Another Saturday, another pole position and front row lockout for Mercedes. Business as usual. Nico Rosberg snatched pole position away from Lewis Hamilton by just 0.079 seconds when the checkered flag fell, with Sebastian Vettel finishing as the ‘best of the rest’ – some six-tenths of a second further back.
Surely, once again in Canada, we look set for a Mercedes runaway? The added gusto of the German marque’s power unit is particularly crucial here with the long back straight at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, so maybe its advantage will be even greater? Williams – also powered by Mercedes – proved in qualifying that it could make it a clean sweep for the engine supplier on the podium this weekend, relying that Valtteri Bottas or Felipe Massa can beat the Red Bulls from fourth and fifth on the grid.
Pole man Nico Rosberg certainly believes that the fight for the race win will once again be between himself and Lewis Hamilton.
“I expect that it’s going to be between the two of us for now, yes,” he said after qualifying. “But of course there can be surprises so we need to still make sure we push, but I think we have enough of a gap at the moment on race pace.”
Hamilton, on the other hand, remains wary of the likes of Red Bull and Williams.
“I don’t think it’s just between the two of us,” the Briton began. “Obviously in qualifying Sebastian wasn’t as close as perhaps he would like to be but the race pace was great in the last race so I anticipate tomorrow they [Red Bull] should be quite strong.
“We definitely cannot disregard Sebastian or Red Bull. I think we need to be very cautious still, and make sure that we keep pushing.”
Mercedes’ race pace in practice was consistently quicker than that of both Red Bull drivers, so Hamilton’s comments may be more about him erring on the side of caution and not wishing to get too complacent. In reality, though, the fight for the race win in Montreal – and with it, the championship lead – will be an all-Mercedes affair.