What the teams said - Qualifying in Canada
Ferrari topped the timing sheet in final practice courtesy of Vettel, but would their speed advantage hold when Mercedes turned their engine modes up for qualifying? The answer was an emphatic yes, with Vettel taking his first pole of the season by a healthy two-tenths of a second. Leclerc understeered his way round the last corner, losing valuable tenths and could only grab third after looking the pick of the Scuderia drivers early on in qualifying. They both start on the advantageous medium tyre too, after Ferrari finally managed to nail their strategy through Q2.
Sebastian Vettel, 1st, 1:10.240
“That was a good day for us and I’m really pleased for the team. The last couple of months haven’t been easy for us so it’s nice to get a result like today and it sends the right message to all the guys. We are flat out and the most important thing is we keep pushing. There’s a lot of adrenaline going around in qualifying and when they came on the radio I was really delighted. It was quite tense in terms of concentration and obviously you try to put everything in that one lap or in those two attempts that you have.
"Coming here, we knew that we would have better chances and we were able to confirm that. Our pace is stronger here and we are basically sure to avoid the soft tyre in the race. We’ll take it from there. Anything can happen tomorrow and we’ll race to find out, as simple as that. We know our competitors are very quick, especially over the distance and we’ve seen this in all the races so far, but we’re starting ahead of them and hopefully we’ll stay there and fight as hard as we can. It is important that the chance was there today and we took it. But now we must confirm it tomorrow. So hopefully more singing!”
Charles Leclerc, 3rd, 1:10.920
“Today’s result is great for our team and congratulations to Seb for securing pole position. He was very quick today and just put everything together. He deserves it. For my part, I have to improve the way in which I anticipate the track evolution, so that I can set up the car to be on point for Q3. I will analyse this and hopefully be stronger in this department at the next race. Starting from third place tomorrow is a great opportunity and it will be fun to be in the fight with our competitors. We will keep pushing and do our best to bring home a strong result.”
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"This pole is for our fans, who support us and are always right behind us, even when things aren’t going so well.
"We are very pleased with today’s result. We have demonstrated that, on some tracks we can be competitive, given that here in Canada our performance has been good all weekend. I think that we are working well, even if the results have not reflected that fact. But the team has shown the right spirit and today’s result is a boost for everyone.
"Sebastian put together a great lap. The potential was there and he produced it at the right moment. Charles also did a good job to take third on the grid. Tomorrow’s race will be long and very tough. We have to stay focussed. The temperatures are expected to rise and tyre degradation will be a key factor for everyone. But for now, we can enjoy today’s result!"
Mercedes knew they had a fight on their hands for pole and so it proved. Bottas discounted himself from the battle by spinning early in Q3, and thus only had one run to set a time. His preparation lap was ruined by traffic and he could only manage a lowly sixth. Hamilton as he so often has, nearly pulled it out of the bag. He set a blistering time on his final lap, and managed to split the two Ferrari cars on a day when the Scuderia had the edge. On long-run race pace though, it looks like advantage Mercedes...
Lewis Hamilton, 2nd, 1:10.446
"I think we gave it everything today, so I'm not disappointed. The timing was right, our procedures were good and I did everything I could. Overall, I'm happy with the job we've done and it leaves us in a good position for the race. We had P1 for a short moment, but Ferrari were just quicker. Particularly in the last sector - they were four, five tenths faster on the straight. But, we knew they were going to be quick and that's good, it's what racing should be. I'm glad I've been able to split the Ferraris today and tomorrow is going to be an interesting race. Hopefully we can put on a good show tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas, 6th, 1:11.101
"I made a mistake in the first run of Q3, had a snap and ended up spinning out of Turn 2. I was lucky that I didn't hit the wall, but it put me on the backfoot for the second run. My second lap was pretty messy - I had a number of lockups and didn't do a great job in the corners. It's not a lap that I'm very proud of, but mistakes happen. I need to learn from today, move on and come back stronger tomorrow. The car was feeling good and our long run pace looked strong on Friday, so I'm confident that there will be some opportunities in the race tomorrow. Overtaking is possible on this track and we've seen great racing here in the past, so I'll go flat out and try to get as many points as possible."
James Allison, Technical Director
"It looked like it was going to be a fight on Friday and so it's proved today. It was very tight up at the front and we definitely had to push very hard to get what we got today. The session was made slightly more interesting for us by juggling around the running order in Q2 as a result of Valtteri being pulled into the weighing scales. But really good work from the whole team and the drivers to get both our cars safely through to the race start on the Medium tyres, which is going to be an important factor tomorrow. Losing your first banker run in Q3 puts you right on the backfoot and Valtteri's rather lowly grid position is a direct consequence of that. But he knows that he starts on the right tyre tomorrow with cars ahead of him that don't, so hopefully he should be well placed for a strong race. Just as Friday showed that it was going to be tight in Qualifying, let's hope that Friday is also an accurate predictor of the race pace, because our high fuel simulations on Friday were competitive. It should be a hot, long, interesting and exciting race tomorrow."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Credit to Ferrari, they had the fastest car today and were very strong on the straights. Sebastian put in a stunning lap and deserves to be on pole. I think we gave them a good fight, Lewis was very quick and had two purple sectors but he lost a bit of time in the hairpin, so it wasn't quite enough. Valtteri suffered a spin on his first Q3 lap and didn't have the smoothest run on his last attempt, but it's still all to play for tomorrow. We knew Ferrari would be strong here and it's going to be a close fight in the race. We're starting on the Mediums, like the cars around us, and our long runs look positive. We'll give it everything we've got tomorrow and see what happens."
Timing wasn't with Red Bull today. First, Verstappen hit traffic and couldn't nail a run on the medium-compound tyre at the start of Q2. Languishing down in P11, the Dutchman had to go again and was caught out by the late red flags caused by Magnussen's crash. Exiting in Q2 was clearly disappointing but he will be one to watch tomorrow as he fights back through the field. Gasly made Q3 safely by running the soft tyre, and managed a credible P5 once there.
Max Verstappen, 11th, 1:11.800
“It was just unlucky today and these things happen in Formula 1. We tried to get through to Q3 on the medium but the tyre didn’t feel fantastic for us and with the traffic at the hairpin it didn’t really work out. We then went out on the soft, I was on a decent lap to make it through to Q3 but then the red flag came out and I couldn’t finish the lap. Starting 11th or maybe tenth depending on what’s going on with the Haas will be tricky as I have to clear the midfield before closing the gap to the leaders. That’s how it goes sometimes and you can never predict someone being in the wall. It’s not where we want to start as I want to be fighting the leader, but we should be able to recover our positions and still have a good race.”
Pierre Gasly, 5th, 1:11.079
“I think qualifying was pretty good. I didn’t have any tow and tried to squeeze everything I had out of the lap. I was pretty close to third place, but I think P5 is a good starting position for tomorrow and I think we can be happy with that. It was all pretty close today, we just missed a little bit. Tomorrow we know we have to start with the softs and that’s going to be a bit tricky, especially as apparently the weather will be even hotter than today but I think we will make the race pretty exciting to watch. I hope we can keep the pace and we will push as much as we can to challenge the top three.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“It was a frustrating qualifying for Max today. He had good pace in Q1 and we elected to go on the medium tyre, which would have been our start tyre, mirroring the strategy of Ferrari and Mercedes. We didn’t quite have enough pace on the medium and caught traffic so needed to run again in Q2 on the soft. Max was comfortably within the Q3 cut-off on his final lap but unfortunately the red flag caused by the Haas immediately stopped the session and he was unable to complete the lap. P11 for Max is obviously a disappointing grid position for what promised to be much more. Pierre made it comfortably through to Q3 on the soft tyre. He then took a different strategy by running three timed laps and a strong final lap put him P5 on the grid for tomorrow’s race, which now promises to be an exciting Canadian Grand Prix.”
Renault have struggled for one-lap pace this season, but managed to get both cars into Q3 for just the second time this year. As if that wasn't cause enough for celebration, Ricciardo managed to grab fourth with a stellar lap, out-qualifying his replacement at Red Bull in the process. With Hulkenberg an encouraging seventh, the team will be hopeful of a first double points finish of 2019.
Nico Hulkenberg, 7th, 1:11.324
“I can’t be too unhappy about that as my lap wasn’t bad, but I maybe left a tenth on the table. It’s my best qualifying of the season and we’re in a good position for tomorrow. Daniel pulled out a great lap and the overall team result today is excellent. The team has worked really hard – especially on the power unit - which has made a big step from last year. We, quite clearly, confirmed that progress today. Our race pace has looked good recently, so hopefully a strong result is on the cards tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 4th, 1:11.071
“I never thought I’d be so happy for a fourth place in qualifying; it feels like a pole position! It was so cool when they told me over the radio I was fourth. I’m really happy for the team today. This track is fun, I’ve always enjoyed it here. We seemed quick from the start of the day. Even yesterday we were fast, but we made further improvements and managed to put it all together for qualifying. We’ll see about tomorrow, the start could be interesting. For now, we’ll enjoy this moment as a fourth in qualifying is huge for us.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“We can be very happy with today’s qualifying result. We’ve been targeting a smooth weekend and that’s half the work done now. It’s a great qualifying result and a great effort from both drivers. We’ll do our best tomorrow but we have to be realistic with who we have behind us on the grid. We’ll do our best, not get ahead of ourselves, and target a sensible race. We have a great opportunity to have a big points haul.”
Magnussen's qualifying ended in spectacular fashion, as he caught the Wall of Champions on his final flying lap in Q2, careering across the track to make heavy contact with the opposing wall. Fortunately he walked away, but his mechanics will have a late night rebuilding that VF-19. The red flags that resulted from the Dane's crash put paid to his team mate's final flying lap and meant Grosjean wound up a disappointed 15th.
Romain Grosjean, 15th, Did not set a time in Q2
“It wasn’t the best of luck again. It’s not been an easy day. We had a broken rear wing in FP3, which meant we headed into qualifying having not run the soft tyres today. Q1 went okay, then in Q2 I played for the full aggressive strategy – going for one-timed laps. On my first attempt I locked up at turn six, so I couldn’t finish the lap. My second attempt was obviously then red flagged. Maybe we should have played it a bit more conservatively, or I should have asked for it, but I was happy to go for one-time, one-time in the session. So, that’s a bit of a shame. I don’t know if we’d have made it into Q3, but maybe just outside the top 10. It would have been a nice position for tomorrow.”
Kevin Magnussen, 10th, Did not set a time in Q3
“I just hit the wall – broke the rear suspension, then it shot me over to the pit wall in a big crash. We were fast, we made it to Q3, and I was improving. I was just trying to push everything, as I knew it was going to be tight. I went on the power a little too early, and everything followed from there. I’m very sorry for the team. They have a big job to do now. We’ll probably start from the pit lane tomorrow, but they deserve better.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It was all okay until it all went wrong. It just doesn’t seem we can catch a break here. The performance of the car was better than we expected over the whole weekend to now. Unfortunately, in Q2 qualifying Kevin (Magnussen) crashed heavily, and that compromised Romain’s (Grosjean) lap as well, as he was right behind him. But, as I said, it doesn’t seem we can catch a break in the moment. We’ll just keep on working hard to get back to where we should be. The car is fast. We didn’t expect it to be this fast, as this has been one of our weaker circuits, at least that’s what we had anticipated. We’re optimistic looking to the next races, we just need to try to get a little less unlucky.”
McLaren were fortunate with the timing of the red flag in Q2, meaning they got both cars through to Q3 for the first time since Bahrain. They couldn't compete with Renault in Q3 and Sainz aborted his final lap to take the gloss off what had been a good day. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he was then called to the stewards for impeding Albon in Q1 and handed a three-place grid drop for tomorrow.
Carlos Sainz, 9th, 1:13.981
“Overall, we can be satisfied with having both cars in Q3, which was one of the targets of the weekend. However, I made a mistake on my last run in Q3 and didn’t put together the lap we deserved today, which is a shame and I’m sorry for the team. I wanted to put the car as high as possible but these things can happen when pushing the limits of the track.
“Tomorrow we’re not starting where we wanted because of a penalty which is disappointing, but I’m confident we have a good chance of moving forwards and getting some points. Our pace was encouraging so I look forward to tomorrow. I like this track and we’ll be ready to grab any opportunity out there.”
Lando Norris, 8th, 1:11.863
“It was a perfect turnaround compared to yesterday and a good quali result in the end. Today was an improvement but it could’ve been even better - I didn’t do a great lap at the end of Q3. But P8 is a nice result and it gives me a good starting position for tomorrow.
“It’s a fun but tricky track and I gained in confidence with every lap. I was a long way off Carlos yesterday so I’m much happier today. I needed to turn things around and I was back on the pace in FP3. The Renaults were fast in quali so I couldn’t do a lot more.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“It was good to be back with two cars in Q3 recording P8 and P9. We made overnight changes and FP3 confirmed they had been positive, but it was clear qualifying would be a tight battle and that’s exactly how it turned out. Quali was well executed by the team and drivers with everything that was going on, other cars being off-sequence on track, yellow flags and then the red flag.
“It was different to some previous quali sessions this year, as we struggled a little today to continuously extract more performance out of the cars run-by-run. It’s fair to say that we were on a knife edge regarding progressing into Q3 with both cars at the end of Q2, but the red flag definitely didn’t harm us.
“Unfortunately, Carlos was subsequently given a three-place penalty. However, I believe with our starting positions, combined with the encouraging long runs we made on Friday, we’re looking good to fight for some solid points tomorrow. We now switch our focus to preparing for the race which looks likely to be very exciting.”
Stroll's day started in fiery fashion, as his power unit failed in spectacular style in FP3. The team did well to get the Canadian out at the start of qualifying, but he couldn't find the pace to compete and exited in Q1 for the 11th straight race. Perez likewise fell at the first hurdle, which left the team scratching their heads as to where their top 10 pace from practice had gone...
Sergio Perez, 16th, 1:12.197
“The pace was there to go through to Q2 and beyond. That's the worst feeling you can have as a driver, when you know you could have done much better. I had a lockup into turn ten and lost time there. The preparation lap was also difficult, with a lot of cars going into the final corner so close together, which wasn't ideal. The gaps are very small and we thought we had more of a margin than we did. It was about getting a good lap and I didn't perform 100%. Just a couple of hundredths made the difference in the end, so to find ourselves out in Q1 because I didn't maximise the car's performance hurts a lot – especially knowing how much hard work the whole team have done to improve the car recently. We'll see what we are able to do tomorrow. It's going to be a hot race, which will make it difficult with the management of the brakes because they suffer a lot here. We won’t give up; there’s still a long way to go and I want to come away from Montreal with some points.”
Lance Stroll, 18th, 1:12.266
“It’s wasn’t an easy day with the engine change having a big impact on the final result. I missed out on doing any laps in final practice and we had to go back to the old spec engine, which is several tenths down on performance. The guys and girls in the garage did a great job to fit the new power unit in time for qualifying, but I just felt on the back foot going into the session. Without these problems, I’m sure I could have gone further in qualifying. I still feel positive about tomorrow: it’s my home race and I’m going to give it my best shot. I remember in 2017 I came back from a difficult qualifying to score my first F1 points in Montreal. I need to pull something similar out of my pocket tomorrow.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Overall a tough and disappointing day. An engine failure on Lance’s car at the start of final practice proved costly and robbed Lance of any running ahead of qualifying. We were forced to switch back to PU1 – the one used in the previous six events rather than benefitting from a fresh power unit with the phase two update. With the margins so small in the middle of the pack, it certainly cost Lance getting into Q2. On the other side of the garage, Sergio didn’t get together a tidy lap and also dropped out of qualifying early. Having looked competitive in all of the practice sessions, it’s frustrating not to convert our promise into representative grid positions. We now need to focus on fighting back tomorrow, using our race pace to try and come through the field to score points.”
Toro Rosso were another team caught out by the late red flags in Q2, both failing to finish their flying laps and exiting in the second segment, with Kvyat taking the intra-team spoils in P12 from Albon's P14. However disappointing that seemed, with free tyre choice and a track where overtaking is eminently possible, all is not lost for the race itself, with points not out of the question.
Daniil Kvyat, 12th, 1:11.921
“It was a solid Saturday for us and I was happy with my laps, so I don’t feel too bad with the result. We improved the car from yesterday and it would have been nice to start from inside the top 10, but we were missing a couple of tenths today to be comfortably in there. When we tried to find that extra bit of pace it felt like there was something missing, so I think Q3 was going to be quite tight. It’s not a bad result though as the race is very long, so we’ll keep our options open and do our best to move forward tomorrow.”
Alex Albon, 14th, 1:12.193
“I’d say it would have been very tight to get into Q3 today. Going by our pace on Friday, we wouldn’t have expected to be where we are today, but we made some good steps overnight to get back in the fight. We got stuck on the weighbridge and we had to quickly bolt the tyres on and go out on my second run, so it was a bit of a shame because we didn’t get to start the lap the way we wanted to. It’s a bit frustrating because my lap wasn’t very clean but it’s a cool track and tomorrow’s another day, so we’ll see how we do in the race.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“Following a challenging Friday, the guys had a lot of work to do in order to understand what was needed to get our cars into the required operating window. The performance shown in FP3 highlighted that we were moving in the right direction. This trend continued into Qualifying with both cars navigating Q1 without any issues. Unfortunately, we were not able to make the same step in Q2 and we have missed the cut for Q3 in what was a very tight session, so we need to review the data and understand where we can improve going forwards. On the flip side, both cars have a free tyre choice, which should provide a few more strategy options for the race. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we all know this race can provide some interesting variables and we look forward to what is likely to be a very tight midfield battle.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director
“Today, only one of our four drivers – Gasly - got through to Q3. Unfortunately, the red flag came out in Q2, meaning that Kvyat, Albon and Verstappen had to abort their runs. As for tomorrow’s race, we can still hope for a strong performance, as it was clear from FP3 that the teams improved the performance of their package overnight.”
Alfa struggled for pace in final practice and looked likely to be in the fight at the back to scrape out of Q1. So it proved, but it was Giovinazzi who - despite a lack of track time after his crash in FP1 - made it out at the expense of his more experienced team mate. That was Raikkonen's first Q1 exit since Austria 2015 and only the second time this season he has been out-qualified by his younger colleague.
Kimi Raikkonen, 17th, 1:12.230
"We tried twice but we were just not fast enough over the two laps in Q1, it’s as simple as that. Yes, the track was slippery but that’s not an excuse as it is the same for everyone. And yes, the performance in FP3 was better but unfortunately FP3 is FP3 and qualifying is qualifying.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 13th, 1:12.136
“It was a positive qualifying session. P13 is not a bad position to start and we are close to a place in the top ten. This is a new track for me and every lap gives me more confidence; I was improving my final lap in Q2 when the red flag stopped us. We’re in a good position but tomorrow’s race will be long and difficult. It’s a track where you can overtake, so strategy will be very important. We need to keep working hard to improve and come home with some points. We have free choice of tyres so now it’s up to us to put everything together and have a good result."
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
"We have mixed feelings about today’s session. On the one hand, Antonio had a positive day and recovered well from yesterday’s lack of running. He finished qualifying in P13 and he’s in a good position to aim for the points. On the other hand, Kimi had a tough day and missed out on Q2 for the smallest of margins. Starting towards the back is never ideal, but at least overtaking is possible here. We need to come up with the best strategy for both cars to exploit tomorrow’s conditions and make up some ground towards the top ten.”
Russell continued his perfect qualifying record over his team mate, grabbing P19 by eighth-tenths of a second. Williams propped up the leader board once again at a track they didn't expect to suit the FW42. It could be a long afternoon for the team, but at least Russell will gain more valuable mileage as he continues to impress in his rookie season.
Robert Kubica, 20th, 1:14.393
"I struggled with the grip and the feeling in the car. I was fighting too much with the car and struggled to focus on performance. Yesterday the overall feeling was slightly better but certainly I found it difficult to gain grip which is very strange."
George Russell, 19th, 1:13.617
"It was a positive qualifying. We maximised the package which is all we can do. I have a good feeling about the track, it has a nice flow to it and I enjoy driving here. We made a lot of set-up changes over night and it was a big improvement for the feeling of the car. We knew this track would be one of the most challenging for us, but we got the most out of it so everyone in the team should be proud."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
"The track was in much better condition today, but it was still tricky to get the tyres in to the correct window for a qualifying lap. We worked hard overnight to improve the balance of the car and George especially was happy with the changes that were made. Robert struggled a little more in qualifying and we need to understand whether we made the best compromises on his car.
"Overall the car is improving steadily but Montreal was always likely to make this difficult to see. Despite this, both drivers did another good job today and now we concentrate on preparing for the race tomorrow. It could be very hot on Sunday, and this may make tyre management tricky, especially on the softer tyre compounds. George completed a good long run on the Prime tyre in FP2 and so we will look to use that experience to aid us in the race."
Mario Isola, head of F1 and Car racing
"Qualifying wasn’t exactly a straightforward session, with an interruption at the end of Q2 that affected the final runs. This session was strategically important as five drivers had completed their opening runs on the medium tyre, with only Ferrari and Mercedes going through on this compound. We’re expecting warm conditions again for the race, so managing thermal degradation on the soft and medium compounds is set to be very important when it comes to race strategy. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari for their record-breaking lap here, and also to Daniel Ricciardo, who claims fourth on the grid for Renault at the track where he took his very first win five years ago."