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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jun 2012   |  7:27 pm GMT  |  109 comments

Sebastian Vettel gave himself the best chance of becoming the first driver to win a second race in 2012, by taking pole by 3/10ths of a second from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

If he could do it, it would be the first win for Red Bull in Canada, which has been something of a bogey circuit for the team. Vettel made a mistake on the last lap in 2011, losing the win to Jenson Button.

It was Vettel’s second pole in a row in Canada and the 32nd of his career in just 88 Grands Prix. It was Vettel’s second pole of 2012 after Bahrain – a race he won from pole position.

“We had a fantastic weekend so far,” said Vettel. “We’ve learned quite a bit from the last few weekends, where we didn’t get as much as we should have from the car. It’s not just a hole in the floor that makes a difference. We never feared a big impact (from the forced changes to the car).”

Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix is usually close but Vettel’s margin was larger than expected. Whereas Vettel and Hamilton improved on their final runs Alonso didn’t improve. He set the fastest time in all three qualifying sessions. Hamilton said that the higher temperatures on Saturday compared to Friday had affected his pace, as he found it tough to get the tyres up to temperature and he was surprised in the circumstances to be on the front row.

In Q1, Jean Eric Vergne failed to make the cut for the third time this season. He had an off in the morning session which cost him valuable track time. The Caterhams ended up ahead of him, with Kovalainen getting ahead of team mate Petrov.

Of the front runners, both McLaren drivers and Raikkonen used up a set of option tyres to get through Q1, finding around half a second advantage from it over the soft.

At the start of Q2, the two Ferraris went out on softs initially, the only cars to do so.

Critically, both Ferraris, the Mercedes and Red Bull cars all got through into Q3 using only one set of the super soft tyres. Button had used all three sets of his – he flat spotted one set and lost them – and was vulnerable to a last minute attack from Maldonado, but the Venezuelan hit the wall in the final corner and that allowed Button to go through in the top ten.

Raikkonen and the two Saubers failed to make the cut. Raikkonen said that he had a hydraulic problems which affected the performance of his differential.

Hamilton had only one new set of supersofts to take into Q3.

After the first runs, Vettel was fastest from Alonso and Hamilton. Vettel found 3/10ths on his second run, crucially Alonso was 2/1000ths slower than his first run; the final sector letting him down.

Meanwhile Massa had his best qualifying performance of the season in sixth place in the upgraded Ferrari.

Button set his Q3 time on soft tyres and will start the race on those tyres from 10th place, a different strategy from the other front runners and one that gives him the possibility of one stop if he thinks it’s possible. An early safety car would help him a lot in the race.

Nico Rosberg was fifth, the fastest Mercedes – his car had a fuel connector problem in the morning session, which stopped him out on track as soon as he went out. He lost the session. This follows Schumacher’s fuel pressure problem which curtailed his Monaco Grand Prix, showing that Mercedes still has one or two reliability concerns in that area.

Meanwhile Vettel had set the fastest time in FP3, despite Red Bull being forced to make a second modification to its car in a week, again a matter of disputed holes – this time the FIA requested a change to holes in the wheel hubs as they were felt to have an influence on aerodynamics, energising the air flow to the front wing rather than performing a simple cooling function.

The strategies for tomorrow’s race will be very interesting and track temperature will play a part as will the high possibility of a safety car. Strategies with fewer stops can bring you out ahead at the final stops, but with overtaking being so easy at Montreal with long straights and DRS zone, making the right call at the first stop will be critical.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m13.784s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m14.087s + 0.303
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.151s + 0.367
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m14.346s + 0.562
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.411s + 0.627
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.465s + 0.681
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m14.645s + 0.861
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1m14.705s + 0.921
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.812s + 1.028
10. Jenson Button McLaren 1m15.182s + 1.398

11. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m14.688s + 0.501
12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m14.734s + 0.547
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m14.748s + 0.561
14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m15.078s + 0.891
15. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m15.156s + 0.969
16. Bruno Senna Williams 1m15.170s + 0.983
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m15.231s + 1.044

18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m16.263s + 1.602
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m16.482s + 1.821
20. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m16.602s + 1.941
21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m17.492s + 2.831
22. Timo Glock Marussia 1m17.901s + 3.240
23. Charles Pic Marussia 1m18.255s + 3.594
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m18.330s + 3.669

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109 Comments
  1. Pman says:

    I was a big critic of the new tires but it appears to have settled now.
    Top 4 teams and their “no 1″ drivers are much faster than their team mates and the teams for the most part are faster than everyone else.

    Finally the best of both worlds. No killer concept like blown diffusers etc and close racing. Should be an awesome season.

    1. Daniel MA says:

      Indeed, from Canada onwards only the real championship contenders will be at the front, but I think the midfield will remain very unpredictable all season and that is going to be an interesting battle as well!

    2. Tim says:

      Vettel did Webber today, so I’m not so sure about “Top 4 teams and their “no 1″ drivers are much faster than their team mates” given that Webber has been faster than Vettel in 2012.

    3. As for criticizing the tires, I really think the closeness of the cars is proving to have more of an effect on the “crazy” results we’re seeing.

      In Q2, the top 16 were within a second. I don’t ever remember seeing F1 that close over that many cars. From 5th to 13th is less than 0.3 s. 7th to 11th is less than a tenth: Grosjean @ 1:14.627 vs. Kobayashi @ 1:14.688! One screwed up corner and suddenly you’re in 14th and cut from Q3. Kimi’s Q2 time would have been good enough for 4th in Q3!

      For years now, temperatures have affected cars differently; however, the bigger differences between the cars masked the variations due to temperature. On a hot day, one car might be two tenths faster than another, or three tenths slower on a cool day. A few years ago, that may have gained or lost you a spot, but now that same temperature difference shoots you several spots ahead. Combine a clean lap when you get the tires in the sweet spot and suddenly you are a contender for pole, whether you’re in a McLaren, a Ferrari, a Red Bull or a Williams! I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a Sauber or a Force India fighting for pole one weekend before too long.

      It’s so close now that every little bit counts. Getting the tires exactly right wasn’t an issue in years passed. Getting every corner exactly perfect wasn’t a huge deal. If you had the car, as long as you didn’t throw away the lap, you had pole. Now, if you don’t have everything absolutely perfect, you’re out of Q2, and facing a much tougher job on Sunday.

    4. James Clayton says:

      Montreal and Monaco have both traditionally been a bit different on tyres from the rest of the tracks, so we might find a bit more of a lottery again later on in the season. I do agree, though, that the top teams are getting a grip on things. I just think the amount of understanding they have of the tyres is exaggerated by these two tracks.

      Remember it was ironically, the Canadian GP that prompted the tyre specs we have now; as the Bridgestones couldn’t last the whole race in 2010. Strange how over the past two years Pirelis have been the exact opposite; falling apart everywhere else, but able to last it out in Montreal!

  2. AlexD says:

    Looks like Alonso made a mistake in the last sector – very unfortunate. It was not a perfect lap from him and so he starts third – could have been P1 or P2.

    He needs to take Hamilton right at the start so that he will not lose any time to Vettel and try to win the race.

    I think this is what Alonso and Ferrari are thinking – this time, they have to be aggressive, otherwise Vettel will take more points.

    1. Andrew says:

      I agree, Vettel will run off into the distance if Alonso doesn’t challenge him – the Mclaren’s race pace is always terrible.

      I think Alonso has a good chance of getting around Lewis, Ferrari’s starts so far this year have been incredible. If not he’s bound to nail him in the DRS zone, apparantly Mclaren made the bizarre desision to add rear wing in qualifying.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Lets hope that McClaren can find something today, and Lewis isn’t moaning all through the race about his tyres going off! A 3 way battle – Vettel / Lewis and Alonso all going at it – that’s what we need for this evening.

        And what’s happened to Button recently? Come on Jenson, find some pace!

    2. Onko says:

      Alonso is sitting pretty and quite content
      with himself, not only is he on the clean
      side of the grid, but has been the quickest
      man in the first sector, which suggest by
      the law of averages he should lead by the end of a stright,though passing is easy and the
      pole is not that critical,the mail says
      King Alonso will stich up the Canadian GP.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        There was a telling comment in the BBC qualifying programme.
        The interviewer asked Alonso if all the updates had made Ferrari a force for the front for the rest of the season.
        He didn’t even pause to consider his comment.

        Considering in the early races he and Ferrari were speaking of damage limitation to be able to compete later in the season, and every question was met with guarded replies, this says alot about this man and this team. With Massa in 6th position, that Ferrari is getting more and more competitive.

        If he doesn’t win tomorrow, I don’t think Ferrari will worry, as they said, over the last 3 races they have been competitive at 3 different type tracks.
        His body language is ominous.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Found these two quotes from Alonso.

        Races here are always unpredictable, but for sure it would be very nice to give all the Canadian Ferrari fans a nice result in the thirtieth anniversary year of the death of Gilles Villeneuve.

        Italy-Spain in the European football? We haven’t spoken about it yet with the team but, if we win, then maybe I might find there are not too many people on hand to change my tyres at the pit stop….!”

        This is why the Tifosi love this guy.

    3. Pman says:

      Not really. Alonso could have started in from of Hamilton but not Vetel. Hw was significantly faster. Hopefulyl RB’s race pace is slower than their quali pace. Otherwise expect 2011 all over again.

  3. Gudien says:

    Great to see talent emerge on pole postion for the Canadian Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Vettel has something to prove to himself after last season’s mistake and he has started off the weekend with perfection.

    It’s that time of the season where the best drivers and teams begin to separate themselves from the lesser competitors.

  4. Crusty says:

    After the yawn the was Monaco, lets hope for some real action here!!!!!

  5. AlexD says:

    Red Bull doesn’t seem to have a legal car, again. When will they need to modify the wheel hubs?

    1. Matt says:

      They already did change it

  6. F1racer says:

    What the heck? Mercedes always seems to screw up Schumacher in every opportunity this year..

    1. chris says:

      It really is getting very tedious. They seem intent on cocking up every race for him. It’s starting to look a bit weird. They did after all promise him a trouble free weekend, but have already admitted that they ” miss managed ” his last qualifying run.
      He’s looked extremely committed all through practise – such a shame.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Not quite the Mercedes advantage everyone thought they’d have around this “Mercedes” track.

        All comments all week long have been about Mercedes this, Lotus that.

        I think you’re starting to see the big teams starting to out-develop the others.

      2. Soumya Banerjee says:

        I agree,i’ve never paid any attention to the conspiracy theorists,but if(im praying that it doesnt happen) his car breaks down tomorrow again,i think i will toe the line of those who believe Mercedes is out to wreck Schumacher’s comeback.

      3. someone says:

        A trouble free weekend, scheduled for 2013 I suppose?

        It’s not starting to look a bit weird, it’s looking like there’s a few guys passing a “Who’s gonna ruin him this day” card around in the factory making jokes about revenge for Hill and Villeneuve.

    2. madmax says:

      It gets to the GP again and you wonder what Mercedes are going to do this time to mess up his weekend.

  7. Hahnsolo says:

    I am fuming over the incompetence from Mercedes towards Schumacher. He had a personal best Sector 1 time and would have easily made it to P3-P5. This is the sort of stuff conspiracy theories are made of, serioulsy! All season long.
    Happy for Lewis though, and good to see Massa pulling up his socks for the second time in a row

    1. tank says:

      There’s more than just one fan fuming over Merc’s fumbles. So, Jock Clear is Schumacher’s engineer, right? hmmm.

      1. James says:

        Yes and anyone who has read James Allens book on Schumacher will know what jock clear thinks of schumi!! It’s a disgrace how he’s been treated this season it’s not a coincidence.

  8. Richard says:

    Times combined from drivers’ best sectors:

    Vettel 01:13.783
    Alonso 01:13.892
    Hamilton 01:14.087
    Webber 01:14.240
    Massa 01:14.345
    Rosberg 01:14.407

    Meanwhile Alonso fastest lap set on second run.

    1. James Clayton says:

      You know these figures are fanciful, right? It could be that overdriving and loosing time in sector 1 means that they may have taken more speed into sector 2 on a lap where they had done sector 1 ‘properly’ (for example).

    2. JW says:

      These times are interesting. You can see a nice break down of sector times vs. speed here:

      http://www.cloudstat.org/index.php?do=/psychemedia/blog/f1-qualifying/

      It looks like the Ferrari and Red Bull are getting lots more traction on the slow, twisty section on sector 1 and then they are both also much faster than Hamilton in sector 3 (the long, fast straights).

      However, I remember reading somewhere (probably on here) that the Red Bull DRS is much better at losing drag, which would perhaps indicate a faster qualifying speed but not necessarily in the race.

      Any thoughts?

    3. Vinoo says:

      Schumi was a 01:14.3 as well

  9. Richard Hoyland says:

    James,

    Where are Red Bull finding their pace from around this so called bogey track of theirs? Christian Horner said sector 3 was their weakest sector but it doesn’t seem like that to me. I thought the Red Bull was known for being slow in a straight line but they seemed competitive if not faster than Macca and Ferrari.

    1. Martin says:

      Gear ratios are certainly one option. If you spend 2/3 of the straight accelerating more quickly to a lower top speed, the last bit at a lower speed might not lose much. The Red Bulls were hitting 316 km/h. The fastest were the Saubers at 324.8 km/h. This difference comes to 2.4 m/s, so in the extreme case, if we were to assume that the Red Bulls were on the rev limit for 4 seconds, and the Saubers caught them at this point, the effective distance lost would be 10 m. Which comes to 0.1 seconds lost over 350 metres of straight. On the earlier part of the straight the Red Bulls were probably gaining that time and more. If you recall Monza last year, Vettel passed Alonso using better acceleration as he was geared to about 15 km/h less in top speed and that benefitted acceleration all the way up until the extra aerodynamic drag from increased downforce really hurt, probably at more than 300 km/h. Even in 1st and 2nd gear corners that downforce will aid corner speed and traction too.

      More wing would allow later braking and faster speed through the hairpin and the final chicane. But it could mean that Red Bull are vulnerable in terms of being unable to pass a car even with DRS as the car in front might be able to defend just with KERS. If the Red Bull is the fastest race car but it is behind other cars then it might struggle to pass on top speed, so Seb and Mark might make passes in unusual places.

    2. They’ve always had a strong DRS, and this year they aren’t throwing away horsepower by blowing their diffuser. The latter has especially brought the field closer together, and Vettel is really good at putting that one stellar lap in.

      Also, while sector three is mostly straight-line, you do have the final chicane, and without seeing the telemetry, Vettel might just be absolutely on fire through there, which could more than make up for any lost straight-line speed.

    3. Bring Back Murray says:

      “Where are Red Bull finding their pace from around this so called bogey track of theirs”

      The name’s Newey, Adrian Newey…

      Any more knowledgable F1 fans than myself able to comment on how come Sebastian is getting far more out of the new and improved Red Bull than Webber is? Is it just that Seb’s mentality has improved and found some confidence with the new car? Has Newey found some more front grip that has happened to benefit Seb’s driving style more than Webbers?

    4. Dave C says:

      Actually if you look at the speed trap speed Vettel is the slowest whilst Hamilton is near the fastest, it’s probably due to Seb’s better line and faster cornering speed through the cicane that makes the difference.

  10. Richard says:

    Vettel was quickest today because the set up and characteristics of his car allowed the tyres to hit their optimum operating temperature more easily than others. That’s why these tyres are so ridiculous as it not necessarily about who is the quickest driver or the quickest car. The tyres are so sensitive to set up and temperature that it does make the whole thing a bit of a lottery.

    1. One lunger says:

      Not to mention anytime RB tries to update their car they can’t because everyone else cries foul!

    2. ida says:

      Could you elaborate on these car differences that allowed Vettel to get his tyres to work ‘easier’ than his rivals? Could you also give an example or explain how you got to these conclusions? It sounds like you have totally dismissed Vettels input and skill to get himself in pole position and if your consistent, then by argument your also dismissing the other drivers who have not gotten the maximum out of their car or self due to your ‘Pirelli Factor’. Im sure many F1 fans would love to know who should have been on pole today…..if they were driving go carts. Just a thought and i must stress i dont know the answer to this……is it possible that Vettel went for a set up to be optimal for qualifying and say Alonso and Lewis decided to compromise their outright pace and focus on the race? Hence, Vettel seems to have a superior working tyre temp, gets pole and we can all blame Pirelli for our favourite drivers consistent ability to not get the best out of them. What i cant understand is how you dont realise that you post above is full of F1 contradictions. Saying Pirelli is making things not about whos quickest but who has the best car is laughable because thats what F1 is and has always been. Damon Hill 1996 and Jenson Button 2009 spring to mind. Claiming ‘set up and characteristics’ of a Red Bull, McLaren or Ferrari is the sole reason for a drivers performance is equally laughable considering in Monaco, Vettel made a set up change that cost him pace in qualy and his team mate got pole….proving driver input can make or break a weekend. It seems Pirelli is the reason for drivers your not a fan of getting a good result and the reason drivers you like on getting the result they were capable of. At some point you have to admit that there is a chance someone other than you could be closer to the truth.

    3. No, it’s actually because all of the cars are so close. In Q2, the top 16 were within a second. From 5th to 13th is less than 0.3 s. 7th to 11th is less than a tenth. One screwed up corner and suddenly you’re in 14th and cut from Q3.

      It’s only because the cars are all so close that if you lose a tenth or two due to sub-optimal tire temperature, you’re done. Kimi was a tenth behind Grosjean, but five places back. That’s not due to a tire lottery.

      It’s not like last year, where you could look at results by position alone; now you have to take times into account. Q2 was stunningly close, so to call it a lottery shows a lack of understanding of what the current state of competitiveness we’re seeing in the field this year.

  11. Rob Newman says:

    It was a fantastic performance by the current world champion. Didn’t make any mistakes and delivered a perfect lap. In my opinion the Ferraris are the fastest car on the grid but the drivers made mistakes and cracked under pressure.

    Not sure if temperature was the real problem for Hamilton. Button’s strategy to start on the soft tyre is interesting. Everyone will be looking at his lap times tomorrow to make their pit stop strategies.

    Great performance by the Caterham drivers and de la Rosa.

    I hope Schumacher and Kimi will have a better day on Sunday.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I would agree that I think Ferrari have the fastest race car on the grid, but not qualifying.
      I can’t speak for Massa, but the one question mark I have regarding Alonso has always been his qualifying.

      Qualifying is the one area that has never been his strong suit, but race pace is breath-taking.

      Cracking under pressure is Maldonado hitting the wall at the end of Q2.
      Not missing out on pole by 3/10ths of a second.

    2. …but Kimi was only a tenth behind his teammate… however, that put him five spots back and knocked him out of Q3!

    3. tony says:

      agree on great lap by vettle
      but not sure your reading the ferrari correctly
      there not the fastes car yet so they need to push that much more
      and cracking under pressure
      did you not see massa dig deep to pull it out to get into q3
      he was not in q3 with 2 mins to go and just scraped in and wentt 7th quickest
      that is not cracking under
      that pushing and digging in deep
      maclaren are the fastes cars with RB and Mercedes then ferrari

    4. OldIron says:

      It was a bit rough at the hairpin (also maybe a bit conservative at the last corner, but no doubt he’d realised it just needed to be kept tidy by then). Still quick enough by a comfortable margin though.

      ALOs combined best sector times were still slower (albeit good for 2nd), and HAMs lap looked clean, so chances are that is the real pecking order – for qualifying pace, anyway.

  12. Jesper says:

    Is the strategy calculator in any way recursively updated to reflect the estimated performance gap between the prime and the option?
    The Canada simulator seems to suggest the option tyre is far superior, but in extension of Ross Brawn’s comments during Q2 (that the prime was potentially just as fast as the option once properly warmed) it does not appear to be representative.

    1. James Allen says:

      Don’t forget that the gap between them is different for the race from a single flying lap. It’s not currently updated after quali

      1. Timo says:

        James, wanted to reiterate that the strategy calculator factors in a pit loss time of 18-19 seconds, whereas it should be 11.2 seconds. Also, is there tyre deg at all for these tyres in Canada? Or, will we see zero deg until tyres wear out and lap times drop? Thanks.

  13. Lawrence says:

    James, I am curious about Michael Schumacher’s potential today. According to one website he crossed the line indicating the end of the lap for qualifying 0.04 sec after the session had ended, so he was not able to complete his ‘final qualifying’ lap. Was he on target for pole or was he at least on target for a better grid position than ninth?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure he was, but the plan was to prepare the tyres for the second lap

      1. Vinoo says:

        Ross said he just did his best first sector on the aborted lap..and Schumi said maybe he could go for pole . but he could have matched his time from Q2 at the very least..which means he would be up at P5 or P6. Disappointing to say the least…on the other hand..i think the higher temperatures affected their performance…which is why they couldnt challenge for pole…

      2. someone says:

        German media reported that the plan was to do two timed laps, the latter being the one to make it count. Schumacher was cited to state that pole would have been impossible, but a way better grid position would have been pretty sure.

  14. Irish con says:

    What’s the straight line speeds does anyone know. Particularly want to know about Ferrari and Red Bull as they have struggled with that this year.

    1. Martin says:

      In pure peak speeds, the Red Bulls are at the bottom of hte list.

      http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2012/870/7142/speed_trap.html

      That doesn’t tell you anything about the time spent on the straight, as a faster exit and faster acceleration through lower gear ratios can mean that a car with a lower top speed still gains time on a straight. However, that strategy can negate simple DRS passing opportunities.

      Cheers,
      Martin

    2. Marcus in Canada says:

      Don’t have the numbers, but on the BBC coverage DC said that RBR was the fastest in sector 3 which should indicate high top speed, and that RBR were generally one of the higher top speed cars this year, as opposed to previous years.

    3. Glennb says:

      Qualifying Speedtrap (overall rating)
      KK 324.8 (1)
      LH 322.2 (8)
      JB 322.0(11)
      FM 320.0 (15)
      FA 320.0 (16)
      MS 317.0 (21)
      NR 316.9 (22)
      SV 316.0 (23)
      MW 316.0 (24)

      http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2012/870/7142/speed_trap.html

  15. olderguysrule says:

    Hey James, I read on the web that the bulls have a off throttle sound of the old blown diffusers on the slow corners this weekend. Has anyone else heard anything like that?

    1. caringforapathy says:

      Yup. I am actually at the grand prix this weekend, sitting at turns 6 & 7, and thought they sounded like it too. Funny you should mention it.

    2. Phil R says:

      In FP2 yesterday there were definitely some interesting noises coming from them going into the hairpin at the end of the lap.

      The McLaren and Force India had that to a lesser extent as well.

    3. David Selway-Hoskins says:

      I immediately noticed this off-throttle noise on slow corners at Albert Park, and at some of the televised races since then and wondered if Red Bull had found a tricky way of still blowing the diffuser.
      On another tack, the wheel hole issue seems absolute BS – surely if the FIA ok’s a car then it is legal – full stop.

    4. Glennb says:

      Yep. In Australia. My mate was standing on a corner and recorded the RB’s on his blackberry. It definately sounded like last years off throttle sound.

    5. AndyC_F1 says:

      Darren heath commented he was pretty sure it sounded just like the tones heard last year.

      Will be interesting to see what they’ve created..

      1. olderguysrule says:

        hey everybody, thanx for the answers. wish I was at the race with some of you this weekend

  16. Colin says:

    I agree with you F1racer. I honestly think Mercedes do not deserve Michael Schumacher. I would really like to see him go back to ferrari.

  17. Tom in adelaide says:

    Can’t see myself waking up at 3am in the middle of winter to watch a Vettel pole to flag cruise…….

    1. Mike J says:

      ..but it could end up like last year. I don’t think this year has stopped yet in throwing up surprises.

      I have a feeling that Alonso and Hamilton have good race setup. Hopefully Webber hasn’t lost that start setup from Monaco and will make an early rise worthwhile as well.

    2. spyke says:

      Ah come on Tom I stayed up for your race. Scott in Canada

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Only if Hamilton holds up Alonso.

    4. Shane Stobie says:

      Well i’ll be doing the early wake up for the race. I highly doubt it will be just as simple as Vettel running away with it. Plus I’d hate to miss it if it turned out to be an awesome race, just look at last years race!

    5. ronmon says:

      Now you know what it’s like for people in our part of the world to get up a 2AM to watch the boring opener in Australia. Every time I hear about your local politicians whining about the cost of the race I keep hoping they will lose it.

    6. Michael says:

      I feel the same way. I didn’t think anybody was going to get into the 1’13s. That’s a big gap between him and Lewis.

    7. Simple says:

      I don’t think he will mate! My alarm is set ;)

    8. Hey man, better toughen up! I’ve watched so many races in your area of the world at ungodly hours! The entire Euro season is a string of 8am starts… It’s only fair that we westerners get a few afternoon races too!

    9. JC says:

      Seconded.

    10. Dave C says:

      Why? Because when everything is staid quo, Webber doesn’t stand a chance!?

    11. Aussie Fan says:

      Why not? it is a public holiday tomorrow in Australia after all… I say its the perfect time to stay up late & watch some Canadian F1 action!

    12. Jim Dee says:

      You mean Sunday afternoon mid summer.

    13. Trixie says:

      I will be! It’s a Queen’s birthday long weekend after all. With high probability of Safety car in Canada, I am expecting the unexpected…eg. Kimi’s Lotus having a “normal” weekend!

    14. Rachel in Adelaide says:

      ditto

    15. banianichi says:

      same thinking. If alonso cant get past LH quickly then Seb will run and hide… Could be a tyre management snorefest

    16. Bobby says:

      Agree with Tom in Adelaide. Whenever Vettel’s on pole it’s a push-over for him – with anyone else the result is still up for debate but not with Vettel. He’s a really nice chap but I find it soul-crushing whenever he’s on pole ’cause it spells boredom on Sunday. I pray Alonso or Hamilton can get him off the start.

    17. pargo says:

      I’ll be getting up. Like to see what Alonso, Webber and Kimi can do. Plus my 8 month old usually has a screaming session around 3am, so I’ll be awake anyway.

    18. Craig D says:

      The harshness of living in Australua ha! :)

    19. nino says:

      It won’t happens.

    20. JoshMelb says:

      C’mon man, it’s Canada! Anything can happen.

  18. FerrariFan says:

    James,
    I said it before in the post when you asked who will be the first to win a second time this year and I say it again, it will be Vettel. I want Alonso or Hamilton to win, but I suspect Vettel will be the runaway winner. I also suspect Red bull has sorted out the car and Vettel will have qualifying pace and run away with the drivers title.

    1. FerrariFan says:

      I was wrong! but extremely happy Hamilton won.

  19. Rishi says:

    Maybe Pastor thought, having been the GP2 champion, that it was high time he got close and personal with the Wall of Champions! Though I suspect Williams will not agree.

    Shout out loud for Pedro de la Rosa – beating both Marussia cars today. He’s been showing Narain Karthikeyan a clean pair of heels all season as well…before the season you’d have expected that one to ebb and flow; Narain’s driving flair cancelling out de la Rosa’s methodical approach!

  20. Methusalem says:

    I suspect, that the Bulls are doing it again with an illegal car. Now, they have something different and new for each circuit — it will be legal until it’s illegal, by then they have gatherd enough points to snatch the next championship. It’s a shame!

  21. stephen says:

    Getting pretty disgraceful RE: schumacher & merc. They are really not getting better in any way are they.

    Wonder what will it be this weekend. The will crazy frenchman ram him off again, will a wheel fall off, will the engine explode, will a bird hit the car, will the wing fly to the usa mid race…all may happen.

    Getting pretty tiresome for us, and i imagine moreso for schumacher.

  22. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I have tickets for the tyre bingo… I mean for the race tomorrow!

    Maybe we have now to get used to the fight between the 5 frontrunner drivers again, the difference is Rosberg took the place of Multiyear Button.

    2nd for Hamilton would be wonderful in the circunstances of the team.

    Go!

  23. SP says:

    Take a look at this:

    http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2012/870/7142/speed_trap.html

    Both RBR cars at the bottom of the speedtrap classification. I’m sure they’ll be very keen to break the DRS and even the toe in the early stages of the race (until DRS is enabled). The RBR seems closely geared as usual, so it should sprint away well to get ahead.

    Tyres will play a key role as will the safety car if there is one.

    Watch out for Alonso at the start. I expect him to be in P2 after turn one and maybe pressuring Vettel too.

    Looking forward to this one :)

  24. Rob Blasdel says:

    Note from Red Bull to Mr. Whiting prior to Spa 2012:

    Charlie, our cars seem to be a little sluggish lately. Could you please find some more parts for us to remove?

  25. Nqrio says:

    “It’s all about the car.” They say…
    But look at the top 3.
    “vettel is the quickest now” Michael said
    “Lewis is desperate to win” Whitmarst said
    “ALO…”
    Amazing season.

  26. The Crappest says:

    Unfortunately the time zone difference was a killer for me so I am trying to try and find somewhere I can watch Qualifying online as OneHD in Australia aren’t showing it again (they just showed the original from 2:30am to 4:30am).

    From what I have read, everyone seems to think it might be a bit of a “business as usual” type race if Vettel can get a bit of a gap before DRS is activated. Lets hope not.

    I am a bit disappointed in the Lotus’, I was hoping for better things from them. I really would have like to see either of the boys get up for the win to give us 7/7 winners, but they seem to have lost a bit of the momentum they started the season with.

    Hamilton is my main hope to give us 7/7 and he due for a win and is definitely a threat if he (and hit pit crew) can have a clean race.

    In relation to Hamilton / Alonso getting past Vettel, I am not sure this is going to happen… It is all good to be quick on a hot lap, but in race conditions with the #1 driver allowed to make blocking moves and dirty air and no DRS, I just can’t see it happening… unless Vettel makes a mistake.

    Good to see Massa find a bit of form. The updates Ferrari have brought to the car really seem to have benefited him most in terms of improvements in results.

    James, no mention of Mark in your re-cap but a very respectable 4th. Hopefully he will have another good start, but I reckon Rosberg will get him as the Mercedes have been quick off the line.

    All in all, I’m looking forward to another great race!

  27. Michael S says:

    Vettel is amazing… I have run out of great things to say about this kid. When he needs that extra thousandth of a second he can dig down and get it like the greats…

    Ferrari, RB and Merc all look very equal… Could be an epic battle for the title

  28. Mercedes Fan says:

    What a shame for Michael today. I am trying to be objective but still I can’t explain why almost every time when there’s a problem or ‘accidents’ related to Mercedes, you don’t actually have to ask who it is but it’s mostly Michael.

  29. Anand says:

    Q1: Vettel @P1 posted a 1:14:6***
    P16 posted a 1:15:6*** (Although Vettel on Harder compound and P16 on softer compound), but on the time screen looked incredibly close.

    Q3: Vettel really pulled his magic and raised the genius Hamilton’s eyebrows as well. Easily one of Vettel’s best Q performance, atleast this year. Doesn’t look good for Hamilton/Alonso for the WDC if Vettel is in such form and has the genius of Newey and cunningness of Horner behind him.

  30. James Clayton says:

    So whoever leads into the first corner (my money is on Vettel or Alonso, but I’d love it to be Hamilton) will be able to cruise around in clean air, while the others behind them will chew up their tyres and fall behind the leader following each other.

    The only chance of an interesting race is if the car that gets into the lead is fundamentally slower than those behind them, so they have the chance of using strategy to get past.

  31. Paul says:

    Again the driver times/positions on the left hand side of the screen were not present for Q2 and Q3. James do you know if this is deliberate or is it a technical failure.

  32. Trespasser says:

    Ok, does anyone still believe that McLaren has the fastest car? Red Bull and Ferrari are the fastest now for sure. Ferrari updated and modified the car really well. Just look at Massa.
    It will interesting to see the strategies unfold. If I am not wrong, Vettel has used his aloted tyres better than Alonso and Lewis, he ran fewer laps.
    I was really surprised to see McLaren go out on the Super Softs in Q1, with both cars!

  33. Glennb says:

    I think I speak for the entire forum when I say how good it was to see the finger back after qualifying :)

  34. Fabrice says:

    Allo any body home? what’s happening to Jenson Buttom?this is getting really silly. I mean if this are the sign of things to come, well I guess McLaren will kicking themselves for giving him a multiple years contract.

  35. AndyC_F1 says:

    Interesting quali yesterday. I had thought it was potentially a shootout for pole between Lewis and fernando.

    Seb just seems to be able to find something extra in quali, much like Alo and ham, just the ability to make the car dance.

  36. Crusty says:

    James, a burning question please. Seven races in we have a team that started the season with great potential and a top driver. Yesterday they sent him out in q2 with hydraulic failure, they don’t seem determined to fix a steering issue.
    They seem a little too keen to promote their No2 driver. They badly need a race strategist.
    Have Lotus blown it??

  37. Matt W says:

    James, did you happen to see the Indycar this weekend. It became apparent that they really have their act together when it comes to deciding penalties. They were able to issue major penalties within 2 oval laps of the incident (so within about 1-2 mins). They didn’t go through the F1 farce of changing the result after the race and the penalties they served were totally correct without controversy. F1 could really learn a lot from looking at the Indycar series again.

    Does F1 actively look at what works in other series? For the first time in quite a while I think the Indycar series is actually more pure than F1.

  38. tank says:

    Sadly, I’m preparing to see Schumacher bungled out by Grojean et al. at the start, due to his lowly grid position.

    Very disappointed in Mercedes, and not for the first time. More like the 20th time.

  39. CartRider says:

    Comparisons show just how well Felipe is doing right now although he’s lost all qualifyings this year to his Alonso. In Canada, he lost to his teammate less than in other top teams – just .3 secs, while in Merc the difference is .4, in Red Bull – over .5, in McLaren – over a sec!

  40. Richard says:

    I suspect Alonso will win as McLaren’s race and starting performance has not been good so I think Alonso will take Hamilton at the start, but Vettel will be a tougher nut to crack, because his car is working best with the tyres, but as the Ferrari is a bit kinder on the tyres Alonso may find he can do the same to Vettel as he did to Hamilton in the last race if he does not push Vettel too much.

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