Gutierrez banking on dry weekend in Canada

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Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez is hoping for dry conditions at next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in order to give himself the best chance of scoring his first points in Formula One.

In 2013, the Mexican driver has recorded a best finish of 11th at the Spanish Grand Prix, setting the fastest lap in the race. However, he is keen on breaking this pointless streak at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, where he has raced just once before.

“So far I have driven once at the track on Ile Notre-Dame, and that was in 2007 in Formula BMW. It went quite well with one podium finish and a fourth place. It’s a really nice circuit and I like it a lot,” he said in a team statement.

The circuit is renowned for being tough on tires, forcing multiple pit stops, but Gutierrez believes that this could aid Sauber.

“The track is slippery and tire management will yet again be very important, which gives us an opportunity to put a good strategy together. Obviously overtaking will be easier than in Monaco, which can benefit us. It’s hard to judge how competitive we will be, as it will also depend on the weather.

“Hopefully with better conditions we can have a more consistent weekend, which will help us to progress and make the most of our potential.”

As a whole, the team has failed to impress so far in 2013, scoring just five points from the opening six races. Although they may not be set to repeat Sergio Perez’s podium in Canada from 2012, this race could be a turning point for the team should they get both drivers into the points.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.