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Saturday in Montreal - team by team

11 Jun 2016

A round-up of the action from qualifying at the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2016 at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve...

McLaren

Another Q3 appearance for Alonso, and he managed his third tenth place in a row. Button was also pushing to make the final part of qualifying, but locked up on his last lap, losing valuable tenths. He will at least have free tyre choice going into tomorrow's race.

Fernando Alonso, 10th, 1:14.338

“That was a nice surprise today – we’ll take it. “I was definitely happy with that session – it can be a tricky circuit in these mixed conditions, and tomorrow will be tougher for us, but there’s potentially wet weather forecast for tomorrow, and maybe a bit of rain would help us.

“I’m very happy – we’ve done an amazing job with this car in the past 12 months and we’re now in a position that’s perhaps better even than we’d expected. So I have to say thanks to everyone in the team: we were only four-tenths behind Ferrari in Q2, and that should boost the belief and motivation of everyone in the McLaren and Honda factories.

“We’re ready to attack: we’re not fighting for the world championship, so we have nothing to lose. Definitely, it’ll be maximum attack tomorrow.”

Jenson Button, 12th, 1:14.437

“Sitting on the cusp of the top 10 is essentially where we are right now – and it’s where we’ve been for the past few races. Still, this is a circuit on which we hadn’t anticipated being as competitive as we were in Monaco, so there are definitely positives to take from today.

“On my final Q2 lap, I didn’t get a tow down the back straight, and Fernando did – he got a tow from me! – so, up until the last sector, it was looking good for Q3, but then I didn’t get the tow and lost out.

“If it’s dry tomorrow, I’ll be starting on new tyres and will be aiming to make the best of it and score some points. If it’s wet, we’ll just have to see what happens; the weather can really mix things up, and we’ve shown our strengths in making the tyres work and choosing the right strategy, so there’s plenty to look forward to.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director

“Fernando did a very good job to get into Q3 this afternoon – the third consecutive grand prix weekend in which we’ve made it through to the final stages of qualifying.

“Jenson missed out on a Q3 appearance by just 0.177s, and will start tomorrow’s race from P12.

“Both drivers were happy with the balance of their cars, and it’s clear that the work we’re doing between races is paying dividends – albeit little by little. Specifically, the new turbocharger that Honda has brought to this race has conferred the deployment improvements it was designed to deliver, while our new Esso fuel is worth a tenth of a second per lap on its own. So I want to offer thanks and congrats to both those partners.

“Rain is forecast for tomorrow – and, although a dry race is always easier to manage, both our drivers have proven themselves time and time again to be masters of tricky weather conditions. They’ve both won here before – Fernando in the dry in 2006 and Jenson in the wet in 2011 – and no-one who saw it will ever forget that storming charge to victory in torrential rain here five years ago.

“A McLaren-Honda victory is of course not on the menu for tomorrow, but you may be well sure that both Fernando and Jenson, and of course the team as well, will nonetheless approach the race with our customary measured verve.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

“Today’s qualifying is a positive result for us, especially considering that Fernando was able to make Q3 consecutively in Spain, Monaco and Canada, which are all technical tracks but with completely different characteristics. Jenson missed Q3 by a small margin, but strategically he has the freedom to choose his start tyres, so we are hoping that we can use this to our benefit.

“We know that this track is very tough on braking so tomorrow will be a challenging and long race, but our updated turbo’s performance has been consistent and the car balance has been good all weekend, so we are looking forward to the race.”

Haas

Both drivers made it into Q2 but could go no further. Gutierrez won the intra-team battle by a relatively comfortable two tenths, and points aren't out of the question for either driver given their ability to run long on their tyres.

Romain Grosjean, 15th, 1:14.803

“The car balance is not miles off, but we just don’t have any grip from the tyres. We’re not getting them to work properly. For some reason, we had it at the beginning of the year, but we haven’t managed to bring them back in the window since. That means you can’t really drive the car as you would like. Yesterday, our long-run pace was quite good, so hopefully the race tomorrow is better.”

Esteban Gutierrez, 14th, 1:14.571

“It was a tricky session for us due to the changing track conditions. We had a bit of rain during the session and we had to adapt to it. I found it interesting trying to extract the maximum of the car. It hasn’t been easy this weekend to keep the focus as I haven’t been feeling very well, but I’m happy with what we achieved today. I’m going to get some rest and recover so I can have a good race tomorrow.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“I think after the free practice sessions we knew that this is around where we would be positioned. We are very close to the teams in front of us, which is very encouraging. We’re making progress and feeling very stable. We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve this weekend and we’re in a good position for tomorrow to get some points for both of the drivers. The weather is a little temperamental, but it will be the same for everyone. We’re going to take every opportunity we can and we’ll see what happens.”

Williams

Williams were tussling with the Red Bulls and Ferraris all afternoon, but had to settle for the fourth row of the grid. Massa was the only driver - other than Raikkonen - to opt for one run in Q3, saving a valuable set of rubber for the race.

Valtteri Bottas, 7th, 1:13.670

"I think we did well today. The cloudy conditions made it a bit more tricky to get the tyres working. For me the main problem was the front tyres and getting them hot enough to grip well. That was the main issue, but otherwise the car was handling well. Obviously it was very close today so it was definitely better than the last couple of races, but it’s tomorrow that counts and the weather could affect things. Tomorrow’s the day we need to get the most out of."

Felipe Massa, 8th, 1:13.769

"It was a very competitive qualifying session, which meant we were fighting with every team for a very small gap. With the car I had today, I did a very good job and I’m really happy with my lap. If I had a similar car to Valtteri, I’d have done an ever better job. All in all, I’m pleased with the lap I did and my overall qualifying result, considering my accident yesterday."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"I think we got what we could out of the car today. It’s disappointing to come here and have the fourth quickest car, but at this time, that is the fact. We know this and so we need to focus on improving it. We’ve qualified on the fourth row with both cars so therefore I think we’ve extracted what we could. On the whole I think it’s been a reasonable qualifying. We’ve got the cars set-up for the race as well, which is good, and both drivers did a good job. Felipe did a really great job as we were not able to give him the most performance on his car due to a shortage of parts after the accident yesterday. I think without that we may have been able to get in front of Raikkonen. It’s still all to play for tomorrow. We have got a good race car, as we saw on Friday, so we’ve just got to race hard from there and get a good haul of points."

Force India

It was Hulkenberg's last-gasp lap in Q2 that relegated team mate Perez into 11th place. The Mexican won't be too disheartened as he will have free tyre choice for tomorrow, and will be confident of chasing more good points for the team following his podium last time out.

Nico Hülkenberg, 9th, 1:13.952

“I’m feeling happy with our performance today. You always want to be higher up, but I think we maximised our opportunities and ninth is a solid effort, which should bring us some good points tomorrow. The margins were very small, so it was important to deliver the laps without any mistakes because even a couple of tenths can cost you four of five positions on the grid. The conditions were quite stable and even the rain during Q1 didn’t affect the grip levels too much. If the rain comes back tomorrow, it will definitely make things interesting, especially if it’s heavy rain because aquaplaning can be an issue here on the smooth surface. If it stays dry, I will have to start on the ultra-soft tyres, just like everybody else in the top ten, and try and use a good strategy to move forward.”

Sergio Perez, 11th, 1:14.317

“I knew reaching Q3 was going to be difficult because we had to use more tyres than we would have wanted in Q1. It meant we only really had one set of ultra-softs available in Q2 to get the job done. In any case, I gave it all I could and the end result was P11, which is not a bad place to start the race. In Montreal, you can expect the unexpected, especially with the weather being in the balance, so there’s everything to play for tomorrow. I think we’re looking good in racing conditions with solid pace so we can definitely fight for some good points.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“We knew heading into qualifying that we would need to deliver perfect laps in order to reach Q3, so to be lining up in ninth and eleventh is a good effort. The weather kept us guessing for most of the session and, despite some light drizzle, it was not enough to influence the proceedings. Nico’s laps were clean and tidy, but we didn’t quite have the pace to get on level terms with the top eight. As for Sergio, he just missed out on Q3, but starting eleventh means he can choose the tyres he starts on tomorrow. Strategy will be crucial for the race, so hopefully we can make this small advantage count. The uncertain weather forecast also means that it’s difficult to make any predictions. If it’s dry, our race pace will be strong, based on what we saw during our long runs yesterday, but we also know we can be strong in the wet too. Whatever happens we’ve put ourselves in a good position to score points with both cars.”

Mercedes

Mercedes looked to be in a real battle with their rivals in Montreal, but they found extra pace at the sharp end of qualifying. Hamilton loves to drive round this circuit and secured pole ahead of Rosberg, who locked up on his final flying run in Q3.

Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:12.812

"That's not necessarily the way you want it to turn out, getting pole without a real battle on the final lap - but you take it whatever way it comes! I think there was more time to be found out there but I'm happy to have done enough on that first run. This always tends to be a good track for me. It's all about braking and since I was a kid I've always been last of the late brakers, so I guess that's why it's always suited my style and why I'm strong in sector one in particular. It's such a great track to drive - like a Formula One kart track, with the high speeds and the way you're jumping over the kerbs. It's always special coming back here as it's where I won my first Grand Prix - plus the fans are incredible. Every year, without fail, they turn up in their thousands and create a great atmosphere at the track and in the city itself. In terms of the race, it's going to be tight. I need to study hard tonight to get myself back to where I was yesterday, as I didn't actually feel quite as strong in the car today. I was killing it out there yesterday - but I lost a bit of feel with the setup changes I made for today. I wasn't always able to put the car exactly where I wanted, which means you have to step back and not quite push to the limit. Ferrari look strong on the long runs so we'll need to be on our toes."

Nico Rosberg, 2nd, 1:12.874

"Even if I just missed out on pole, the front row is still a good position to start the race tomorrow. Today, Lewis was just a little bit quicker on the first flying lap, so I gave it an extra push on the second run to close the gap - but I got it wrong and had a lockup at the first corner. With no time for a second lap, that was the chance gone. Nevertheless, there will be a few opportunities to overtake Lewis in the race. I've made some good starts recently which is a positive - and also with tyre strategy it could be worth trying something different. It should be exciting either way, as the weather forecast is interesting for tomorrow. I'm excited in any case. Canada is always a special one, so I can't wait for the race."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"A very close qualifying session with less than a tenth between Lewis and Nico - and Vettel just a little more than a tenth behind them. Ferrari were ramping up their game through qualifying, we could see that, but our guys just kept stepping up as well. Sometimes on a Saturday, we see the results from FP3 and have some concerns about the pace - and today it took a while to understand how to best prepare the ultra-soft tyres for the timed lap. But then the boys both push each other to dig deeper and find the performance when it really counted. It was a mega performance from both of them and another great pole for Lewis. Looking to the race, if it rains then the result of qualifying is not really relevant for what will unfold. But, if it stays dry, I think we can expect a very close race with both Ferrari and Red Bull. Whatever happens, it's Canada - so we know it will be exciting and unpredictable right to the finish."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"Looking at the relative performance of the teams in FP3, it was clear that this was going to be a very close qualifying session between ourselves, Ferrari and Red Bull - and so it proved to be. While the anticipated rain eventually turned out not to be a factor, the red flag in Q2 put everybody on slightly different programmes. Some opted to re-use a used set of tyres during the second run of Q2 and others the first run of Q3 - which is why we didn't see a true showdown until right at the very end, with everybody on fresh rubber. It was a great job by Lewis and Nico to lock out the front row against very strong opposition and top work from the team to get the cars in the right place for them to do so. We now look forward to an exciting battle in the race tomorrow."

Red Bull

Verstappen looked to have the beating of his team mate but once again Ricciardo was able to put together a lap when it mattered to grab a spot on the second row. The Australian had a brief scare when he brushed the wall of champions, but escaped without damage.

Daniel Ricciardo, 4th, 1:13.166

“I’m pretty happy. This weekend was steady – I think we built up to it and found a better rhythm in qualifying, and as always it’s the most important session, so I made sure I got it all together and in the end I’m pretty happy with fourth. My pace is only a few tenths from pole which is pretty good around here. I was quite lucky on my last lap in the last chicane, I hit the wall pretty hard and luckily it got me to the line and I didn’t lose too much time. The start is important here, but you can pass. I think we’ve got pretty good straight line speed now so we’re in a position to overtake. Tomorrow’s going to be cool, if not wet, so with those conditions it could be anyone’s race. Hopefully it’s a five or six way fight – that could be a lot of fun. I think being on the right tyre at the right time is crucial. It’s about being smart, but being quick at the same time, so it’s worth taking some risks.”

Max Verstappen, 5th, 1:13.414

“Definitely a much better qualifying for me today, top five which is around where we wanted to be. I had hoped we would have been a bit closer to Mercedes but it is what it is. They turn up the power in qualifying and seem to be very strong so hopefully tomorrow we can be a bit closer. My last run in Q3 wasn’t great, you should usually improve and I didn’t but it’s not so bad. Our race pace is looking good and that is where you score the points, also you never know with the weather. No hot moments for me in qualifying today, here in Canada you run close to the barriers but you still have time to correct it, unlike Monaco. Conditions are a bit different from yesterday so you have to change your driving style as it’s very easy to lock up or run wide. It will be difficult to beat the Mercedes, and the Ferrari’s also look quick but hopefully a bit of rain will help us tomorrow in the race. I think it will be very challenging.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“An exciting qualifying session, and for our drivers to line up fourth and fifth at this circuit is certainly more than we expected. A great final lap from Daniel Ricciardo put him within 0.35 of Lewis’s pole time which is a huge achievement. Starting from fourth and fifth on the grid with a bit of weather around as well has got all of the ingredients for a really exciting race. It also demonstrates the progress that the engine has made within the last 12 months, we were well over a second away and now we are within 0.35 of the pole position.”

Ferrari

Vettel had an interesting final practice which included several forays off track at the first chicane. When he was able to put a lap together, he looked very quick and it was no surprise when he grabbed third on the grid. Raikkonen never looked as comfortable and elected to save tyres, only doing one run in Q3.

Kimi Raikkonen, 6th, 1:13.579

"Since yesterday evening we did a good job and improved a lot the behavior of the car, but today it was still not easy to put the car where I wanted. It was a hectic qualifying session because of the weather conditions and I was not very happy with the driving. I had some issues here and there, I struggled in turn 10 all the times to make the front turn, and it was hard to put the lap together. It has not been an easy weekend so far and if you finish P6 there's still work to be done, but I'm sure that for the race tomorrow the car will be better."

Sebastian Vettel, 3rd, 1:12.990

"After P3 I was thinking about pole position, I thought it was possible. The car felt great all day, I think we did a step forward overnight. The last lap in qualifying I was very happy, I knew that it will be very close, unfortunately not close enough, so I think it wasn't entirely perfect. I lost a bit of time maybe on the exit of Turn 10, I was maybe a bit too early on power, and that compromised the traction, which maybe caused me to lose some momentum onto the straight, I don't know how much, we'll find out later, but probably half a tenth or something, so it could have been better overall. I think we all have the feeling today that we can achieve something great. We missed it, but not by much, so I hope for tomorrow. We didn't have any problem, nothing near to the issues we had in the last two races, we've been focusing on that. I think that the people back home have done a good job, trying to assist us as much as possible when we are out on track, and I think today we could show the real performance of the car. Here anything is possible, it's a track where a lot of things can happen, tomorrow's weather forecast is also quite tricky, we'll see. It's such a great place to drive, the people wave at you on an out lap and just appreciate Formula 1 being here, so the plan for tomorrow is to enjoy and try to do well."

Renault

Magnussen never made it to qualifying after a heavy crash into the wall in FP3 left his mechanics with too much work to do to get his car ready. Palmer just missed out on Q2 by 0.015s.

Kevin Magnussen, 22nd, No time

“What can you say ? Obviously I wanted to be driving rather than watching qualifying. The damp conditions caught me out in the morning and the walls are pretty unforgiving as we saw. I feel for my crew as they have a lot of work to do. I’ll be doing everything I can to make amends in the race tomorrow.”

Jolyon Palmer, 17th, 1:15.459

“I’m happy with the lap I did and the car’s much more to my liking today. It was unfortunate that the track was getting slippery as I had another lap of fuel left in the car. It was so close out there ; 0.015secs is absolutely nothing ! The good thing is the car is still improving and my set-up was night and day from yesterday. There are no zebra crossings here so I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s possible in the race.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"The race will be interesting. Jolyon was far happier with his car today and it was such a small margin that denied him entry to Q2. For Kevin, sadly, it was a non-event as his car sustained too much damage in FP3. It was a pretty significant side impact which took out the wings, suspension and floor as well as damaging the gearbox and chassis. It was the damage to the chassis which meant we couldn’t qualify and Kevin will race with the spare tomorrow. There’s a lot of work to be done on his side of the garage between now and then. This year’s weather in Montréal has been very changeable. Currently it looks highly likely that we’ll have a cold and wet day tomorrow so that means we will all need to be very alert to all the various possible race scenarios. In this type of situation there is always potential for a good result."

Manor

Haryanto hit the wall in Turn 4, puncturing his tyre and ending his qualifying. He did well to keep his nose out of the other wall as he pitched from one side of the track to the other. Wehrlein had a quiet but efficient qualifying, beating both of the Saubers to 18th.

Pascal Wehrlein, 18th, 1:15.599

“I’m very happy with my qualifying; I was very close to Q2 and we’re ahead of the Saubers, who are our main competitors at the moment. We knew we could be competitive against them here, because of the long straights where you need more power. But you also need good braking and good traction, and we seem to have all that, which is positive for us. On the first set of tyres the track was completely fine but then it started to rain halfway through and the track became more slippery, so we couldn’t improve. I’d say we exceeded expectations a little here today, so I hope we can do the same in the race tomorrow.”

Rio Haryanto, 21st, 1:17.052

“Today was very disappointing for me. The pace wasn’t great and there was some spots of rain when I went out on the second set of tyres, so I lost control in turn 4 and hit the wall on the outside. I think looking at Pascal, we can see that the car is competitive and the pace is there; I just didn’t get the chance to show that myself. Tomorrow it seems like it will be wet, so I will try to do my best during the race.”

Dave Ryan, Racing Director

“A day of mixed fortunes for us. Pascal did a great job and has been quite measured all day, making good progress through FP3 and into qualifying. His first push lap was very strong and he was pretty close to a place in Q2; everything just came together for him. I think he can be pretty happy with where he’s starting tomorrow. Rio also had a good morning and was doing a good job in qualifying, then the rain came and unfortunately he lost the car in turn 4. There’s a bit of damage to the right rear corner that will keep us occupied for a little while yet, but I’m sure he’ll come back fighting in the race tomorrow.”

Sauber

Sauber didn't have the pace to challenge for Q2 today. Ericsson was decidedly quicker than Nasr, beating his team mate by a full second. But with the Swede carrying a three-place grid drop for causing a collision last time out in Monaco, it will be the Brazilian who lines up ahead.

Marcus Ericsson, 19th, 1:15.635

“It was a tough qualifying. My first run was ok. For the second run we went out a bit later than the other teams. When I was out on track, the rain started to fall a bit more towards the end of the lap, so it was more and more slippery. It was not the easiest session. Regarding tomorrow, I think the unstable weather conditions could mix things up during the race. As we start from the back of the field, that could give us some chances.”

Felipe Nasr, 20th, 1:16.663

“It was a tricky qualifying. In general I struggled a lot with the grip, even compared to the FP3 morning session. I never managed to get everything together in qualifying. I think I went out a bit later than the others. In the end I was not able to improve on the second run on fresh tyres due to the light rain. For the race, I believe the weather will play a huge role. We have to remain positive for tomorrow and see what opportunities might come up for us.”

Toro Rosso

Sainz had looked to have good pace in FP3 and was on a decent flying lap in Q2 when he hit the wall of champions, ending his qualifying session and bringing out the red flags. Kvyat was suffering brake-by-wire issues and qualified 13th.

Daniil Kvyat, 13th, 1:14.457

"I don't think it was a bad qualifying session, but it's just a shame that we didn't find those extra couple of tenths that would've allowed us to get into Q3... This is the only frustrating part, as if we had been able to make our tyres work better I think we could've achieved it – I just don't think we maximised our potential today. A P13 isn't the best result we could've achieved, so we need to look into this now. At least qualifying was a clean session from my side, something which I needed, as up until this session I hadn't felt totally comfortable in the car. Tomorrow we will start from even further behind as I have a three-position grid penalty from Monaco, but in the race anything can happen and we just need to keep our head down and take any opportunity that comes up. The car feels pretty decent and this gives me confidence to keep pushing. We just need to make sure we are proactive, as it will be a very open race strategy wise."

Carlos Sainz, 16th, 1:21.956

"What a shame. It had been a good weekend up until the first run of Q2, when I made a bit of a misjudgment and crashed at the Wall of Champions. It was a small mistake, but we all know that here in Canada a very little error can end your session... The walls here are all so close! I've slightly touched this same wall a couple of times over the weekend, but in today's Quali I did it in a bit of a different way, just a bit harder. I just knew that the fight to get into Q3 was going to be tough so I pushed that extra bit more and maybe this is the reason for this mistake. Fortunately though, we are looking strong and the points are won tomorrow, so we will make sure we fight for another top ten finish in the race: that's still our target even if we're starting P20!"

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“With uncertain weather conditions both today and tomorrow, there were a number of question marks during qualifying that will be carried through to the race. Track temperature is clearly a key aspect to tyre behaviour here, but we won’t know exactly how that develops until just before the race: cool temperatures seem to be indicated, and there might even be some rain. With low wear and degradation, a one-stopper seems the most likely scenario. However, teams will have to keep an open mind on strategy and react to changing conditions as they happen: a traditional hallmark of this fantastic track. We’ve seen in the past that pole position is not necessarily the key to success here, so everything is still wide open.”