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What the teams said – Qualifying in Canada

Special Contributor

Becky Hart
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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes

Mercedes

After a decent Friday, Mercedes continued to look quick in the dry on Saturday. So much so, that they went into qualifying as favourites for pole. They were the only team to make it through Q1 using only one set of soft tyres, and had the confidence to come out much later than the rest in Q3. Russell was first on track and picked up a handy tow from Albon’s Williams, which was enough for provisional pole as Hamilton went into second. Coming out late again for the final runs, they had the worst of the conditions as the wind whipped up and neither could improve – but Russell’s earlier time stood, and he grabbed his second ever pole. Hamilton was knocked down the order as others did improve in a disappointing ending to his day.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve missed this feeling!’ – Russell hails Mercedes progress after Canada pole as he vows to ‘go for it’ on race day

George Russell, 1st, 1:12.000

"It’s been a great day! It was such a tight fight for pole position. The previous few races I’ve been a matter of hundredths of a second behind the car ahead, so it’s nice to be on the upside of that today! In the end, Q3 was difficult. I did my best lap of the session in Q2, and I didn’t improve on my last lap in Q3. I wasn’t sure therefore whether I had taken pole position as I crossed the line. The new tyre is usually worth three to four tenths of a second but thankfully, my first run on the used tyre was good enough for P1.

"The car has been so good this weekend. Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth has been working so hard to bring updates and performance. This hard work is now translating into results which is fantastic to see. It’s only been two races and on unique circuits, but the steps we’ve taken to get closer to the front are encouraging. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow now. We will be aiming for victory but there are plenty of unknowns with this new surface and the weather. I’m feeling confident in the car and in myself though so bring it on!"

Lewis Hamilton, 7th, 1:12.280

"Firstly, congratulations to George. It is amazing for the team to take pole position. Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth has done such a great job pushing the car and its development forward. They have worked tirelessly to bring the recent updates. It’s been feeling great all weekend so, despite starting P7, I hope we can have a decent race. It is tough to overtake here and the cars ahead are quite close so it will be challenging, but I’ll be doing my best.

"It was a tough session on my side. We were quick in FP3, but I struggled a little more in Qualifying. I found it difficult to get the tyres working throughout and that was the same on my final lap in Q3. Let’s see what tomorrow brings and if we can make progress."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"Getting pole position is a great feeling. We’ve been saying it for a while, but we are going in the right direction. We have taken several small steps in recent races, and it is all adding up to bring us greater performance. That has helped us get closer to the front and we are now progressing to a car that can challenge there more regularly.

"Our final laps in Q3 weren’t actually our best. Neither driver could improve on the new tyre, so it was very tight at the end. We will look into the data to try and understand why that was. George found himself just able to hold off Max (Verstappen) but Lewis was more unfortunate. Nevertheless, they’ve both showed great speed this weekend so we will see what we can do tomorrow."

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Pole position qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Red Bull

A mixed bag for Red Bull in Montreal, as Perez struggled with grip at the start of qualifying. He couldn’t extract any temperature from his soft tyres, and exited at the first time of asking for the second straight race. Briefly it looked like Verstappen would follow suit, the Dutchman having to pull out a late lap in both Q1 and Q2. Somehow he scraped into Q3 but, once there, he showed why he is a three-time world champion. He was one of very few to nail his final lap in Q3, matching the time of pole-sitter Russell but being handed second by virtue of having set his time later than the Mercedes man. But considering where they started the day, second on the grid is a very decent result.

READ MORE: Verstappen happy to take P2 in close qualifying on ‘tricky’ Canada weekend as he predicts ‘very exciting’ race

Max Verstappen, 2nd, 1:12.000

“I’m happy to be on the front row for tomorrow’s race and it was certainly more than I thought was possible after FP3. We always knew this track was going to be a bit more tricky than others and it seems that a lot of the teams are catching up. Today it was about managing the tyres with the graining, but if you look at the pace we did well and improved nicely every run. We tried to do the best we can and just need to make sure we have a cleaner weekend as we have been slightly on the back foot. Looking to tomorrow, I think it will come down to the weather and tyre behaviour. The rain will make it more interesting, especially with the tarmac making it more slippery, the chicanes and the close walls. It has been a difficult weekend, but considering everything we definitely maximised the result in qualifying and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez, 16th, 1:13.326

“In these conditions somehow, we weren’t able to switch on the rear axle, I couldn’t lean on it at all and I didn’t have any confidence at the time to push. Basically, I had no grip, I was sliding too much and that meant our qualifying was a total disaster. We need to look at it and understand the reason behind it, it was stepping away from me all the time. In hindsight we could have done a lot of different things but at the end of the day we lacked some pace, simple as that. There are some fundamental issues that we need to address, understand, and figure out, to make sure we are able to improve in the coming races. I am angry with myself; we are a Team and it is not an ideal time for us but we have full focus on tomorrow and hopefully we are able to save something and score some points. The weather can hopefully help us, it can make things unpredictable, and we will see what we can do with the strategy as well."

Christian Horner, Team Principal

"It was disappointing for Checo to miss out by such a small margin in Q1 as he struggled with the rear grip in the car. We’ll have to look into the reasons for that so that we can give him the best chance of coming through the field tomorrow, which we know he’s capable of. On a track which was rapidly evolving and where all teams were going through their tyre allocation quickly, Max just got stronger and stronger through the qualifying. To miss out on the top place whilst exactly matching the pole time was an outstanding effort after a tricky day yesterday and it’s great to be lining up on the front row alongside George, in an exciting looking grid."

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Pole position qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes and Second placed qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrate in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

McLaren

Piastri had a surprisingly frantic Q1 session earlier, thanks to some traffic on his first push laps. He made Q2 with a late, last gasp effort – but once there, at least made Q3 much more comfortably. His team mate was making much more serene progress by comparison, Norris looking right in the mix for pole. The team split strategies, sending Piastri out early for the final runs in Q3 and Norris out a bit later. The timing didn’t quite work as Norris wasn’t on a hot lap late on, but track conditions didn’t improve so it didn’t cost the team on a day where the margins were incredibly tight. Locking out the second row gives McLaren plenty of opportunity for tomorrow’s race.

Lando Norris, 3rd, 1:12.021

“A great job done by the team today and congratulations to George Russell on his pole position. The session was tricky, it always is in Montréal, but it’s why we love it and it’s why we’re all smiling. It’s a nice feeling when you put a good lap in and end up in the top three.

“I’m excited to see what we can do in the race. The car has been great in the last three or four races and we’re on a roll. There are fast cars ahead and plenty behind us as well so I think we could be in for an exciting one. We’ll get our heads down overnight and see what we can do to move forward tomorrow.”

Oscar Piastri, 4th, 1:12.103

“P4. A very tight and difficult session but a fun one. I think many people are leaving thinking they could be on pole, and I’m one of them, but that’s a positive sign in terms of pace. It’s another start towards the front and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow. We have good consistency, and we have the benefit of having two cars starting together, which is always a positive from the strategy side. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow. I am looking forward to it.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“Qualifying today was intense. The field is getting more and more competitive, and you really have to nail your laps and get the most out of the tyres if you want to progress. On top of that, as is often the case in Canada, there are many variables in play: the weather, the tyre warm up, the small differences between new and used tyre performance.

“The drivers and the team coped well with these challenges today and ultimately the outcome is positive for us. The second row of the grid is a good starting position, but we know there is rain around and we have to remain focused if we want to capitalise on our good performance today.”

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes in the Pitlane during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

RB

RB were in the headlines all day long, firstly for the news about Tsunoda’s new contract, and secondly due to their on-track performance. Ricciardo had looked the pick of the two team mates in practice, but in qualifying Tsunoda was shining the brighter. That is until the very last runs, when an under-pressure Ricciardo nailed his lap to grab a season’s best Grand Prix start of fifth. That sets him up for a tilt at a first points finish of the year in a Grand Prix.

ANALYSIS: Why RB have locked down Tsunoda, why he was overlooked by Red Bull, and what the move means for Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, 5th, 1:12.178

“I’m very pleased about today. It’s been a really good weekend, a lot of fun, and one of those ones where everything’s just feeling good. We are less than two-tenths from pole, and even if it’s not today’s case, sometimes this means being on the front row, so it’s nice being competitive and feeling comfortable in the car. In Q3 it was very important to have a fast warm-up lap and this is what I told the team. I did it and then had the right confidence for the push lap. It was nice to put the lap together, but I’m not surprised, I know when I feel like this, I can do these things. I’m happy that I was able to get it out of myself, but happy and credit to the team, both cars going into Q3 and happy to reward them with a very nice result. I always feel something special coming here to Montréal and I’ve got good memories: exactly ten years ago I got my first win here and my life changed. Also, the team feels there’s some good energy this weekend, so happy to convert that into some good driving. Tomorrow, we start in a good spot inside the top 5, with some good front-running guys around me, so I’ll get the best out of myself during the race.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 8th, 1:12.414

“As you can see in the result, the team did a fantastic job, and it was a successful day for us. For myself, considering I was struggling in Free Practice, it was a very good turnaround for qualifying. I had an unfortunate gust of wind in Turn 2 and lost a lot of lap time there, but still, another Q3 is not bad. So far, it’s been an enjoyable race weekend, with many ups and downs which have challenged me, but at the same time, if we can turn it around to this it’s always a good feeling, and that’s credit to the team. We’ll see how it goes with the weather tomorrow, but we have a good car and obviously want more points in the bag, so we aim to finish in the top ten with both cars."

Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance

“We had a fantastic qualifying session today, securing fifth place with Daniel and eighth place with Yuki. It was a very intense session, and the team did a fantastic job of adapting to the weather and track grip evolution. Like most of the cars around us, we used two sets of the soft in Q1. There was a high track improvement and both drivers managed to improve in their last lap with Yuki securing the second place, which was a great recovery after a difficult FP3. In Q2, we decided to go out early as the risk of rain was increasing, and we were seeing some drops in the pit lane. In the second run with new tyres, both cars did a very good lap and secured a slot in Q3. In the last qualifying session, we started on a used set of tyres and both drivers struggled more with the increasing wind intensity. In his last attempt, Daniel did a fantastic lap, less than 0.2s to pole and secured P5! Yuki also did a very good lap but a gust of wind in Turn 2 pushed him slightly off line and he lost some time there. Nevertheless, he managed to qualify in eighth position on the grid. It’s another starting grid with our two cars in the top 10 and we will review all the strategies for tomorrow to convert these competitive positions into good points.”

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Aston Martin had looked handy here all throughout practice, so it was no surprise to see both cars make it through to Q3 with relative ease. They both ran used tyres for their initial laps in Q3, before switching to fresh softs. On the shiny new tyres, Alonso managed to grab sixth on the grid, a few places and a few tenths ahead of his team mate. Stroll starts ninth, the first time he’s made it to Q3 at his home race.

Fernando Alonso, 6th, 1:12.228

“It was a very unpredictable Qualifying session with the constant threat of rain lingering, but I think we have to be happy with both cars in Q3 in these conditions. After the last two events I was out in Q1, so starting in sixth position gives us a good chance of scoring points tomorrow. I don’t think I did a perfect lap in Q3 and when you see at the end that I was only two tenths from pole position it hurts a little bit. In general the car has felt a little better this weekend and tomorrow we will see how we manage the tyres and pace as we haven’t had a lot of long runs in the dry. If it rains tomorrow, it could be decided by fine margins and who switches the tyres at the right time, so we have to be prepared for everything.”

Lance Stroll, 9th, 1:12.701

“Getting through to Q3 is a positive result, but I think more was possible today. I had a bit of contact with the wall during Q1 which I think might have caused some damage as the behaviour of the car wasn’t quite right after that. Still, we’re in a good place to score some strong points in front of my home crowd tomorrow. The Montréal weather could throw anything our way, so we’ll do our homework tonight and make sure we’re ready to make the most of any opportunities during the race.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal

“We achieved our target of getting both cars through to Q3 this afternoon in Montréal with the prospect of rain not amounting to much in the end. Our pace has been better at our ‘home’ race but we are not getting carried away. It was a close battle and encouraging to only be a few tenths away from pole position. We made good use of the used tyres which got both Lance and Fernando through to Q3 ahead of the Ferraris. They both drove very well with an ever-changing track. The AMR24 is certainly more suited to this circuit and we will work overnight to optimise our prospects for tomorrow’s race and give the local crowd something to cheer.”

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Williams

Williams put in a very strong showing in qualifying, with Albon making another Q3 and Sargeant escaping Q1 for the first time this year. The American grabbed a very encouraging P13 despite a scary moment in FP3 where he came close to collecting a slow-moving rival at high speed, which wouldn’t have done his confidence much good. As for Albon, his P10 was in some ways a miracle when a cross-threaded wheel nut threatened to derail his qualifying in Q2 – the Thai driver just making it back out on track in time to nail a lap.

READ MORE: Vowles says two drivers in contention for final Williams seat in 2025 as he praises 'incredible' Sainz

Alex Albon, 10th, 1:12.796

"A frustrating Saturday. We did a small set-up change before Qualifying and the car felt good from the get-go. We had strong pace in Q1 and Q2, but we tried a different run-plan in Q3 which didn't work out for us. The shower of rain between sessions dropped the track temperature and we struggled to warm up the tyres, compromising our final Q3 attempt.

"Tomorrow will be challenging with two Ferraris behind, but equally I think we have a race in front of us with the Aston Martins and RBs. Overall, it's positive to have two Q3 appearances in a row and I think rain tomorrow will create some good opportunities for us."

Logan Sargeant, 13th, 1:12.736

"It’s little bit frustrating as I got held up on my best lap. I actually gained a tenth and a half on myself. If I had that time, I would’ve been straight through to Q3 which is disappointing as you know it’s been left on the table. Nonetheless it’s been another solid weekend considering the conditions and how we’ve adapted. Our car pace is a little bit better here which elevates us as a team. I feel like I’ve been driving well with the package I have at the moment.

"We’re in a position that we can definitely fight from tomorrow. I’m sure it’s going to be a tricky day with most likely changing conditions through the race. We’ve managed it well so far and we’ll try to keep doing the same."

Sven Smeets, Sporting Director

"Today was going to be a challenge due to the predicted variable weather but in the end the rain missed P3 and Qualifying. The car performed well in these colder track conditions and tyre preparation was key for progressing to the next Qualifying session.

"Logan performed well and progressed into Q2 with some very strong laps. Unfortunately, he missed Q3 by a tenth, but he can look back on a good Qualifying session. Although we had to go through some tricky moments in Q2, Alex made it into Q3 with a very strong last push lap.

"Starting from P10 and P13 puts us in a good position to fight for points tomorrow but the weather forecast predicts showers in the afternoon so it will be all to play for."

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW46 Mercedes on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Ferrari

The Ferrari drivers were relatively happy with how their Friday went, but the same couldn’t be said for their Saturday. Neither was impressed with the pace of the car in FP3, Leclerc calling it “extremely slow” over the radio. But they still expected to get both cars into Q3 in qualifying, even if they weren’t in the mix for pole. Instead, neither could make it to the top 10 shootout, as they were out-paced and out-classed by the RB duo and Albon’s Williams. They need to do some thinking before the race about how to rescue their weekend from two disappointing grid slots.

READ MORE: Leclerc left scratching his head over Ferrari’s ‘strange’ qualifying slump in Canada

Charles Leclerc, 11th, 1:12.691

"We have to review this qualifying session and FP3, as we simply weren’t at the level we need to be.

"Tyre management will play a big role in the race so we have to focus on that and will push to gain positions tomorrow. With mixed weather conditions, there may be some opportunities coming our way and we must be ready to make the most of them."

Carlos Sainz, 12th, 1:12.728

"It's been a tough Saturday for us. We had trouble with grip and couldn't get the tyres to work properly. On the last lap in Q2 I tried everything but unfortunately I didn't nail the last corner and that's where I lost my chances of advancing to Q3.

"I stay positive for tomorrow and I think we can still bring home some good points. We will give it our best shot."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"Everyone in the team is rather frustrated at the way today’s qualifying went. Today, since FP3, we were lacking something a little bit everywhere, even if yesterday it seemed we were going pretty well and the pace was there over a long run in both wet and dry conditions.

"I think everyone was struggling a bit with tyres, to the point that even Russell’s pole position was obtained on a scrubbed set, but we struggled more than others and we were unable to put everything together to switch on the tyres at the right moment. We will now analyse everything very carefully but we must keep our spirits up and remember that the points are given out tomorrow.

"As for the race, we will have to wait and see what the weather has in store because it’s the big unknown. I remember that last year here we also started from far back and we managed to move up the order."

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: 12th placed qualifier Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari walks in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Haas

Hulkenberg struggled compared to his team mate all weekend long, but after his heroics in qualifying here last year the German couldn’t even escape Q1. He’s been electric over one lap for much of the season, but something just hasn’t gelled here for Hulkenberg so far this weekend. Magnussen did make it to Q2, but had to settle for 14th – which at least means the duo are separated by quite a few cars off the line, much to the relief of their team after Monaco.

Nico Hulkenberg, 19th, 1:13.978

“I think we went out a bit late, we changed the rear wing going into qualifying because I haven’t been happy with the car all weekend and I had a problem with the rear wing where it wasn’t performing as it should, so we decided to change it before qualifying. That meant our entire run plan got out of sequence a bit, so we were on the back foot with timings, and it got busy and hectic. Towards the end I also had someone impeding, parked at the last chicane, so all together it made it a bit difficult.”

Kevin Magnussen, 14th, 1:12.916

“There was no traffic for me today which was nice. I think we thought the rain was going to come in Q2, so we went out on a new set at the beginning, which meant if the rain didn’t come, that wasn’t going to be great as with track evolution, you wouldn’t have your new tyres for the end. Unfortunately, that rain didn’t come, so the lap I did on my first run was a really good lap, so given the tyre choices we made, I think it was the best we could do. I’m slightly optimistic, the long run pace looked decent, albeit it was in the dry, so let’s see what the weather does tomorrow, we should be in contention no matter what.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“Ahead of qualifying, we made changes to Nico’s car as he was struggling with car behavior throughout the weekend. The changes we made were positive, but we were a bit late getting out in Q1 because of the work we did. That pushed his run program back a little bit, which meant his tyre preparation was compromised. I feel like this weekend Nico has been on the back foot and the changes we made to the car were a bit late, and that pushed into Q1 when he was under pressure, so he really couldn’t show the potential.

“Kevin’s done a great job through the free practice sessions. In Q1 he did a good job as well, so I felt like he had a very good chance of getting into Q3, but unfortunately at the start of Q2 we got the weather forecast wrong. We put the new tyre on straightaway, but you can see other people had a better understanding of the forecast and some of our direct competitors went out on the used tyre, and then put the new set on at the end. With track evolution, that put us on the back foot. If we had done the correct tyre strategy with Kevin in Q2, I believe he could’ve been in Q3. I’m disappointed again that we couldn’t maximize Kevin’s potential as he’s done almost everything right this weekend, but we couldn’t show it in Quali. He’s got speed, so tomorrow I hope there are some opportunities to maximize that and get him into the points.”

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari drives on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Alpine

Ocon was carrying a five-place grid drop into qualifying and thus always likely to start from towards the back. He couldn’t make it out of Q1 and will line up on the back row as a result. Gasly fared better, he made Q2 and briefly set the timing screens alight with some purple sectors. But he couldn’t extract enough pace as the track improved to trouble the top 10, having to settle for P15.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the qualifying action in Canada as Russell grabs pole and Ferrari suffer shock double Q2 exit

Esteban Ocon, 18th, 1:13.435

“It was a super tight session out there today and we did not do enough to get through to Q2 in Qualifying this afternoon. Unfortunately, I lost a tenth in Turn 6 and 7 with another driver in front quite close, and the start of my lap was also compromised picking up dirt after moving off-line during my prep lap. Tomorrow we will try to do the best we can and hopefully it is going to be a clean race, where we can optimise the strategy and move closer to the points. It is going to be tough but we will do our best.”

Pierre Gasly, 15th, 1:12.940

“My laps in Q1 and Q2 felt decent today, so I was a bit surprised it was only enough to qualify P15 in the end. The reality is that this was just simply what we could extract out of the car today. Obviously, it is difficult to be satisfied with this result. We know where we stand in terms of performance and the areas where the car lacks, so for the time being we will need to put our heads down and be patient. The team is working hard in the background to improve the overall package. Until then we need to maximise what we can out of the current set-up. Tomorrow will not be an easy race for us. I am hoping for rain and some opportunities for us that will mean we can get closer to the top 10 and fight for points, given how close the mid-field is.”

Bruno Famin, Team Principal

“In recent races we have been able to show good speed over a single lap but this time we were not quick enough in Qualifying and were not able to get both cars into Q2, which is something we will analyse. With the new track surface and overcast conditions, we worked hard on trying to get the tyres in the right operating window, with prep laps to give ourselves the best chance of progressing. Clearly, tomorrow we have a fight on our hands, and we will look to make progress in the Grand Prix. With the unpredictable weather, tomorrow we will try to grasp any opportunity that presents itself during the race.”

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A524 Renault lines up in the Pitlane during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

Zhou brought out the second set of red flags of the weekend when he spun off and beached his car in FP3. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage and he was able to take part in qualifying – but with so little track time and next to none in the dry, it was no surprise when he exited in Q1. Bottas followed suit on a day where Kick Sauber looked short of pace around this historic track.

Valtteri Bottas, 17th, 1:13.366

“We were definitely close to Q2 today, just about hundredths of a second away from making the cut – which obviously leaves us with the feeling we could have achieved something more. The last push lap was really clean, actually the cleanest I have had this weekend so far, and the balance was decent as well; it didn’t feel like we could squeeze much more out of that. In terms of track conditions, they were slippery at first, but it gradually improved. Unfortunately, we are still slightly struggling in terms of single-lap pace – that’s mostly it. Going into Sunday, I think we can be a bit more optimistic: it surely is a track that offers more opportunities for a shake-up than Monaco; the field is once again super close, so it’ll hopefully be an exciting race. On top of that, the weather can also play a part here – I’m rooting for mixed conditions or some rain, which would help us progress further. There will be opportunities, and we’ll try the best we can to make the most of them.”

Zhou Guanyu, 20th, 1:14.292

“Today was quite tricky – coming into qualifying without preparation on dry laps is never easy. During the morning session, I had a moment that ended FP3 early for me, and while I was able to gain more and more time on every qualifying lap, it wasn’t enough to catch up on my missed session. The field is still very close, and I reckon we’re not far off our competition but, given the lack of running, I wasn’t able to find the perfect rhythm. Tomorrow is a new day, and we’ll continue working to make up some ground. This is a place where overtaking is possible, and we’ll give it a good go.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

"Today’s qualifying session confirms that we are lacking performance in the single lap. We have already seen in the last races that our main competitors took a step forward, pushing us to the bottom of the midfield in terms of qualifying pace. I don’t think that Valtteri could have extracted more from the car today: he had a clean lap and left nothing out there. We found a good balance but, of course, it was not enough to reach Q2, and he eventually missed out by less than one tenth of a second. As for Zhou, his qualifying was already compromised when he missed most of FP1 yesterday, as well as this morning, when he spun in FP3. He was able to recover and build up a decent pace, despite the lack of running, which should give him more confidence for tomorrow. The race will be once again difficult for us, and we must maximise every opportunity that may arise. We have previously shown that we can deliver a better race pace, but we can’t hide the fact that it’s another difficult weekend for us. Still, we’ll do our best to improve our position tomorrow.”

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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 08: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Kick Sauber C44 Ferrari on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 08, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

“It was a very closely contested qualifying from start to finish with the times being incredibly close, evidenced by the fact that the two quickest drivers set identical times, while the top ten featured drivers from six different teams. So far, the weekend has been affected by changing weather conditions and everything would suggest that this will also be the case tomorrow. Even though all of today’s running took place on a dry track, there was still only a very limited amount of data gathered, given that the teams were only able to do long runs in the third free practice sessions.

“As expected, the track which has been completely resurfaced since last year, is still very green and therefore we saw very obvious evolution. This also led to significant graining, particularly with the Medium, which is the compound that almost everyone used for long runs. Therefore, it is increasingly likely that, if we have a dry race, the most effective strategy is a two-stop, the predominant choice being to use two sets of Hard tyres and that explains why seven teams still have two sets available for each driver. The one-stop strategy, using a combination of Medium and Hard, is possible on paper, but it’s very marginal. It’s not impossible that someone might try to start the race with this in mind, while retaining the flexibility to switch to a two-stop.”

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