretty tough day. Raikkonen said the E21 just didn’t have the grip to go any faster, and was then handed a two-place grid penalty for lining up in the wrong place for the restart in Q2. Meanwhile Grosjean encountered a yellow flag which hurt his first run in Q1, then deteriorating weather which scuppered his chances and left him 19th. His day got even worse when his 10-place grid penalty from Monaco was applied and dropped him to the back of the grid.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 29.435s, P11, will start P9
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 30.315s, P15

Sauber missed out in the Q2 restart when Hulkenberg got bumped out of Q3, but lucked in when Raikkonen and Ricciardo were penalised, moving him up from 11th to ninth. Gutierrez has looked strong against his team mate in the wet all weekend, but was another unlucky runner to encounter yellow and red flags at inopportune moments.

McLaren
Sergio Perez, 1m 29.761s, P12
Jenson Button, 1m 30.068s, P14

McLaren had a qualifying session to forget. Perez’s final effort in Q2 was frustrated by the red flag, and when the restart came he was stuck in traffic and could never set a decent time. Button was suffering deja vu after Friday’s gearbox problem echoed his 2012 experience here, and then his Q2 was blighted by yellow flags and then the red, and he crossed the start-finish line half a second too late to get a final attempt in. After his brilliant 2011 win, it’s not surprising he’s hoping for a race of mixed conditions.

Caterham
Charles Pic, 1m 25.626s, P18
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 27.110s, P22, will start P21

Pic was happy with the way they got his CT03 running for FP3 and Q1, and felt that he did a good job, but Van der Garde admitted to a mistake that cost him 1.5s at the end of his best lap, and was later frustrated by a yellow flag when he tried to improve on that.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 26.508s, P20, will start P19
Max Chilton, 1m 27.062s, P21, will start P20

Chilton looked good in FP3 when he was a strong 14th in the mixed conditions, but things didn’t really work out for either Marussia driver in Q1.

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