Didn’t give it to anyone. The rainy – at the beginning – classification of the Canadian GP of Formula 1 2022, held this Saturday (18), had Max Verstappen as pole-position. After leading FP1 and FP2, the reigning world champion confirmed the good pace shown in Montreal and, without any major problems, secured first position on the starting grid.
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This was Verstappen’s 15th career pole position. The second, only, of the season – the Dutchman had already started ahead of the grid in Imola, winning the sprint race.
The surprise was on account of Fernando Alonso. Also very fast throughout the weekend, the two-time world champion managed a flying lap at the end and secured his place in the front row. Carlos Sainz closed the top-3.
In the early part of the classification, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly could not translate the good pace shown in the third and final free practice and ended up eliminated. Both pointed out problems – regardless, they said goodbye to the rest of the standings already in Q1, as did Yuki Tsunoda, Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll.
Then, in Q2, Charles Leclerc didn’t even go to the track – since, due to the engine changes, he was destined to start in the last row. With nine minutes left in the session, Sergio Pérez was betrayed by the intermediate tires and crashed into the barrier at Turn 3, breaking the RB18’s front wing in the process. Therefore, 13 cars fought for the 10 spots in the last part of the classification: worse for Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon and Lando Norris, who were eliminated.
Finally, in Q3, Max Verstappen didn’t give his rivals a chance and, in a dominant way, took pole position in Montreal. Fernando Alonso was 0s645 behind and also wide from the front row. Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton make up the second row. Kevin Magnussen, Mick Schumacher, Esteban Ocon, George Russell, Daniel Ricciardo and Guanyu Zhou, in order, close the top-10 of the starting grid at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
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Check out how the classification went in Montreal:
Even before qualifying at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve started, we already knew who would eventually start on the last row: Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda. Ferrari decided to replace all the components of the Monegasque’s engine – which didn’t even run a timed lap in FP3.
AlphaTauri, in turn, changed the power unit of the #22 – which was completely modified: internal combustion engine, MGU-K, MGU-H, turbo, electronic controls, energy storage and exhaust.
Q1 – Verstappen leads the initial part of the classification; Gasly and Vettel out
As soon as the green light was activated in the pit lane, all the cars took to the track in search of a fast lap. The rush was justified: with the rain and wet track, the chances of a yellow flag – or even red – increased significantly. So much so that Mercedes informed Lewis Hamilton via radio: “fit a lap quickly”.
Max Verstappen was the first to set a time, but was soon overtaken by George Russell: 1min36s688 for the Mercedes driver, on heavy rain tires – used by everyone. None of the intermediates we saw in the third – and final – third free practice.
The current world champion, however, soon took the lead: 1min35s830. The threat was Fernando Alonso – leader of FP3, the Spaniard once again proved exceptional pace on the Canadian track. Two-time world champion scored the best first and second sectors, but had to abort the potential P1 turn due to lack of visibility.
This factor also bothered Hamilton. Again via radio, the seven-time world champion told Mercedes “I can’t see anything ahead”.
With eight minutes to go, Kevin Magnussen flew in and clocked 1:34.893, taking the lead in the early part of the standings. Valtteri Bottas soon overtook the Dane, but it was Russell who took the lead: 1min33s925. For a brief moment, Mercedes held a 1-2.
This was short lived. Verstappen fitted the pace: 1min33s200. The changes in positions kept happening: soon Fernando Alonso was the leader, quickly ‘replaced’ by Carlos Sainz. Leclerc, resigned to the last row, was shy throughout Q1.
With five minutes to go, Sainz, Alonso, Verstappen, Russell and Magnussen rounded out the top-5 list. Alex Albon, Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi were in the elimination zone.
Meanwhile, Russell continued to fit fast lap after fast lap: great performance by the Briton in Q1. Via radio, Verstappen’s engineer asked the Dutchman “what was the main limitation”. Answer from the reigning world champion? “A clean lane”. In fact.
Sainz warned Ferrari: “the time for the intermediates is coming”, while Verstappen recorded 1min32s219 and reached the top of the field. With less than a minute to go in the early part of qualifying, uncertainty permeated the elimination zone.
At risk, Pérez rose from 15th to 12th place. After the final checkered flag, Gasly had his lap deleted and, in the end, he was eliminated in 16th place. Vettel, inexplicably, did not advance either: 2nd and 3rd in FP3 were out in Q1, therefore. Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda – who didn’t even take to the track for his final attempt at a comeback – completed the elimination zone.
Over the radio, Vettel was unable to justify the elimination in Q1. “Very different car compared to FP3. I didn’t have any grip. What happened?” he questioned him, visibly upset. Gasly, in turn, was informed by AlphaTauri that his car had a problem with the front right.
Q2 – Verstappen is ahead again; Pérez crashes and is eliminated
Even before Q2 started, we already knew that the eliminated in fact there would be four pilots, not five. That’s because right after the end of Q1, Leclerc got out of his F1-75 and said goodbye to the public. The Monegasque no longer had any goals in qualifying: determined to start on the last row due to engine changes, he had already been ahead of Tsunoda and, therefore, doomed to compose the starting grid in 19th position.
For the intermediate part of qualifying, Alonso, Magnussen, Mick Schumacher, Albon, Sainz, Ocon and Pérez started the session on intermediate tires. Russell, Guanyu Zhou, Hamilton, Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Bottas and Lando Norris, meanwhile, opted for heavy rain compounds.
In the initial wave of spins, Alonso showed that intermediaries were the right choice. The two-time world champion turned in 1min30s910, far ahead of the rest of the grid. Meanwhile, Albon left the track and leaned lightly against the wall: nothing a defendant can’t solve.
With just over eight minutes to go in Q2, Pérez was betrayed by his own intermediaries and crashed into the wall at turn 3. Unable to get the RB18 out of there, the Mexican was told to give up the attempt to get back on track: red flag.
The FIA (International Automobile Federation) clock took a while to freeze – it took more than 40 seconds to wait. While the entity itself announced an investigation into Sainz, for allegedly obstructing Ocon in Q1.
As Pérez’s car was removed by the marshals and the tow truck – revealing the Mexican’s front wing break -, the FIA ’reset’ its watch, back to the exact moment the incident occurred: 9 minutes, rounds, to the end of the season. Q2.
At 17:43 (Brasília time), the track actions were resumed. Hamilton warned: the dry line of the track was starting to appear. Therefore, all returned to the circuit of intermediate compounds. In the first wave of laps, Verstappen recorded 1min27s764 – 1s389 ahead of second placed Sainz.
But in conditions like these, where the track dries out more by the second, what counts is the final part of the session. And in it, surprises kept happening: Albon, Zhou, Schumacher and Magnussen, for example, even figured in the top-5.
After the flag, Alonso took the lead of the session: 1min24s848. Russell finished second, Hamilton fourth. Verstappen was soon back in the lead with 1min23s746. In the end, Ocon saved himself at the last moment.
The three eliminated – as Leclerc and Pérez were out – turned out to be Norris, Albon and Bottas. The McLaren driver didn’t put in any time and was even behind the Mexican Red Bull: an as yet unidentified problem in his MCL36 took him out of contention.
Positive points go to Haas and Alpine, with their two drivers in Q3, plus, of course, Guanyu Zhou – once again ahead of Bottas and, in an unprecedented way, in the final part of a Formula 1 qualifying practice.
Q3 – Verstappen pole and Alonso 2nd!
The last time had come. Still in midfield, Hamilton went ahead of the others to record time, followed by his teammate George Russell.
After the first round of laps, however, it was Max Verstappen who took – for a long time – the provisional pole position. 1min22s701 for the current world champion, 0s787 ahead of – amazing – Mick Schumacher, second place.
Before the final round of spins, Sainz and Alonso pushed the Haas rider to fourth place. Russell, Hamilton, Magnussen, Zhou, Ocon and Ricciardo completed the top-10.
For the final round of laps, Russell surprised and dropped soft tires. It was all or nothing. And it was nothing: the Mercedes driver slipped at turn 2 and went off the track. With 1min21s620, Verstappen was comfortable on pole.
Hamilton threatened, Sainz too, but the Dutchman responded with 1min21s299 – first place assured. As usual over the weekend, Alonso showed a great performance in Montreal and, when he clocked 1min21s944, he secured his rightful place in the front row.
F1 2022, Canada, Saturday, Starting Grid:
|1||M VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull Honda||1:21,299|
|5||K MAGNUSEN||Haas Ferrari||1:22,960||+1,661|
|6||M SCHUMACHER||Haas Ferrari||1:23,356||+2,057|
|10||G ZHOU||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:24,030||+2,731|
|11||V BOOTS||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:26,788||+5,489|
|13||S PEREZ||Red Bull Honda||1:33,127||+11,828|
|14||L NORRIS||McLaren Mercedes|
|15||P GASLY||AlphaTauri Honda||1:34,492||+13,193|
|16||S VETTEL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:34,512||+13,213|
|17||L STROL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:35,532||+14,233|
|18||N LATIFI||Williams Mercedes||1:35,660||+14,361|
|20||Y TSUNODA||AlphaTauri Honda||1:36,575||+15,276|
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