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GP Week : Issue 184
Qualifying for the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix got underway beneath cloudy skies and a blanket of light rain, with slippery track conditions proving challenging for the less experienced drivers on the grid. While the initial forays in Q1 saw a number of brave souls leave the pitlane on Pirelli’s supersoft compound, after gentle installation laps were complete there was a move to inters to prevent the spins and offs that were a feature of the opening minutes. By the time Q1 had reached its midpoint, the fight for the top was a four-way battle between the driver pairings from Red Bull and Mercedes, with Fernando Alonso and Adrian Sutil spicing up the action with competitive lap times of their own. Esteban Gutierrez impressed for Sauber, lapping in the top ten throughout Q1. The closing minutes saw impressive laps from Massa and Valtteri Bottas, while Gutierrez was knocked down the order before saving himself as the chequered flag fell. Joining the Marussias and Caterhams at the back of the grid were Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean. As Q2 got under way, inters were still the tyre of choice. Track conditions looked to have improved slightly between sessions, but the constant drizzle kept the track too wet for slicks to be a sensible option. As the session progressed, however, conditions worsened, with Q2’s top times dangerously close to the 107 percent benchmark set in Q1. The timesheets in the second session bore a strong resemblance to Q1, with Mercedes and Red Bull continuing to look strong. With two minutes remaining, Massa brought out the red flags when he lost grip on the wet kerbs, spun, and smacked his Ferrari sideways into the tyre wall at Turn 3. When the session resumed, drivers had but one chance to get in a lap that could see them through to Q3. The track improved slightly in the break, but the one-shot lapping made it a challenge for some of the teams to get their tyres up to temperature. Sauber and McLaren saw both drivers knocked out, joined by Massa and Pastor Maldonado. Greasy tack conditions persisted into Q3, with the top 10 leaving the pits on inters. Vettel was the first man to put a time on the board in the final session, with his 1m25.425s lap proving impossible to beat in the first run. Bottas impressed with a P3-worthy 1m25.897s, three-tenths slower than Hamilton in provisional P2. Hamilton’s last timed lap looked good for pole, but the Briton made an error at the final corner, running wide and losing time. The final laps made little change to the early order, with Vettel retaining pole, from Hamilton. On the following pages, TRENT PRIcE takes a closer look at the incidents that shaped the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, from Bottas’ big drop to McLaren’s continuing struggles and beyond... QUALIFYING 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1m25.425s 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m25.512s 3. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1m25.897s 4. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m26.008s 5. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1m26.208s 6. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1m26.504s 7. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1m26.543s 8. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 1m27.348s 9. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1m27.432s 10. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1m27.946s 11. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1m29.453s 12. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1m29.761s 13. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1m29.917s 14. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1m30.068s 15. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1m30.315s 16. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1m30.354s 17. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1m24.908s 18. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1m25.626s 19. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1m25.716s 20. Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1m26.508s 21. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1m27.062s 22. Giedo v d Garde (Caterham) 1m27.110s Who's this at the Qualifying press conference? Valtteri Bottas pulled one out of the bag for grid three ... BOTTAS SHOCK! 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> CANADA