Williams secures best team qualifying result since 2006

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Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will undoubtedly be coming away from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with big smiles tonight after they qualified in fourth and fifth place respectively.

After both drivers ran well during FP3, qualifying saw them continue to show good pace, and they even sat first and second at one point in Q2 before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg came back out and went quicker for Mercedes.

In Q3, Bottas produced a fine display to qualify in fourth place, and he was just 0.002 seconds shy of Sebastian Vettel in third place. It continues his fine record of good qualifying performances in Canada, having finished third in last year’s wet session on Saturday. He could not continue this form in the race, though, and faded before finishing outside of the points.

Massa, on the other hand, is no stranger to qualifying up the order during his days with Ferrari. However, this result will still come as a surprise to him after a few difficult years, and will be made all the sweeter by the fact that he is ahead of both ex-teammate Fernando Alonso and his replacement, Kimi Raikkonen.

The result marks Williams’ first two-car finish in the top five of qualifying since the 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix, where Nico Rosberg started from third and Mark Webber was fifth for the team. Neither driver managed to finish the race, though. Pastor Maldonado did start the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix from pole position, but his teammate, Bruno Senna, was knocked out in Q1.

From here, both Bottas and Massa will be keen on securing some big points, and perhaps even a podium finish if things work in their favor. Either way, Williams is well and truly back in business at the sharp end of Formula 1.

Video highlights from Stage 12 of Dakar Rally, 2 stages remain

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Thursday’s Stage 12 of the 40th Dakar Rally not only closed the overall standings gap in at least two classes (cars and trucks), two other classes (bikes and quads) failed to get going due to weather conditions.

The full video highlights of Stage 12 will air on NBCSN on Friday at 7 pm ET, but here are some of the highlights from Thursday’s action:

CARS

2018 Dakar Rally: Nasser Al-Attiyah wins Stage 12 of cars

BIKES

 Stage 12 cancelled due to weather conditions

 

TRUCKS

Ton van Genugten edged out Martin Kolomy in Stage of, while Federico Villagra and Eduard Nikolaev both faced an uphill battle to finish fourth and third respectively.

QUADS

Even though the Quads were also impacted by weather issues on Thursday, Ignacio Casale, the 2014 Dakar winner, continues to make his case for a second overall victory in the quads.