Vettel on pole for Canadian Grand Prix
Scuderia Ferrari
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.

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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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.


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!


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.


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.


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??


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.


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


“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


Amazing season.


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?


Take a look at this:

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 🙂

Tornillo Amarillo

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.



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.


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!


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!



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.


I was wrong! but extremely happy Hamilton won.

Tom in adelaide

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


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


It won’t happens.


The harshness of living in Australua ha! 🙂


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.


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.


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

Rachel in Adelaide



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!


You mean Sunday afternoon mid summer.


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!


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




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!


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


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.


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.


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!


Only if Hamilton holds up Alonso.


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


..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.


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.

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