Starting grid for the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix

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It may seem odd to call Nico Rosberg starting on pole position a surprise, yet given the fashion in which his teammate Lewis Hamilton dominated practice in Canada, we must call it exactly that.

It was a shock to the F1 paddock, which had seemingly assumed that Hamilton would secure his fifth pole position of the season on Saturday afternoon. Instead, a mistake in the final sector meant that Rosberg nabbed pole by just 0.079 seconds, and Lewis was quick to hold his hands up and admit that his teammate simply did a better job.

Behind the Silver Arrows, Red Bull and Williams appear to be tied in a battle for the final podium position. Just 0.05 seconds covered Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo from third to sixth, and with Fernando Alonso also waiting in the wings in seventh place, there could be a fascinating subplot to the main show in Montreal.

FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE

  • Daniel Ricciardo was given a reprimand for dangerously overtaking Pastor Maldonado in the pit lane during practice on Friday. It is his first of the season.
  • Maldonado himself received a reprimand for not replacing his steering wheel after pulling over at the side of the track during qualifying.
  • Kamui Kobayashi will start from 21st position on the grid due to a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change. He qualified in 20th place.
  • Esteban Gutierrez will be allowed to start the race despite not posting a time during qualifying. The Sauber driver crashed during FP3 and required a new chassis. He will start from the pit lane.

2014 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams
5. Felipe Massa Williams
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
8. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
9. Jenson Button McLaren
10. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
13. Sergio Perez Force India
14. Romain Grosjean Lotus
15. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
16. Adrian Sutil Sauber
17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
18. Max Chilton Marussia
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
PL. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber

You can watch the Canadian Grand Prix live on NBC from 2pm ET, with the pre-race show starting at 1:30pm on NBCSN. Be sure to follow @F1onNBCSports on Twitter for live updates throughout the race.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”