Nico Rosberg is delighted to have claimed pole position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix, but is readying himself for a race-long battle with teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will start in second place.
Rosberg’s run to pole position on Saturday afternoon came as something of a surprise. Throughout practice, Hamilton had the edge on his teammate, and the Briton’s record around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is phenomenal with three poles and three wins. However, when it mattered, Rosberg managed to edge out his teammate by just 0.079 seconds to secure his third pole position of the season.
“It’s been a great weekend so far and I’m really pleased with how I have been able to improve my set-up from session to session,” the German driver explained. “Even before qualifying we made some quite big changes and they worked out perfectly. So I am very happy with starting from pole tomorrow.”
Rosberg believes that – just as we saw in Monaco – starting from pole position could be key due to the lack of overtaking opportunities in the first two sectors of the track. The final sector is all about straight line speed, so the two Mercedes drivers will be equal.
“That was very important as there aren’t many opportunities to overtake here, particularly if you are in the same car,” Rosberg said. “I think it will be a battle between the two of us out there tomorrow as the gap to the other cars was quite big in qualifying today and also on our long runs on Friday were strong.”
During the race simulation runs during FP2 on Friday, Mercedes was dominant once again ahead of Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams, and as a result Rosberg and Hamilton should be poised to claim another one-two finish this weekend.
Although the tension in the fight between the two Mercedes drivers has apparently cooled, it will be interesting to see just how they fare during the race tomorrow when starting alongside each other on the front row.
Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.
The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.
“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.
“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.
“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”
The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.
Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.
Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.
McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.