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Qualifying analysis - finest of margins prove decisive in Montreal

07 Jun 2014

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg outclassed team mate Lewis Hamilton to claim pole by just 0.079s in Canada, while Sebastian Vettel put his Red Bull third, just four-hundredths of a second ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo in sixth. On such margins was qualifying decided - and that could hold true for the race as well. We take a team-by-team look at Saturday at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve…


Nico Rosberg, 1m 14.874s, P1

Lewis Hamilton, 1m 14.953s, P2

Hamilton had the upper hand over Rosberg all weekend, until their final runs in Q3 - which of course were the ones that really mattered. That's where the German seized the initiative, as he also did in Monaco two weeks ago, but this time there was no controversy. Hamilton said he ran wide twice in the middle sector, losing time, and admitted that his team mate did the better job. They were separated by a mere 0.079s, a tiny margin which Hamilton may have plenty of time to consider if he doesn't make the best of the start and has to follow his team mate home for the second race in succession.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, 1m 15.548s, P3

Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 15.589s, P6

Vettel said that he didn't really think Renault had made any noticeable progress this weekend, and that the RB10 was still nowhere near as perfect as the RB9 he had made such wonderful use of in 2013. But he was pleased to make third place after appearing to struggle for much of FP3 and qualifying. Ricciardo was disappointed with a scrappy lap on which some changes failed to work out, but overall it was very, very close behind the Mercedes as the third to sixth cars were covered by just 0.041s of a second.


Valtteri Bottas, 1m 15.550s, P4

Felipe Massa, 1m 15.578s, P5

In FP3 and for much of qualifying Williams seemed likely to be Mercedes' prime challenger, with Massa second in the former and he and Bottas fighting hard in the latter. They were as fast as the Red Bulls, but didn't quite improve enough on their second Q3 runs. Nevertheless, they should be strong podium contenders come the race.


Fernando Alonso, 1m 15.814s, P7

Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 16.214s, P10

Once again Ferrari were destined for disappointment after what had seemed to be a promising start on Friday. Alonso said that some of the upgrades have worked well here, but that there was potential still unlocked in the F14 T. Raikkonen did only one run in Q3, and said that he was unable to get the best from it as his car slid around too much. He was easily the most spectacular when it came to shaving the walls out the back of the circuit.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 16.162s, P8

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 16.713s, P15

Vergne was delighted by the way that everything came together for him as he made it through to Q3 again and eventually took eighth on the grid. Kvyat, however, was disappointed: after his problems yesterday he lacked track time, and his chances were blighted by brake problems. Both men go into the race hoping that modifications to the exhausts will prevent a recurrence of the problem that has affected the team so often this year.


Jenson Button, 1m 16.182s, P9

Kevin Magnussen, 1m 16.310s, P12

Button and Magnussen struggled horribly in FP3, but changes to the set-up turned the former's MP4-29 into a decent car which was a Q3 contender. His time was very nearly good enough for eighth but he lost out on that place to Vergne by two-hundredths of a second. That, however, means starting on the cleaner side of the grid so all may not be lost. Magnussen said his problems centred around the car's inherent lack of aerodynamic grip.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 16.300s, P11

Sergio Perez, 1m 16.472s, P13

Once again Force India failed to make the top 10 - by less than a tenth of a second in Hulkenberg's case - but 11th on the grid gives the German some good strategic choices and the VJM07's race pace looked excellent yesterday. Perez was right behind him on lap time, having survived a spin in the back chicane during Q1.


Romain Grosjean, 1m 16.687s, P14

Pastor Maldonado, 1m 18.328s, P17

Lotus had expected higher grid positions than 14th and 17th, but though Grosjean said his E22 felt nice to drive he just missed getting another, faster, lap in during Q2. Maldonado was told to shut his power unit down when sensors suggested an imminent problem in Q1.


Adrian Sutil, 1m 17.314s, P16

Esteban Gutierrez, No time

Sutil drove his heart out in a car that was very nervous in its reaction to throttle application, and knows that he is in for a very tough race. After his crash in Turn 4 in FP3, Gutierrez's C33 had to be built up around the spare chassis, so he was unable to participate in qualifying and will start from the pit lane.


Max Chilton, 1m 18.348s, P18

Jules Bianchi, 1m 18.359s, P19

Chilton and Bianchi did great jobs early on in Q1, but couldn't break into Q2: Chilton's final lap was ruined by Ericsson's shunt and the deployment of the red flag, while at the same point Bianchi was delayed when his car proved reluctant to start.


Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 19.278s, P20, will start P21

Marcus Ericsson, 1m 19.820s, P21, will start P20

Kobayashi struggled as usual with his CT05's handling and was disappointed by a gearbox failure in FP3 which means a five-place grid penalty - or in reality a one-place drop from P20 to P21. Ericsson was pushing hard at the end of Q1 when he spun his car in Turn 9, damaging the left-rear suspension as he hit the wall and brought out the red flag. Life gets no easier for the team it seems, especially now that Marussia are leaving them behind.