McLaren the clear leaders, as BMW surprise Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton is perfectly poised to score his first Grand Prix victory after taking pole position for Sundays Canadian Grand Prix. At 22 years, five months and two days old, he is the second youngest polesitter after team mate Fernando Alonso.
The Englishman was the dominant runner in qualifying here in Montreal, lapping his McLaren in 1m 15.707s. Alonso was on a quicker lap in the first two sectors, but ultimately the lap did not improve on Hamiltons and the world champion had to be content with 1m 16.163s for the other front row slot.
A dramatic final improvement for Nick Heidfeld put him ahead of the Ferraris, with 1m 16.266s for BMW Sauber, leaving Kimi Raikkonen fourth on 1m 16.411s and Felipe Massa fifth on 1m 16.570s. It may well be that the Ferraris are carrying more fuel, as they seem to perform better on the soft Bridgestone tyre rather than the super-softs on which the McLarens look so good. Time will tell.
Mark Webber was sixth with 1m 16.913s for Red Bull, narrowly beating Nico Rosbergs 1m 16.919s for Williams. Robert Kubica probably has more fuel than Heidfeld, and was eighth for BMW Sauber on 1m 16.955s. The fifth row belongs to Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 17.229s for Renault, and Jarno Trulli on 1m 17.747s for Toyota.
As Hamilton headed Alonso and Nick Heidfeld in Q2, Takuma Sato was the first runner to miss out on Q3 after lapping his Super Aguri in 1m 16.743s to head Toro Rossos Tonio Liuzzi (1m 16.760s), Hondas Rubens Barrichello (1m 17.116s), Red Bulls David Coulthard (1m 17.304s), Jenson Button in the second Honda (1m 17.541s) and Scott Speed for Toro Rosso (1m 17.571s).
The principal incident in the second session came when Heidfeld missed the last corner and had a time of 1m 16.519s disallowed by the stewards. He rectified that with a 1m 15.960s which left him third in Q2, but the price was a brush with the outside wall which necessitated inspection of his BMW Sauber prior to Q3.
The first session weeded out Super Aguris Anthony Davidson (1m 17.542s), Toyotas Ralf Schumacher (1m 17.634s), the unfortunate Heikki Kovalainen for Renault (1m 17.806s), Alex Wurz in the Williams (1m 18.089s) and the two Spykers of Adrian Sutil (1m 18.536s) and Christijan Albers (1m 19.196s).
Kovalainen was in the wars yet again, sliding his Renault backwards into the wall on the exit to the back chicane. That wiped off its rear wing, but Renaults mechanics worked wonders to get him going again as the session was red flagged temporarily while the debris was swept away. Kovalainen improved by almost two seconds on his previous time, but the midfield was so close that it wasnt enough.