Who would have thought it? Nico Rosberg snatching pole position away from Lewis Hamilton at the Briton’s favorite circuit? Ouch. How will that go down in the Mercedes garage?
Given that things are apparently okay between the two now, it will probably be alright. Just as Lewis said in the post-qualifying press conference, “Nico just did a better job today so I need to work hard to make sure I do better tomorrow”. That’s the kind of attitude we like to see in our racing drivers.
It was certainly a busy day at the circuit, so here’s the latest paddock notebook from the Canadian Grand Prix.
- The final say in practice did in fact go to Hamilton, and the margin by which he gapped the rest of the field on the slower tire was phenomenal. It didn’t seem like he could be beaten…
- …but then Nico did exactly that. The German driver produced a fine final lap in Q3 to snatch pole position away from the Briton. Williams and Red Bull both put in an impressive display, while Ferrari and McLaren struggled.
NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK
- Despite promising that their engines would be able to compete with the other suppliers in Canada, Renault admitted defeat and said that there are still underlying problems.
- The Canadian Grand Prix will stay in Montreal for the next ten years after a new contract was announced today. This ensures that there will be two races in North America until at least.
- Romain Grosjean is confident that Lotus is heading in the right direction this year despite some struggles.
- Esteban Gutierrez was forced to miss qualifying after a crash in the final free practice session.
- Marcus Ericsson also binned his car for Caterham in embarrassing fashion.
- Williams secured its best team qualifying result since the 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix today with Bottas and Massa in the top five
- Fernando Alonso was upbeat despite qualifying down in seventh place.
- Kamui Kobayashi will start from last position after a gearbox penalty. Pastor Maldonado has also been given a reprimand.
- Nico Rosberg is preparing himself for a race-long battle with Lewis Hamilton tomorrow from the front row.
- Daniel Ricciardo was left frustrated after he could only qualify in sixth place, just 0.05 seconds off third.
- Things you wouldn’t hear in 2013: Sebastian Vettel pleased with third place – it shows how much has changed!
- Jenson Button is pleased with McLaren’s new direction since Ron Dennis’ return.
- Gene Haas spoke exclusively to NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey about his plans for entering F1 in 2016 with an American team.
THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK
Nico beating Lewis? Who would have thought it? In the media centre, it was a common assumption that Hamilton would bag his fifth pole position of the season. After all, this is his circuit; he always goes well around here. However, a mistake heading down to the hairpin meant that he lost a fraction of time. Unfortunately for him, said fraction was enough to cost him pole to Rosberg. Thankfully, we had none of the theatrics of Monaco. Lewis simply held his hands up and said that Nico was quicker.
What we do have is a cracking fight for the win tomorrow, though. The run into the first corner will be massive for the result of the race, and even though he might start from second, the smart money will still be on Lewis Hamilton. As Nico proved today, though, he is not to be discounted.
The battle further back is a little more complex. Williams turned out to be the dark horse of qualifying, with Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth ahead of Felipe Massa. The two drivers both will be hoping to convert this into a strong double score tomorrow, whereas Red Bull will want the Martini-liveried cars to have as much trouble as possible. Daniel Ricciardo was his smiley self after qualifying, but he made no secret of his annoyance after having missed out on P3 by less than half a tenth of a second.
At Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen was once again anonymous in the final session, and Fernando Alonso once again dragged the car to just seventh on the grid. Fighting with Red Bull and Williams might be a bit of a long shot for the prancing horses tomorrow.
Finally, a few thoughts on Gene Haas’ comments to NBCSN about his F1 team. It’s fantastic that we will have an American team on the grid in 2016, and if there’s an American driver (not mentioning any names… Alexander Rossi), that would be awesome. That’s why I find his comments about Danica Patrick being a candidate confusing.
Sure, Danica would be very marketable, and yes, she does have open wheel experience. However, she would be 34 by the time the team makes its debut. A 34-year-old rookie in F1? It goes against the idea of nurturing the next generation of drivers, one of whom has to be Rossi. Of course, this debate will rumble on until Gene signs a deal with his drivers, which probably would’t be for another 12 to 18 months yet.
Race day tomorrow promises to be a fascinating one. Be sure to watch the Canadian Grand Prix live on NBC from 2pm ET, with build-up starting on NBCSN from 1:30pm ET.