Wake Up Williams, it’s Bottas!
“Squirly” is the right word to describe today’s qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix. With on-and-off rain showers over the duration of quals, it made for some tense moments. The beginning of Q1 saw almost all drivers leaving the pits with the red Super-Soft tires, and immediately pitting one lap later to exchange them for the green Intermediate compound. Q1 sees the usual pack of Caterham’s, Marussia’s, Romain Grosjean (grid penalty), and surprisingly Paul di Resta of Force India. di Resta was fastest in practice yesterday and chalked up the bad qualifying to a misuse of time in the pits during Q1.
Q2 had the most action of the day with heavier rain contributing to slower lap times. With just minutes left on the clock, Felipe Massa crashes yet again into a wall, cementing a 16th grid spot for his Ferrari tomorrow. Massa makes this three crashes in 2 weekends, and halted today’s qualifying with a red flag at 1:59 to go. This made for a traffic jam build up cars aching to fly out of the pits to finish the last 2 laps. Both McLaren’s find themselves in 12th and 14th on the grid (Perez then Button), with Button narrowly missing out on a day’s best lap as Q2 drew to a close.
The big surprise of the day was Valtteri Bottas’ spectacular drives in all sessions of qualifying. We’ve seen his potential all season, but the Williams car seems to finally be giving back and allowing his speed to show through. Bottas surprised us all with a third place in Q2, but then to follow it up with 3rd in Q3 was truly great to see. Also surprising was Scuderia Toro Rosso, finishing today with both cars in Q1 (Jean Eric-Vergne at 7th, Daniel Ricciardo at 10th).
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel takes pole position for the third time in a row, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg sitting 2nd and 4th. Mark Webber had a handful of fastest times today, but slips back to 5th on the grid for Red Bull. The lone Ferrari with Fernando Alonso finds 6th on the grid, two spots behind him a shining Adrian Sutil locks down 8th, with Lotus‘ Kimi Raikkonen clinging to 9th on the grid.
Tomorrow’s race forecast looks to be warmer and dry, so anything is possible. Would we like to see young Valtteri Bottas win his first Grand Prix? Absolutely! Will it happen? That’s doubtful – he performed very well in the wet, and I don’t think the Williams car has the speed in the dry. Tires seem to be holding up very well and if tomorrow becomes a true one-stop day, it seems ‘ol Sebastian Vettel may walk away with more points.
Move over Maldonado, there’s a new #1 at Williams!