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Vettel on pole for Canadian Grand Prix, but Ferraris threaten
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Vettel on pole for Canadian Grand Prix, but Ferraris threaten
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jun 2011   |  7:27 pm GMT  |  119 comments

Sebastian Vettel took his sixth pole in seven races and the 21st of his career at the Canadian Grand Prix.

It was a close session with the Ferraris looking very competitive with Alonso and Massa right on Vettel’s tail. Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull having lost the morning practice session to a KERS problem and it was not overcome before qualifying. So for him to be only 4/10ths off Vettel’s pace which is probably slightly less than KERS is worth, is a positive outcome for the Australian.

The McLarens were not as competitive as expected with Lewis Hamilton fifth, not able to live with the Red Bulls and Ferraris. But they may well prove more formidable in the race, as rivals suspect they may have gone towards a set up which will work in the wet. Hamilton said afterwards that his 7th gear was too long for the headwind, but this may help him tomorrow when following another on the DRS zone; it will be an advantage in the tow.

Alonso set a lap of 1m 13.8s on the soft Pirelli tyres and if he had managed to get the one second gain from the supersoft which others managed, he would have been on pole.

But his pace on the soft indicates that Ferrari will be able to fight for the win tomorrow. Ferrari has a new rear suspension here among other updates and has definitely taken a step forward.

Alonso, who had asked the team to react after being off the pace in the early races, confirmed that it felt like the strongest weekend of the season so far for Ferrari and that he feels he can compete for the win.

“The car felt competitive from yesterday and today,” he added. “It is a good feeling being back to the top positions, close to fighting for pole, and having Felipe in the top three too is a nice team result.”

But he added a note of caution about the weather,

“The forecast is rain and we’ve never run all together in wet conditions,” he said. “So maybe tomorrow it will be the first time with the new Pirelli wet tyres. McLaren look like they are running with a lot of downforce so they will be quick in the rain tomorrow.”

Vettel has been under a lot of pressure in the last two races and he expects a stern challenge from the Ferraris tomorrow, but the chance of rain will make things unpredictable.

Jaime Alguersuari once again took the drop along with the new teams in Q1, as he did in Monaco. The pressure is starting to build on the young Spaniard now, with Red Bull’s new protege Daniel Ricciardo doing the Friday sessions and clearly being prepared for F1 next year. Given Toro Rosso’s track record it’s not inconceivable that they might give the Australian a race weekend in the second half of the season to try him out. I asked him about it on Friday and he said that the programme was just Friday mornings for this year, but if Alguersuari carries on like this, they may feel the need to push things forward.

Jerome D’Ambrosio was outside the 107% cut off time, while HRT’s Tonio Liuzzi outqualified Timo Glock in the Virgin for the first time this year.

In the midfield battle for the outer reaches of the top ten, Renault had the edge over Force India for whom Paul Di Resta was again faster than Adrian Sutil. The German was faster in sectors one and two but lost time in sector three. That’s now six times in seven races that Di Resta has been faster.

Williams had a raft of new parts here this weekend including an updated blown diffuser but it wasn’t enough to get them on terms with Renault and Force India. Super sub Pedro de la Rosa, standing in for Sergio Perez, managed to qualify 17th, three tenths down on Kobayashi which is very good in a car he’d never driven after only one and a half practice sessions.

Pastor Maldonado outqualified Rubens Barrichello for the third race in a row, this time by three tenths of a second and four positions.

At Ferrari Massa was really pressuring Alonso, faster in Q2, but the Spaniard edged him out in Q3. Alonso ended up only a tenth and a half off Vettel. Nevertheless it was the best qualifying result of the season for Ferrari.

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m13.014s
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m13.199s + 0.185
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m13.217s + 0.203
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m13.429s + 0.415
5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m13.565s + 0.551
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.814s + 0.800
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m13.838s + 0.824
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m13.864s + 0.850
9. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m14.062s + 1.048
10. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m14.085s + 1.071

11. Paul di Resta Force India 1m14.752s + 1.321
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m15.043s + 1.612
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m15.285s + 1.854
14. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m15.287s + 1.856
15. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m15.334s + 1.903
16. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m15.361s + 1.930
17. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber 1m15.587s + 2.156

18. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m16.294s + 2.472
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m16.745s + 2.923
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m16.786s + 2.964
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m18.424s + 4.602
22. Timo Glock Virgin 1m18.537s + 4.715
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m18.574s + 4.752
24. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m19.414s + 5.592

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There you are......JB won. Didn't matter that he was 7th on the grid, five pitstops & a drive-through,coming back from 22nd.

Only in Boy's Own!


Don't pre-judge it!


I see your point, but you fail to see a different point. It aslo alows the drivers behind the leader in points to catch up faster if they start winning because the points gap between 1st and 2nd is greater. How far behind was Alonso last year? And he still had a chance to win it at the end.

The problem is not the points system, the problem is RB being miles fater than the other teams.


Looks like a heavy storm expected during the race.


On Mclaren strategy woes:

I'm becoming more and more disgruntled with Mclaren strategy as this season unfolds.

They have repeatedly compromised themselves by being too smart for their own good it seems.

Race strategy this year is largely about being adaptive but Mclaren haven't grasped this.

Instead it appears that Mclaren rely almost entirely on a pre-ordained, theoretically fastest race strategy which their simualtor work, computer models and revered brainiacs establish early in the weekend.

The only time they deviate from this is when forced to, for example in China where Hamilton could only remain in contention by switching to a four stop strategy. The result? A race win for Hamilton.

Button seems to have been on the receiving end of the bad strategy decisions more often than Hamilton so far this season. Monaco was the best example yet.

Track position is king at Monaco and everyone knows this yet they kept Button on a 3-stop strategy despite having jumped Vettel for the lead at the first stop and pulled out a large gap to him.

Monaco was also a good example of Mclaren laying too much onus on their drivers to make strategies work when the odds are stacked heavily against them.

How can Button - or any F1 driver for that matter - be expected to cleanly overtake two top drivers in very fast cars for the lead at the toughest overtaking circuit on the calendar?

Are Mclaren scaring themselves into thinking the only way to beat Red Bull is to employ this kind of high risk approach?

It is becoming increasingly obvious that this is the case.

Whitmarsh has apparently now confirmed that Mclaren chose to gamble on a wet race set up in Canada despite what the drivers previously said.

Hamilton has also commented on the cars gearing being wrong today, following a 180 degree switch in wind direction down the straights, well in advance of the start of qualifying.

Mclaren can't afford to continue like this in my opinion. What do others think about this?


Makes a smal difference, part of a tenth. So yes, Australia 2010, Korea 2010, Japan 2010 could all have easily gone the other way, and hence more points for Mark and less for Seb.

BUT, this year it was been tech problems and a bit of the tyres. Today for example, with braking for a chicane, then straight, then hard brake then straight KERS would be very effective. Making around 4 tenths of a second or possibly more.

If Webber had KERS as Vettel did then Webber would have been on pole instead of 4th.


He completely missed the apex at the hairpin in his pole lap.


Why is Webber's 'bad luck?' happening on tracks where he is better?

track - 2010 - problem/no problem

Australia - very close - problem

Malaysia - Webber poled - problem

China - Webber looked to win until rain - problem

Turkey -

wait screw that, Webber has always had car problems.

Good to see that he, if he had KERS would have either been on pole himself or exceptionally close to the vunderkid fingure boy


Hoping for a dry race as I would love to see what Ferrari can do in normal conditions vs Red Bull.... and to see how the Mclarens get on with their set-up 😛 BUT, I've just Googled 'Montreal weather forecast' and more or less sums it up. It will rain, some sites said occasional light rain. So it may not be heavy enough to give an advantage to those drivers with a wet set-up??? Reminds me of Alonso at Spa last year, he opted for a wet set-up and come the rain, he wasnt exactly lighting up those time charts.

Another thing to point out, looking at the speed traps, the Mclarens arent THAT much slower than the Ferraris and Red Bulls on the back straight. According to the figures on its something like 5kph :s

Qualifying between Vettel and the Ferraris was great to watch. I think Alonso had pole in him and the car but he lost about 2-3 tenths in the middle sector, on both Massa and Vettel. But having said that, Vettel also had a slight lock-up at the hairpin. Would have been interesting if all 3 got a clean and near perfect lap.

Finally, since Spain Alonso has been flying off that line. If its a dry start he should be able to challenge for P1. Only thing is, its a short run down to turn one so his advantage may not be so great. Worked on Button in Monaco though 😉


Hi James

think I missed something,,

will this race be just run on softs and super softs? If that's correct then doesn't it put Ferrari at an advantage (or it eliminates their weakness) as we saw

they struggled on the harder compound previously.


Whilst watching the quali yesterday I noticed that on the final straight, when activating the DRS, the gap between the 2 wing panes (sorry if terminology is wrong) is so much smaller on the macs than other cars.

Is this because the Macs always run a less aggressive DRS system or due to their high downforce set up for this track?

With much of the track high-speed straights, and the massive effect of the DRS here, especially in qualifying, added to the fact there are 2 activation zones, this seems absolutely the wrong way to go.

Please correct me if I have mis-read this.


I think the reason Vettel nails it on qualifying is because of his surgical driving skills. We hardly see him smoking the tyres and takes precision racing line through corners. It's ironic that seb managed to tuck in behind mark at the spanish quali without kers. Mark should have been P2 in Canada, if he really pushed or may be his body weight compared to seb is the issue. I think it is 64kg(seb) Vs 75kg(Mark).

I can only watch F1 on star sports here in India. Commentators are Steve Slater & Gary Anderson. Gary commented that a driver with less weight still needs to meet weight regulations but they can place the ballast wherever they want. Imagine placing 11kg at the nose of seb's car, it would definitely reduce under-steer.In other words more flickable. I think this solves the mystery of performance gap between Mark & Seb.



Do you think Massa would have pipped Alonso had he kept to the right of the track passing the line after the final chicane? (Which is what Alonso did)



I think everyone who has an unbiased opinion on F1 and sport in general are a bit surprised and shocked that Hamilton isn't on pole position, but I am pretty sure it is going to be wet for the race, according to the BBC Weather site. I get the feeling Hamilton is going to put on a spectacular performance in wet conditions and win the race, while I think Vettel is due to have a very tough race.

On Alguersuari, he is under tremendous pressure to the success of Red Bull's Driver Development Program. He is not only under pressure from Ricciardo, but he is also under pressure from Vergne. Webber's decision over whether he should stay or go will help determine the future's of Buemi, Alguersuari, Ricciardo and Vergne for next year.


Parc Ferme conditions need to be looked at it's a bit of a farce when the same team is repeatedly fixing the same issue.


After Schumacher retired, they changed the points system to give the victor of races more of a points advantage.

This was supposedly to encourage people to go for the win, increasing overtaking etc, to make races more interesting right to the final lap. But it seems as though it's now having the opposite effect - drivers are going for consistency because they can't afford a DNF. The excitement is now being delivered by the DRS and the new tyres.

And now because Vettel is winning all the races, the championship is once again going to be over well in advance of the last race.

So - change to the points system for 2012, anyone?


It seems obvious that the others should have followed suit and gone for a rain set up right?

The hour-by-hour forecast says showers all day long in Montreal.


Go Daniel Ricciardo.


What happened to Nico's practice pace ? He was looking like a threat even for pole. That pace dissapeared today.


Hi james. A little off topic,could you shed some light on the situation at williams,is rubens on the way out and if so who would they go for next year? p.s great site


McLaren have gambled based on a weather forecast predicting that there is a 60% chance of rain. That's a lot of faith in that extra 10% because if it had been a 50% chance of rain logic would dictate that since it's just as likely to stay dry as it is to rain you should work with the fastest set-up.

But because a weather forecaster (since when are they reliable) has stated 60% rather than 50% McLaren deliberately compromised their qualifying set-up which was the one area they were publicly stating they wish to IMPROVE ON.

They had no need to take this gamble. They were more or less matching Red Bull on race pace in recent races, and on this circuit in particular, especially with Lewis, there is no reason to assume they would not have at least matched them again.

The only reason they haven't done better recently is down to poor qualifying, not race pace.

Therefore they should have done everything in their power to get Jenson or Lewis at least on the front row.

Instead they have seemingly deliberately denied their drivers the opportunity of getting to the front of the grid because of what MIGHT happen. Not good enough I'm afraid.


Hopefully it rains tomorrow. Should spice things up.

I've nothing against Vettel or Red Bull but it's about time someone else won a race. My money is on Lewis to win I reckon the car is better in race trim.

Should be a cracker!


Regarding Rosberg vs Schumacher.

I hope and pray that the gap between them forever stays as it was today, (+/- 0.1s, that is).

Although I am sort of beginning to understand the situation and now fully agree with Ross Brawn on his analysis of Schumacher (referring to an Autosport interview at the end of last season),

"Michael is very fast on the quick corners, even faster that Nico. It is on the long, slow and simple 1st, 2nd gear corners where Nico is making up all the time."

And all the data so far points out to this, it proves Ross Brawn's analysis. I would consider these slow kind of corners to be all those 1st, 2nd gear sweeping turns on most of the Tilke based tracks, such as in China, Malaysia, and the 4th turn in Turkey? and the difference in lap times has shown in all of these circuits, significantly.

But at all the other 'traditional' circuits, Spa, Suzuka, Catalunya, as well as street circuits such as Monaco, Singapore, Melbourne and Montreal, the lap times have been DEAD equal.

I think all the issues regarding tires, etc are all secondary considerations now. Alain Prost was right, after all. I think its just got to do with the age, and the loss of a level of reflexes that comes with it. Oh we're talking in milliseconds of nerve/muscle reaction times, and goodness sake, in formula one it is ALL about milliseconds.

So I am going to keep a copy of my post here, and if it proves to be the case in Germany, Spa, Suzuka, etc again by the end of the year, and their times are within +/- 0.1s, then it would give me a great feeling of elation and relief.

The greatest satisfaction comes when the scientific theory is proved by consistent data to back it up. So I hope, fingers crossed, that Ross Brawn, Alain Prost and myself are proved to be correct!

Bless you James!!

Please kindly ask Martin Brundle and DC to be a bit kinder to old man Schumi if you can, please?? Or else, please kindly ask Schumacher to stop dying his hair anymore, so that people can see his grey hair and be easy on him.

Thanks!! 🙂


Any word on whats wrong with Hamiltons car, as he said in the BBC interview after the race?


I can't understand why Sauber went and brokered a deal for McLaren's reserve driver when their own reserve driver was only a 4-hour flight away. Gutierrez claims he was never even notified, that he read about it on Twitter. Something funny is going on here...


No kers again for Webber doesn't bode well for the start, hopefully not another handful of places lost off the line!!! Come on RB please get it sorted. How can a leading team have the same problem lingering after 7 races?


I think that every fan gets that sensation at the start.. its crazy!!! Never been so in love with any other sport.



Hamilton was quoted after qualifying as saying:-

"We had a little bit of a bad news earlier on about something on the car. That will undoubtedly hamper our race pace."

Any idea what this is referring to?


james can you explain why whitmarsh eluded to mclaren using more of a wet set up, but hamilton and button both played it down or is it just there too slow?


Anyone else see Lewis weaving and kicking up dust in front of Jenson on Jenson's final run?

I'm not sure what he was up to, I've never seen anyone else do that this year before heading into the pits...I only hope it wasn't something sinister like trying to distract\slow down his teammate.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone read\saw what it was all about.


button won 6 of the first 7 in 2009. australia, malaysia, bahrain, spain, monaco and turkey.


Hi James, why didn't Sauber use Esteban Gutierrez? Just like de la Rosa they have his seat mould and everything he needs? McLaren has said that they have given Pedro the heads up already mid-week. Why didn't Sauber just get Gutierrez ready??´I mean he was still in Mexico!? I thought he was the "Reserve" driver?


Jenson said after the race he wasn't running a wet set-up but said the car would be good in the wet and the dry.

Surely the McLarens wouldn't have been that far behind on a dry set-up. What does Jenson gain from lying about it? That's why I'm starting to think that they are that far behind...strange.


No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, how can this be Urgh! Am fed up, am totally fed up of seeing Vettel grab pole, enough already.

So no, congratulations go out to Vettel, this is immoral & worse still the whole Red Bull outfit have this false modesty thing going on in their press conferences.

Anyway since no driver has won six of the first seven races (not even the great daddy Schumi did it) am so looking forward to tomorrow to see how Vettel will lose it, beginning in Canada the form book is about to get turned on it's head Hehee.

Now, what's wrong with these Mclaren strategists??? Why do they always try to be too clever & look they have now put our brave lads on a wet setup when any true F1 fan knows it won't rain tomorrow (it never does) besides how come Mclaren are the only team to go for the full wet setup - They need a knock on the head.

Anyway the Canadian win belongs to none other than baby Massa, that's right - You read right.

Alonso has the Prost curse all over his back, Vettel has just run out of luck, Webber has never won in North American & last Hamilton won it last year so that only leaves Massa to save the day.

Anyway since the Canadian Grand Prix 2010, was an out & out classic (leading five drivers in the WDC fighting for the win), I can't possibly see how Canada 2011 can top that, so am afraid of a let down. We shall see.

Well done to Paul Di Resta, Kobayashi & oh Pedro De La Rosa LOL some things never change

Alright, I will see you all petrolheads on track tomorrow. Peace!


Does anyone else shiver literally + heart pounding out their chest when the cars are lining up at the start Hahaa. Happy days


Respect de la Rosa!! Having never set foot in the Sauber gets 17th just 2/10th's behind Kamui! Awesome. When he had a regular seat he didn't do much better. Best that Sauber surprise him more often. Perhaps then he would do better in F1. Best of luck to you Pedro, keep your eyes on the road and not on the DRS, KERS and Radio button! 😉


It's Montreal so ... "Allez les Rouges!"


Is it just me or was Alonso block (car a bit ahead of him) when he posted one of the fastest sector times. I think he had the pole if it wasn't for that.


A bit surprising how much paced Ferrari seems to have gained while McLaren appears to be struggling a bit. As you said, perhaps the order will be reset with actual race pace.

Btw, I saw the early Audi crash at Le Mans and found it ironic that it was Allan McNish who was driving the Audi. This is the same McNish was on the steward's panel for the Monaco GP that handed out 2 penalties to Hamilton for unsafe passes. McNish's attempted pass was rather ambitious and optimistic and perhaps unnecessary given it was only 1 hour into a 24 hour race. LeMans is about endurance, not passing, something McNish is well aware of given he's won the race a few times. I wonder now if he would have any second thoughts about the penalties given to Hamilton.

It's hard to understand why McNish was trying to make such an ambitious pass so early in the race. Worse yet, even if he gotten past the Ferrari, there were 2 slower blue cars right ahead in his same line, and he would have run right into the back of them given his acceleration.


Is Maccca really running a wet setup? They were curiously down on speed. Or perhaps a race setup as opposed to a qualifying setup since grid position isn't as important as it used to be.

Sometimes young athletes like footballers come back from summer vacation having moved up another level in their game. I have the same feeling about Vettel this year. Remember, he's still very young. He's definitely giving the impression that his driving has gone up another gear higher. He was always fast but this year, he's dominant. It isn't just the car - see how much behind Webber is this year compared to last. SV just seems to be able to put in a fast lap whenever he wants to. Reminds me of Jim Clark and Senna.

Vettel's higher level I think is even bringing out the best in Alonso. Massa seems to have overcome his confidence problems and I expect him to be pushing Nando more. Good for Ferrari. Their drivers need to be at the top of their game since their cars started out on the back foot.

Meanwhile, it's tough to be in Lewis' position. SV and FA are driving better than ever and he's probably feeling that his team is holding him back.

These 3 drivers are really the story of this year. Perhaps, di Resta will be joining them next year if he gets Schumi's seat and Merc gets their act together. I think Rosberg is in the Button mold - the best of the rest - but not quite the same level as Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton. Kubica (if he can come back), and Di Resta seem to be the only candidates to break into the top rank.


Mark webber was 4th due to a KERS issue in practice???

He had NO KERS at all during the whole of qualifying .. And to be only 4/10ths off pole at a circuit where KERS is so vital is an incredible performance!!!

With the oft quoted .5 of a second being attributed to KERs that would have put him on pole!!!


I was very surprised to see Ferrari up there, but for Vettel to lock up and miss the apex of the hairpin and still get pole suggests that Red Bull are very superior and also suggests to me that Vettel may be driving well, but the real magic comes from his car.

What is promising is that that Ferrari are so close in qualifying, while their real strength is in race pace. With 2 DRS zones, Alonso has a good chance of the victory.

I hear that after qualifying finished, rain drops fell in Montreal. That should ensure the dirty side of the grid isn't a disadvantage on Sunday. James, who would you predict for the win tomorrow?


Am I the only one to think that, despite all the talk about pay drivers, this year's rookies are a very strong bunch? Or is it that the stablished drivers are struggling with the Pirellis?

Also James, could you find out more about the power steering issues that are affecting Jarno? I am a bit puzzled that he's been complaining about it all year and still there's been no improvement in the area coming from Lotus...


I have a bad feeling about McClaren's gamble, as Mark Hughes wrote recently on the bbc F1 website McClaren seem to go for aggressive and fortuitous race strategies.


McLaren gamble -if indeed they gambled- will work only if it rains during the race.

If the race starts on a wet track, all the teams will be able to tweak their set-up and given RBR natural downforce advantage plus Vettel pole position, I hardly see anyone challenge him. So McLaren will prey for the rain to fall after the start.

If it is dry, Alonso will be a huge threat to Vettel. He is even favourite for the win given Ferrari much better form in race trim.

The bigger picture


Vettel form on a circuit far from matching their strenghts show how a good car this year RBR is and that is a big blow to anyone's championship aspirations.

Unless Ferrari decides to challenge McLaren for 2nd spot till the end, teams will soon start to think about 2012. The gap to Renault & Mercedes is pretty comfortable and even increasing... So pretty soon resources will start shifting.


Tough times for Lewis if it doesn't rain - the spectre of Ferrari catching up and surpassing Mclaren and Vettel steadily adding to his stats with yet another pole..... Should be interesting to see how he responds off the back of his Monaco weekend.

Good to see Massa pushing Alonso in qualie.


Great qualifying session.

Think Alonso or Hamilton are most likely to win if Vettel has the slightest of problems tomorrow.

If it's a very changeable race then any of the top 7 will be in with a big shout.

Shame about Kobayashi, but unsurprisingly he was still the most entertaining with that power-slide into the last corner. racer.


Good points, I'm inclined to agree with this.

Tyre life and performance does seem to be somewhat of a lottery this year though.

Even Pirelli struggle to make accurate predictions on the number of stops at each race track and they make the tyres!


Hi, can you explain more about why Red Bull have more performance in qualifying please? Do you think they could be using the blown diffuser to generate more downforce in qualifying and then backing it off for the race in order to reduce tyre wear?


Thanks. Very interesting


You missed my point - the new points system only works if there isn't one driver winning all the races. If there's one driver winning all the races, as we have now, the current points system gives him an even bigger advantage.

The gap to Hamilton is something like 58 points already - hence, it's all going to be over well before the final race. Unless Vettel starts 'stuffing it in the wall' in the races instead of just in practise. Can't see that happening though.

Grayzee (Australia)

Nope! The current points system is great. You can pick any points system you like, and vettel will still be leading by a mile. The simple fact is: he's won 6 of 7. No points system will change that!

Remember last year: 5 drivers all able to win it on the last race.


I do not see how that solves anything. When Vettel/Schumacher/whomever is winning all the races no points system can change the outcome, unless you want to award negative points to the winner perchance ?


Why is everyone so sure this is going to hurt RB more then others?

I don't think the Blown Diffuser is the magic ingredient to their success. They have a whole package, a lot of which is now copied by it's main rivals. So what effect it does have will surely be the same for the others.??

Happy to be corrected, but i've seen no evidence. Just people living in hope.


It's the burning of fuel on the overrun with massively-retarded timing that's the main problem. It doesn't fit in with the current climate of fuel-efficiency.

Secondly, these developments are massively expensive to perfect which is also against the spirit. It makes no sense to limit engine development, standardise electronics and restrict engine availability and then let the teams that can afford it go mad playing with their exhaust gasses.

If these developments were allowed to continue and cars continued to get faster and faster, at some point they'd then have to bring in other rules to limit speeds. They always have to otherwise the cars' performance would exceed the ability of the circuits to keep the sport relatively safe.


Luckily for Webber he's shown no sign of doing that this year-so his Kers should ALWAYS be working 😉


If you watch the McNish Le Mans incident, it's clear that the overtaken Porsche turns in on the Audi and clips its rear end. It's was the classic 'pit manoeuvre' -- I think they call it -- much loved by American cops. Being near the limit of adhesion in a corner, McNish immediately became a passenger.

There's a huge speed and experience differential at Le Mans.




How many FIA race bans for not divulging the details?


Echoes of Monza last year......when they brought a barn door for a rear wing. Mclaren were supposed to be targetting this race and they bring too much downforce as their Montreal race wonder they are talking about a wet race set up. They don't have any other option. Still, rain might still save them yet!


I too noticed that. FM consistently took the 'higher' outside line and, given the tiny final gap, it probably made the difference. He also seemed to ruin his first run to get out of the way of Schumacher just before beginning his own fast lap. He does not look sharp enough regardless of car/tyre improvement.


Webber, your KERS will stop working if you look like challenging for pole, do you understand?


Also by looking at their rear wing - their flap is huge compared to their rivals.


One race out of six is pretty poor stats if you ask me.

Decision making at Mclaren is awful. Probably the most frustrating team to support.


Hi James,

My understanding of China was that the leading teams had an improbably Plan A of three stops if the tyre wear was better than expected and Plan B was the safer, theoretically slower 4 stops.

By lap 10 Lewis had worn out his tyres enough to on a 4-stopper, so this wasn't really a variation from the original plan.

Vettel, without fully functioning KERS, was trying to get track position and hence went for Plan A, even though the first stop timing was Plan B. With KERS fully working then it is likely Vettel would have still been clear at the end.

Apart from the first stint, which to me was poor having been passed by Vettel and Massa, Lewis drove an excellent race, and to me it was this that made the result along with the KERS problems, not McLaren's strategy. As Ross Brawn has demonstrated with Ferrari and Mercedes, when you have a performance advantage, strategy is relatively easy.





P.S. I meant to say that Hamilton switched to a three stop strategy rather than four stops in my previous post above.


I'm not surprised neither shocked, Vettel on pole is what everyone expected.


No. We're not


But in the interview Lewis mentioned the seventh gear issue, then later mentioned something else that would hamper his pace, then when Lee Mckenzie asked him what it was he wouldnt tell her the problem?


James, what’s wrong with having a long 7th gear?


Well, PDR had a miracle escape yesterday after gently kissing the wall. Looked awesome from the in board camera shots. Hope he can get a good race to the finish today ...


No answer, came the reply.


On Vettel pole: I know—I watched the pole lap, saw that and thought, ...[mod], he might've set a time on 1:12s.

At least, it's looking like Ferrari are on target to be competitive by Silverstone.


Nonsense for journos. Why should he discuss stategy with journalists between quali. & the race?

He'd be an idiot to make it public. Some journos are rather naive.


havn't u heard! it is fixed, but only on 1 car!!


your special one managed to grab just one or two podiums after those six wins. specialty isn't it?


Massa bouncing back in this fashion after horrendous weekend in Monaca is really surprising. didn't expect that


Nationality 🙂

Plus speed in F3 is directly correlates to speed in F1 cars, as we saw with Jan Magnussen (a F3 record to make Senna look just better than average).


Blown diffusers sound so good in slow corners, dont know why FIA want to ban them. I understand off-throttle diffuser ban is fine but generally blowing exhaust gases through the diffuser is not fuel wastage is it? i think FIA is doing this on the influence of Ferrari and Mclaren to hamper RBR next season.


Very interesting. Looks quite right.

Looking forward to check your theory. I'm also in my 40s!! Lol


You've got me thinking about driving. If Schumi is equal or better than to Rosberg in high speed corners, does that suggest that quick corners are all about commitment and technique, as the time in the corners is too short for corrections? Is it only the slower speed stuff that the driver's reaction are relevant as an early reaction allows the driver to get closer to perfect? Given that Fangio won his first world championship at 40, were the '50s cars too slow for reaction times to be an issue, and it was technique that mattered?

As Malcolm Strachan was writing on James' Ferrari 458 experience, this is really about the short period of time around getting off the brakes, getting the apex right and getting on the throttle. For long single apex corners, e.g Spain, the car tends to dominate, but turn 8 in Turkey is four apexes with time to plan and react.


Pros: overtaking speed when in lipstream

Cons: slower acceleration

It might be the right decission. I sure didn't hear Button complaining. .


MIdnight here in Montreal now and no rain, but it's very windy out


Mark Webber does not have the same car as Vettel, nor is he treated the same way, even blind freddy can see that.

Mark in the same chassis and equal treatment would smoke Vettel in a race, that is why this weekend Mark has no KERS....yet again. Can't have him stealing pole like he did a couple of weeks ago.


Di resta better than rosberg ? May i ask on what basis?


To borrow a line from Avatar, Red Bull are just pissing on Mark without even giving him the courtesy of calling it rain.


Would of put him on the front row most likely he said that himself. The Red Bull KERS isn't worth 0.5 second a lap.


Well, it is obviously not half a second on every track. Maybe James knows how much the engineers reckon it is worth in Canada.

But I agree that it was a great effort from Mark and that the article should have mentioned that he did not have KERS during qualifying.


"Mano de dios" that's what Maradonna said. I don't know what Ali G would've said.

But as you both pointed out, at least 2 guys would have died had the car decided to fall towards the wrong side. It was like a coin flipping around itself undecided on which side to sit.

That was definite proof of how unsafe is the circuit, not only for the drivers but mainly for people working around. Its length and the mixing of cars with such different speeds doesn't help either sometimes with Gentlemen drivers at the wheel doesn't help either.


Am I criticizing McNish anymore that Hamilton has been criticized for Monaco? Perhaps I should have made the point - event though I didn't think it was necessary - that what it shows is that it's easy to judge a driver going for a pass from the rather sterile environment of TV replays, even when the person doing the judging is another driver. As Coulthard pointed out after Monaco, it's much different for the driver in the heat of the moment, deciding in a faction of time, to go for a pass. Their perspective from inside the car is entirely different literally than ours. I am sure that McNish believed he could have made the pass, otherwise why would he have gone for it? Just as Hamilton believed he could have made those passes.

Now having said that, McNish's situation is still different than Hamilton's. There is little opportunity to pass in Monaco and so it's understandable that someone of Hamilton's nature would try to force the issue. Not only are there limited opportunities there is also limited time.

In contrast there are an abundance of passing opportunities in Le Mans. There really was no urgency for McNish to attempt the pass when he did. More over, he was passing a lesser car, which meant he had even more time to do so. The first hour of 24 hours hadn't even been completed. By any measure it was an unnecessary attempt at that particular time.

The point stands. Hamilton received the penalties in Monaco because McNish thought he was deserving. Shouldn't one then expect McNish to demonstrate the very judgment he thought Hamilton was lacking?


@Steven King Jenson is special. End of. Don't forget that


@Kyle Aah so you too have the shakes before the start - Cool. How I wish we could watch races together maybe we would comfort each other with xoxoxo


@Lol Oh thanks & yes I will try & enjoy the race while Lol-ing more so if our Vettel could pay the ''Wall of Chumps'' another visit!


@Galapago555 Tsk, tell me, don't you think it's wrong & breaks the natural laws of the Universe that we have one team & worse still one driver on pole at every race so far this year?

What happened to fair play & letting others have their day in the sun!

This is the same sort of wicked behaviour that can be seen in bankers & CEOs

Maybe it's time you had your moral compass examined.


immoral?? Get a grip.


seriosly? come on

the man is fast, they all are. If you want equal cars watch NASCAR


In response to your question, most certainly yes.


"& oh Pedro De La Rosa LOL some things never change..."

What an insightful and elegant comment.

Some comment leavers never change.


Button won six out of the first seven in '09.


Cool down, relax, enjoy the show.

Vettel will win btw, lol.


Please, I would really appreciate a more detailed explanation on why you find it's "immoral" that RBR grabs the pole?

I admit that I'm fed up with this guy waving his finger, I find it disgusting, but... "immoral"?


I think McLaren will have good pace for the race and Hamilton will usually maximise any overtaking opportunity. I think he'll be part of the leading pack.


Hi Kyle,

Increasing downforce on a balanced car will increase tyre wear, not decrease it. Ideas that the car will slide less with high downforce are illogical as the car will be slower down the straights, so the car has to be faster in the corners to be competitive.

Even when a car is not sliding, anytime the car it turning it will wear its tyres. This is due to the contact area of the tyres being rotated as the car turns, dragging rubber across bitumen. Cars with greater downforce impart a greater force through the tyres even when going around a corner at the same speed as a car with downforce. Just as with a grinder or sandpaper, the greater the force the greater the wear.

The greater downforce will give an advantage in traction zones, but the driver's right foot is more important here.

As the cars are running non-zero toe-in at the front and rear, there is also wear when travelling in a straight line.

The fact that downforce leads to increased tyre wear is one of the keys to why Red Bull's performance advantage is greater in qualifying than the race.

There are other factors, such as car balance and understanding of the tyres, that can make a difference with tyres, as we saw with the relatively low downforce Ferrari struggling with the hard tyres in Spain.




He was on his second hot-lap, must of aborted and went into the pits after he made a mistake.


saw that myself but i just assumed he was off the racing line letting some1 else infront of him past. cant imagine it was to ruin buttons lap.


I believe he was passing a lower category car, which is quite normal. It was just a racing incident and something that happens in multi category racing from time to time...his LMP1 Audi was far quicker than the GT car he was passing. Closing speeds are a big deal...

Glad no one was hurt.


It's not surprising remember the last two races have been the two softest compound tyres. Lets see where Ferrari, especially Massa, are when they've to use the harder compounds.


You critisize McNish for being ambitious in overtaking yet find it ironic he gave penalties to Hamilton's pathetic attempts at overtaking?


I also saw the replay of McNish's crash. It was spectacular.

I wonder if those people standing around there realize just how close they came to sudden death.

That car just sort of hung there in the air right over the armco, spinning madly, before it came down on the track side of the barrier. But it was soooo close to going on over and into the people.


I'm sure McNish will be taking your advice.


It certainly was a spectacular crash.

Glad to see that McNish and the people in the vicinity of the crash came out of it ok.

The way the car hung in the air instead of crashing into the people behind the tyre barrier was incredible and no matter how many times I watch the replay, I still can't fathom how it turned out this way.

It was an extremely lucky outcome to what was a potentially catastrophic incident.


He probably knows that it might be his last race in F1, so I suppose he wants to go out on a high.


I figure that Hamilton is almost completely out of contention for even a podium tomorrow if the race turns out to be dry.

Same goes for his teammate unfortunately.

The only way I can picture either Mclaren driver contending for a podium in a dry race tomorrow is if their higher downforce setup allows them to significantly extend tyre life and performance.

This may offer them the opportunity to make one stop less and leapfrog past their key rivals during the pitstop phase.

Straight line speed is compromised so Hamilton and Button will probably be sitting ducks on the long straights for the Mercedes drivers and Webber.


Straight line speed shows the McLaren is running more downforce. It's a fact.


Well they got it very right in China


He's a kid and Montreal is not a place to throw someone in for their debut, lined with walls, it's asking for trouble


Same here..

If Williams or TR or Force India went for a wet setup in Quali, I could understand that.. They would reap huge rewards if it paid off.. But McLaren Gambles do not seem to make any sense except maybe to addicted gamblers..I would have expected McLaren to go with normal Setup "Horner.. Its the same for everyone else approach" like all top teams and hope the drivers make the difference if it rains.. and if it did not rain, no harm done. McLaren get more bizarre as the season progresses.


A lot could change after this race when blown diffusers are outlawed.


what Jens said :


Asked if he had opted for a wet setup for the race as team principal Martin Whitmarsh suggested ahead of qualifying, Button responded: "Nope, not specifically. Formula One cars these days, you don't setup specifically for wet conditions because we're so used to it raining during a race that we have an optimised setup that will work in every condition."

is Jens serious or is it nonsense for Journos ?

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