Lewis Hamilton made it four front rows in succession and will start the Canadian Grand Prix alongside pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.
But while Hamilton continued his impressive Saturday afternoon performances for Mercedes, it was more woe for former McLaren teammate Jenson Button who will start from 14th after being caught out by a red flag and another dubious strategy call by his team.
The rain had threatened all day and right on cue the drizzle started to fall just in time for the start of qualifying. And the weather conundrum for the teams saw the usual hiatus at the start of Q1 abandoned as the cars streamed from the pits to put in a banker on the super soft slick tyres.
The three amigos: Valtteri Bottas (left), Sebastian Vettel (centre) and Lewis Hamilton reflect on a rain-affected qualifying
But the damp track was soon catching out the drivers as they struggled to get heat into the tyres. Back they came into the pits they came for intermediate rubber with the proximity of Montreal’s concrete walls an ever present danger.
The top 10
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull
2 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
3 Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
4 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
5 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
6 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
7 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
10 Adrian Sutil (Force India)
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, the standout qualifiers of the campaign so far, were soon topping the time sheets but were quickly replaced by the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber as the field acclimatised to the tricky track.
Red Bull and Mercedes continued to duke it out at the top, with a cameo from Fernando’s Fernando Alonso, as the usual suspects occupied the drop zone places.
Jenson Button, who produced a stunning last-to-first display in 2011 here to take victory in similar conditions, did cause a few nervous moments before managing to negotiate his way through the traffic to ease away from the cut-off point.
But it was disaster for Paul Di Resta who fell at the first hurdle, his Force India teammate Adrian Sutil also struggling for pace and try temperature in their light-footed car.
Yellow peril: Hamilton locked up in the latter stages of his final lap in hot pursuit of Vettel's time on a slippery track
Another high profile Q1 casualty was Romain Grosjean who could only manage 19th and will start dead last after picking up a 10-place penalty for ploughing into the back of Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso in Monaco.
As the cars filed out for Q2, Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, cast a concerned eye in the direction of the heavens.
The heavens opened: It was a rain-affected session in Canada
Fears of a downpour meant the grandstands were at least being treated to plenty of action through the gloom. Hamilton threw down an early marker, putting in a lap four tenths faster than the rest.
But as Hamilton and Sutil suffered a brief detour down the escape road, Vettel was banging in an ominous looking, time over a second faster than his Mercedes rival before that was topped by Webber.
Meanwhile, the curt message to Button form his team was to find two seconds. But with McLaren driver down in 12th, and with two minutes of the session remaining, a crash from Ferrari’s Felipe Massa brought out the red flag.
Plenty to ponder: Fernando Alonso starts sixth, knowing he must begin to chip away at Sebastian Vettel's championship lead if he is to have any hope of competing for the title
After having a new chassis hastily assembled following his two heft shunts in Monaco, the Brazilian was left banging his steering wheel in frustration after slewing sideways into the tyre wall after putting wheels on the treacherous white lines.
The race was on for McLaren to get Button out in time to put in lap sufficient to make the top 10 shootout. The million dollar traffic jam was held on red lights at the end of the pit-lane. But Button was inexplicably sent out at the back of that expensive train and failed to make it across the start finish line in time.After a disappointing day, he said: 'A couple of things went wrong and we were not quick enough. It was just not our day. Hopefully I can move forward in the race.
'We wanted more this weekend and thought we would be inside the top 10 but that was not the case.'
It was better news for Valtteri Bottas who provided a much needed fillip for Williams by making Q3 for the first time in his career, eventually coming home an highly impressive third, while both Toro Rossos, in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, also made it to the business end of qualifying.
Memorable afternoon: Bottas clinched his first appearance on the second row of the grid
But with Vettel the man to shoot out and the track slowing, it was left in the hands of Hamilton to buck the trend. But after setting his quickest time of the afternoon with only the final sector remaining, Hamilton was caught out at the final chicane, and fearing a close encounter with the ‘wall of champions’ the 2008 world champion decided discretion was the better part of valour.
Tough times: Jenson Button will start 14th after another disappointing day
- 2013/06/09(日) 16:33:37|