The Canadian Grand Prix, ninth stage of the F1 2022 World Championship, will be held on Sunday, June 19, at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal for the first time since 2019. Over the last two seasons, the Grand Prix was cancelled due to the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 the race was initially postponed from its original calendar date, but later it was cancelled as the Federation was forced to cancel all overseas stages due to the health emergency, without replacing them. In 2021 the Grand Prix was cancelled for the second consecutive season, again due to the pandemic, making it one of the few Grand Prix to be cancelled for two consecutive seasons. In this case it was replaced by another Grand Prix, that of Turkey. The Canadian Grand Prix is held on an entirely city circuit and the contract to keep it on the calendar of the World Championship in the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is valid until 2031. This year the sponsor of the race is, for the first time, AWS, a US company owned by the Amazon group. 340.000 spectators are expected for the weekend, the highest figure in the history of the Grand Prix. Present in the calendar of the Formula 1 World Championship since 1967 and valid as proof of the category since the same year, the Canadian Grand Prix has reached its fifty-seventh edition. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, location of the race since 1978, is the track with the highest number of editions disputed (40), on different configurations, and the most recent is in use since the 2002 Championship. In the past, the Canadian Grand Prix took place also in two other locations: Mosport Park, which hosted the race for eight editions between 1967 and 1977, and the Mont-Tremblant circuit, location of only two editions, in 1968 and 1970.
The Grand Prix was not disputed three times: in 1975, because the manufacturers did not find an agreement with the organizers for the reimbursement of expenses; in 1987, due to a dispute between two local sponsors; and in 2009, in addition to the last two most recent ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For this race weekend, Pirelli chooses the softer compounds in the range, the same choices done for Montreal 2019 and for the last two races on the 2022 calendar (Monaco and Azerbaijan). In other words, on track we will have C3 as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow medium and C5 as P Zero Red soft. In 2019, the winning strategy was the one-stop, starting on mediums and finishing on hards. The circuit of Montreal has some elements in common with that of Baku, such as a focus on traction and braking and a road surface that evolves rapidly but features lower speeds and cooler temperatures. The weather has often played an important role in the Canadian Grand Prix: the race held in 2011 holds the record for the longest one in the history of Formula 1, due to the six Safety Cars periods and a long interruption that blocked the event for several hours. As a conclusion, we can say that it is never easy to predict the weather conditions and there is always a reasonable chance of rain. The Canadian Grand Prix this year represents a milestone for several riders. For the Dutch reigning World Champion Max Verstappen this is the 150th Grand Prix in Formula 1, while for the local Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, this is the first home race. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Haas’ Mick Schumacher, and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, the only rookie in this Championship, run here for the first time. None of these drivers has raced on this track in the minor categories, although Latifi did here his debut in the first free practice session on Friday in the 2019 edition, always for Williams.
From a technical point of view, the Federation confirms the three DRS zones in use since 2018, when the World Motoring Body decided to increase the sections where the mobile device could be used (in the past, from 2011 to 2017, there were only two DRS areas). Drivers can activate the rear movable wing on the main straight and on the Casino straight, with a single point of determination of the gap between the drivers, located after Turn 9, and between Turns 7 and 8. A new additional section has been introduced later, with a point for determining the gap between drivers placed after Turn 5. Compared to the last edition of the race, ran in 2019, the circuit has been subject to several changes. The drainage system inside the pit lane has been replaced; the pit lane entrance and the exit lane have been resurfaced while the pit lane wall has been improved. Line 1 of the Safety Car is now closer to the pit entrance while line 2 Car has been moved further down towards the exit of Turn 2 and the white line of entrance to the pits has been shortened. The starting platform and the photographers' platform have been replaced and an additional access gate has been added between the pit lane and the starting straight. The concrete carpet installed on the right at Turn 9 has been removed and replaced with asphalt, all curbs and bumps have been sandblasted to their original surface to remove the significant layer of accumulated paint and the guard rail on the left, under the overpass bridge before Turn 8, has been replaced. An additional debris fence has been built and installed on the right wall between Turns 10 and 11 to create an additional protection for the marshals working in this position. The angle of the concrete wall, approaching Turn 13 on the right, has been modified to avoid the impact with the curb in the event of an accident.
The Federation imposes the following indications on the drivers when they cut a chicane: In the 9th and 14th corners, if a driver passes to the left of the orange curb, he must keep to the left of the bollard and the orange pole at the exit of the curve, and rejoin the track at the end of the asphalted escape route. For safety reasons, teams are allowed to close their garages inside the pit lane on Thursdays and Fridays due to weather conditions. On Wednesday, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari use respectively the second and first of the eight curfews granted during the season to carry out operations on their cars. The two teams do not receive penalties. Before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, the teams are allowed to leave the tires wrapped in electric blankets and heated to a maximum temperature of 30 °C for the whole night, in order to minimize any problems related to the cold temperatures. The third unit relating to the internal combustion engine has been installed in Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen’s cars. The third turbocharger unit has been installed on Ocon and Magnussen's car. The third unit relating to the MGU-H has been installed on Leclerc, Ocon and Magnussen’s cars. The third unit relating to the MGU-K has been installed on Leclerc and Ocon’s cars. The second unit relating to the electronic control unit has been installed on Leclerc, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi’s cars. The third unit relating to the exhaust system has been installed on Ocon's car, and the fourth unit on Magnussen's car. All drivers are not penalized on the starting grid as the new components installed are among those usable in the maximum number established by the technical regulations.
The fourth unit relating to the internal combustion engine, the turbocharger, the MGU-H and the MGU-K have been installed on Yuki Tsunoda’s car. The Japanese driver is forced to start from the back of the grid as the first four new components installed exceed those that can be used in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The technical changes of the track had also repercussions on the sporting regulations, which have also been modified. For example, the queue in the pit lane was the subject of a regulatory change; the stewards were given the right to modify, if necessary, the rule that establishes the correct formation of the queue in the pit lane after the action carried out by the Haas drivers, Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen, during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. All the drivers at risk of elimination have booked in line to be able to exit in the launch lap, including Schumacher and Magnussen. Both, having left their box at the end of the lane, however, entered the cars already in the queue, theoretically violating the article 34.8 of the sporting regulations. The race management did not proceed with a sanction against them as the situation was identical to that which involved Williams in the first edition of the Mexico City Grand Prix in 2021, where no further measures were taken. One of the biggest problems of this new era of F1 is the hopping of the cars, the most striking manifestation of which was the back pain reported by Hamilton, who was almost unable to get off the car at the end of the Baku GP. The Federation has launched an investigation to study how dangerous the hopping of the cars on the straight can be for the drivers, not only for the safety on track, but also for their bodies.
The jolts were particularly pronounced on the long straight of the circuit in the previous Azerbaijan Grand Prix, causing more than one concern for the drivers, in particular for the British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who suffered from severe back pain caused by jumping. His presence at the Canadian race was initially questioned, but later the driver himself confirmed it. In the race’s eve, the Federation decides to issue a technical directive which explains that in the interest of safety it is necessary to intervene to ask the teams to make the necessary changes to reduce or eliminate this phenomenon of hopping. In detail, the world motoring body has decided to intervene on some points, such as a more careful control of the car bottom and the definition of a metric, based on the vertical acceleration of the car, which provides a quantitative limit for the acceptable level of vertical oscillations. A meeting between the FIA and the teams has also been announced. During this Grand Prix, the Federation will collect the data, during the third free practice session on Saturday, without applying penalties given the short time left available to the teams. After the episodes occurred in Baku, in particular when the Spanish Alpine driver, Fernando Alonso, towards the end of Q1, took an escape route by triggering the yellow flags thus ruining the lap of those who followed him because he was forced to raise the foot, many drivers said they were in favor of the idea of introducing penalties for those who cause a yellow or red flag in qualifying. The maneuver of which Alonso was suspected may be subject to potential sanctions already during this Grand Prix, being included in the race director's notes or in the regular Friday briefing.
For this Grand Prix the FIA appoints the Portuguese Eduardo Freitas as race director, while the former Formula 1 driver Emanuele Pirro is appointed as assistant commissioner. During a motor sport career spanning 40 years, Pirro has achieved a huge amount of success, most notably in sportscar racing, with five Le Mans wins, victory at the Daytona 24 Hours and two wins at the Sebring 12 Hours. In addition, the Italian driver has won the German and Italian Touring Car Championships (the latter twice) and has twice been American Le Mans Series Champion. He ran in F1 from 1989 to 1991, firstly with Benetton and then for Scuderia Italia. His debut as an FIA Steward came at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and he has returned regularly since then. Between the race directors we also find Dr. Gerd Ennser, member of the DMSB'S executive committee for automobile sport, Formula 1 and DTM steward. Dr Ennser has successfully combined his formal education in law with his passion for motor racing. Since 2006 he has been a permanent steward at every round of Germany's DTM championship and since 2010 he has also been a Formula 1 steward. Dr Ennser, who has worked as a judge, a prosecutor and in the legal department of an automotive-industry company, has also acted as a member of the steering committee of German motor sport body, the DMSB, since spring 2010, where he is responsible for automobile sport. In addition, Dr. Ennser is a board member of the South Bavaria Section of ADAC, Germany's biggest auto club. It is the British car manufacturer Aston Martin, as in the previous race, to supply the Safety Car and the Medical Car.
Additionally, Richard Norbury is the Permanent Chairman of Stewards for the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Permanent Steward for the GT World Challenge series. He has acted as FIA Steward and Observer for FIA Historic race championships, as well as working regularly as National Steward at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix and FIA World and European Karting events. He is a Permanent Steward to the British Touring Car Championship. He sits on the Board of Directors of Motorsport UK and is Chairman of both their Rules Committee and Judicial Committee. He is also a member of the body's Motor Sports Council and sits on its National Court. Finally, there is Marcel Demers, first involved in motor racing as an organizer and official in the karting community of the Quebec region. He stepped up to become a member of its sanctioning body, as Director of the Karting Committee and eventually as President of the Federation Auto-Quebec and member of the ASN Canada advisory board. He held the position of National Chief Steward for the Honda / Michelin Series and acted as National Steward for the Sherbrooke Ice Race Challenge from 2000 to 2009. From 2003 to 2019, he filled multiple roles at the FIA Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix from Secretary of the event and Clerk of the Course for support races to Deputy Clerk of the Course. As usual, in pre-race days, several teams issue statements to analyze the previous races, the mistakes made and the possible results of this Grand Prix. At McLaren, Lando Norris says he is ready to return to the Canadian circuit for the second time, hoping to obtain a positive result:
"I'm excited to be heading back to Canada. It will be my second time racing there so it'll be great to get back on track in front of the Canadian fans. The 2019 race certainly didn't end the way I wanted it to, so I'm looking forward to getting back on track and giving it my all. I've done my prep on the sim and I feel up for the challenge in these new cars. Baku was difficult with the windy conditions, but it was important to get a double points finish for the team. We still have some work to do to get further up the grid, but I'm confident we will get there, and we have a great team of people working at track and back at the factory to continually push us forward. Let's keep looking ahead and hopefully grab some more points this weekend".
Daniel Ricciardo enthusiastically remembers his first victory in Montreal in 2014:
"All of my favorite races seem to start with M, Melbourne, Monaco, Monza and, obviously, Montreal. I'm buzzing to be going back to Canada after a couple of years. Montreal is a great city and there's always a brilliant atmosphere so I'm looking forward to soaking that all up and using it to keep pushing forward on track - it's always a fun one. I got my first win there back in 2014, so hopefully I can use some of that Canadian magic to get some more points for the team this time round. It was great to get back in the points in Baku after a tough few races. It was a difficult one, but the hard work and determination clearly paid off and I'm going to use this momentum we have going heading into part two of this double header. I'm excited".
Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, says that is enthusiastic about returning to Canada after two years of absence:
"We're looking forward to going back to Canada after a two-year hiatus. The track is a favorite of lots of the drivers and it will be great to see the Canadian fans again, we felt an incredible amount of support there in 2019. It will be interesting to see how our cars perform on the track. It's a fast circuit with a few chicanes and the infamous wall of champions, all of which allows for some good overtaking opportunities and hopefully an exciting race. It's important for the team to stay focused as we head into the second half of a double header so let's keep pushing".
In Aston Martin, Lance Stroll does not hide the thrill of being able to finally run in front of the home crowd:
"Obviously I am super excited to be back in front of a home crowd and racing in Canada again! It is a shame we haven't been to Montreal for the past couple of years, so there will be lots of work and preparation to get our car ready for the first practice sessions. As a team, we have made solid progress so far this season, so hopefully we can achieve a good result in front of my home crowd".
Sebastian Vettel says he really appreciates the Canadian circuit and the possibilities offered by the track layout:
"It is always nice to come back to a circuit after a couple of years away, as it makes for a bit of an extra challenge to find a nice rhythm around the track. But it's definitely going to be worth the wait - the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a fantastic track, and a great venue for racing. The team has learned a lot from the past few races and the car is feeling better every week, so it will be good to see how everything translates in Montreal".
Pierre Gasly does not hide the enthusiasm of the excellent journey made by the team in the latest races:
"I went back home from Baku with Max and, as he won the race, it was a pretty entertaining flight! I was extremely happy with our Baku weekend - P6 on the grid, P5 in the race. It was a perfect weekend, with great strategy and pit stops, an excellent start and good speed. I was very happy for the whole team, as we had not enjoyed much luck in recent races. It was tough, but we stuck together and kept working and it finally paid off. I feel we have kicked off our season properly now. Canada is another street circuit and I think that this year, the Montreal circuit will be really challenging, especially with these new cars that are very stiff, much more so than their predecessors. The big kerbs and the high speeds will be a real test as will the final corner and the famous Wall of Champions! We will have to avoid the kerbs a lot more, whereas in the past you needed to ride over them to do a quick lap. Although it ' s another street circuit like the last two races, it ' s a much faster layout with quicker corners. On paper that suggests it might be a bit more complicated for our car, so it means we must make sure we arrive fully prepared and are able to get everything out of the package we have. Operationally, the team must be on top of its game if we want to get the results the car is capable of delivering, as we saw in Baku".
Yuki Tsunoda is not of the same mind, because unfortunately the results in Baku were not as he expected. However, the Japanese driver does not let himself be put down and at the microphone analyzes the points of the track where he can try to give everything:
"Although my race result in Baku with no points is very disappointing, I think we can approach the Canadian weekend with optimism after a really strong showing in Azerbaijan, where we were on the pace all weekend. It was our best team Qualifying and at least Pierre scored good points for fifth, but it was very frustrating that I lost what looked like being a sixth -place finish because of the rear wing problem. So, I am feeling very motivated to continue making progress this week. After Monaco and Baku, Montreal is another unusual circuit, with generally low grip and high-speed corners, so that like in Baku , we will be running medium-low downforce to get good straight line speed. I have only experienced it on the simulator but it looks interesting. Actually, it's a circuit I have used a lot when playing the Formula 1 game, so I had a reasonably good idea of what to expect before driving it on the sim. We'll see after FP1. It has a mix of medium and slow-speed corners, as well as fast chicanes. I have never been to Canada before and I've been told Montreal is a fun city, so I'm looking forward to my first visit and to discover what it's like on and off the track".
Toto Wolff speaks again of the hopping problems, that seems to hit mainly the Mercedes, affecting the performances, the results and the health of drivers themselves:
"Baku was a tricky weekend for us, particularly with the bouncing issues, but we really maximized the opportunities that came our way and left Azerbaijan with a solid collection of points. We benefited from the misfortune of others, but reliability is an important factor in Formula One and there's no shortage of hard work at Brackley and Brixworth behind getting both cars to the finish line. We once again found ourselves clear of the midfield in terms of pace, but a chunk behind the top two teams . working flat out to close that gap. But with an underperforming package, I loved seeing the fight in the team to pull together and get us the best result possible with the tools at hand. That spirit will bring us back competing at the front. Having not been to Montreal since 2019, we're all excited to return. It's a wonderful city and the Canadian fans are very passionate about F1. The track is a unique challenge, with chicanes separated by long straights. We're looking forwar d to seeing what the weekend has in store and hope we can take a step forward".
At Alpine, Esteban Ocon says that the best opportunities this weekend will be on the straights, the fastest points on the circuit:
"First of all, it is great to come back to Canada. It feels like it's been a while and I know it's one of the more popular races on the calendar. The track in Montreal has slow chicanes and fast straights, and we've shown to be fast in a straight line, so hopefully that should help us this weekend. The aim will be to have a smooth weekend, go through our program without any issues, show our pace in Qualifying, and score some good points on Sunday. I am already looking forward to getting in the car again".
Fernando Alonso also talks about the hopping of the single-seaters and how this phenomenon makes every race’s result completely unpredictable:
"It was a decent result for us to finish seventh in Baku. I feel like we maximized our car and the opportunities presented to us by the retirements of other cars. We still need to better understand our car and why we are experiencing differences from Friday through to Sunday. Our car is quite good at managing the bouncing effect of this year's cars. I didn't feel it too much in Baku and we were more focused on managing tire degradation, especially of the rear tires . It's going to be different at each circuit, for example in Jeddah it was very smooth, and Australia as well, and nobody said anything there. It's going to be very difficult for all of the teams to agree on change".
In Williams, Nicholas Latifi claims:
"I'm super excited to finally be heading to Canada for my first home race! Getting the opportunity to compete at home and seeing all the Canadian fans will be a great feeling. It's another track with long straights, which we seem competitive on.However, some corners may not be particularly well suited to our car, based off my previous experience from FP1 sessions, so that might balance us out a little bit. With it being a double-header, we've got the chance to put Baku behind us and immediately use what we've learned to make the most out of this weekend".
Alex Albon continues:
"Canada is a cool circuit and it's great to come back. I've raced there once before in 2019 and it's a nice mix of chicanes with a good flow to it. So, if you're good in chicanes you tend to go pretty well around there. You've also got the walls which make it really exciting to drive. I really enjoying being in Montreal and obviously it's a home race for Nicky. I can't wait for the weekend to get started".
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, concludes:
"The Canadian Grand Prix makes a very welcome return to the calendar having been missing for the last two years due to the pandemic. Both the city of Montreal and the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve itself are traditional highlights on the Formula 1 calendar and as a team we are looking forward to getting back there. The layout of the circuit lends itself to good racing and overtaking and makes multiple stint strategies attractive. Pirelli bring their softest compounds, which are the same as we used in Monaco and Baku. However, the combination of the circuit layout and tarmac roughness make this circuit unique in terms of tire behavior . Having not seen the circuit for a couple of years, we will need to see how the tarmac has evolved since we were last there. Aerodynamic efficiency, PU power and strong braking performance are all key to lap time in Montreal and must be traded against bump and kerb riding, especially with the current generation of F1 cars. As always, we will be using the sessions on Friday to look at these trades as well as understanding the tire behavior . For Nicholas, the recent Covid-19 interruptions to the F1 calendar mean that this event marks his first full home F1 weekend. The whole team are looking forward to the local support that Nicholas will get".
At Alfa Romeo, Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, declares his conviction that he wants to arrive in Canada with the aim of demonstrating that the Baku results are only an error dictated by different and anomalous circumstances:
"Baku was a challenging weekend for the team , but these are the circumstances in which you see the real mettle of a group. Nobody, neither in the garage nor at home, let their heads drop: what you saw was an immediate reaction to bounce back from the disappointment. We are determined to come to Canada to prove that last week's result is just an outlier and I am confident we will do just that. We have plenty of positives to work with - we saw excellent pace with Zhou and we know it would have brought us points had we finished the race. We will aim for a clean weekend and to get back on track immediately".
Also Valtteri Bottas underlines the delusion brought home by the Azerbaijan GP:
"It's great to be back in Canada after such a long time. This is a city that really embraces Formula One and it's always a pleasure to come here and see the way the fans welcome us. Last week was a difficult race for us and we have spent the few days since we were in Baku looking back at the data to understand what went wrong. We have taken in-depth steps to make sure we start this weekend with a clean slate and can return to the levels of competitiveness we have enjoyed since the start of the season. Montreal is a track we know fairly well, although it is the first time we race here with the new cars, so we can aim to get down to business straight from FP1".
Zhou Guanyu concludes:
"The benefit of back-to-back races is the opportunity to get on track immediately after a disappointing event and this is the approach I have for the weekend. I am focusing on the positives from Baku: my performance in Q1 and the way I was running my race until the DNF are the starting points for Canada and this is what I am going to build on.The team has worked hard to understand the issue we had and we come to Montreal to get the result that evaded us last week. I have never raced here, so I don't know this track, but it's one of the great venues of Formula One and I've watched it on TV many times: it's a circuit where races can be real classics and I can't wait to be in the car on Friday".
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal Hass, yes declares positively hit come on results obtained in Baku:
"We were actually surprised how good the car came along on Sunday for the race, with Kevin fighting for points, but then we had the mechanical failure with the PU. In general, on Friday we didn't start off on the right foot, we were a little bit off - more than a little bit - but on Saturday we got it in the right region where we needed to be. Where we suffered most was on the straight, other people did a better job on low downforce going down the straights, so the whole weekend we suffered a little bit there. If qualifying hadn't been compromised by the red and yellow flag we encountered, it could've been a better race but nevertheless, before the failure we were in a very good position to score points so I'm not too upset, I'm more disappointed that we had another DNF".
Steiner dedicates a thought to the city of Montreal and to the fans who animate it during the race weekend, creating an incredibly engaging atmosphere:
“It's always nice to go back to Canada, it's always a nice event. I say nice because people really like that we go there and they see it as a great event for their city and the entire F1 community loves Montreal. It's always a good race with a good atmosphere and in general just a good place. With the raft race, these days I just don't think there is the time anymore to do these types of things. It's unfortunate but we have to go with the times, the team cannot just make the time up to create a raft - at the moment it's not doable but maybe one day it returns".
The Haas’ Team Principal also comments on the little comfort of this season’s single-seaters:
"Porpoising is so different from race track to race track. In Barcelona, it seemed that everyone had found a solution for it but then we go back to Baku and we haven't got one, so I'm not really sure what to expect in Montreal. I think it's part of the package of the car and I'm sure that there are enough intelligent engineers in Formula 1 that sooner or later, hopefully sooner, we get in control of porpoising. We suffer it a little bit, maybe a little bit less than some other teams but maybe more than others so we just work on each track, giving drivers the best ride possible with the best performance because it's all down to performance. If you compromise performance you can get a very comfortable ride out of it, but who wants to do that? Let's see when we go out in FP1 where we are, but we all know Canada is pretty bumpy, so if it's bumpy it doesn't normally get better, but let's wait and see".
Finally, Steiner comments the budget cut that affected the team:
"This budget cap, combined with inflation which the world is experiencing, has become a talking point but I think each team has to manage how it is. The situation is we got unexpected inflation with the invasion of Ukraine mainly, so we just try to manage it. It's tough but we're used to running an efficient organization and we just need to cut the cloth accordingly. That's what we're trying to do and I ' m very sure we will show up to all races and we'll try to make the savings somewhere else".
Kevin Magnussen declares himself happy to finally be back in Montreal after two years:
"Montreal is a cool, cool place. It's a nice track as well, it's pretty unique, it's kind of like a street circuit but then also a hybrid - I really like it. It's very bumpy so it's going to be harsh in these new cars as they're very stiff. it's going to be challenge I'm sure but a good one".
Kevin also talks about a familiar moment commenting on the results obtained from the father on this same circuit:
"It's always awesome to have family come to races - they've been such a big part of my career ever since I was a little boy and to have them at races is great. Of course, with my dad it's a little extra because he's been there himself and he's good to talk to because he understands everything that I say. Everything that I'm talking about, he ' s been there himself".
Finally, the Hass driver comments on the next races, all European:
"It's going to be nice to have a bit of a European season now after Canada. No jetlag and short flights - I'm looking forward to that".
Mick Schumacher declares:
"For everybody, not just for us drivers, it's a tough journey. We go from one continent to another within a few days, which is crazy that it is that way, but that's how it is and everyone has to handle it. I'm sure once everyone gets back to Europe, it will be slightly less stressful to get cars ready, pack up to leave a track and try to make it to the next race. It's just more of a rhythm when we get to Europe but it's still a huge amount of stress - albeit less than going from Azerbaijan to Canada".
He, returning to talk about Montreal, continues:
"I've been to Montreal maybe once or twice as a child, aged 11 or 12. I remember it was fun to go and visit because it was so different to all the other race tracks I'd been to before and you have the groundhogs running around which is quite fun. As a kid, I was fishing out the back of the Mercedes garage and I actually caught a few - I built the hook myself from the office stationery - and eventually we bought a little fishing rod. I also remember asking if I could go onto the grid, and the team said only if I made a cake. I baked a cake, did the frosting and once I gave it to them, I got the grid pass! I have good memories from Canada".
Finally, he talks about the circuit :
"It has all the flares of a street track, just because of the walls, but it's a permanent track. I think it's quite unique in the fact that you're surrounded by water for most of the time - the only place that comes close is Melbourne - so I think that is quite different. In terms of the track, I haven't driven there yet but I've driven on the simulator so I'm just excited to go. A lot of crazy races have happened there in the past so I'm sure this year will be an interesting one too".
Worthy of note is the comment by Pat Fry, who has been in Formula 1 for 35 years:
"We're heading back to Montreal this weekend for the first Canadian Grand Prix in three years. It's been a regular on the Formula 1 calendar over the past couple of decades and brings some unique challenges given it's a non-permanent, hybrid track. We can expect the circuit to be a little green and dirty throughout opening Practice but, as we've seen in the past in Montreal, that will clear quite quickly with some rubber being laid down. Compared to the last race in Baku, we can expect a slightly higher downforce level for this weekend. We will come up a step on the rear wing level and we have some beam wing options to run with it to identify the optimal downforce setting. The nature of the track layout in Montreal drives you to higher downforce as there are some decent straights mixed with a range of low to medium-speed corners. Montreal has a very similar power unit sensitivity to Baku and is usually very hard on brakes, which we'll keep an eye on".
After a torrential rain flooded the circuit before the start of the racing weekend, Formula One drivers are finally ready to hit the track again here in Canada, as the sun shines on the beautiful 2022-spec ground effect cars. A special day for Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after a three-year hiatus since the last Canadian Grand Prix, which on Sunday will finally be contested by home hero Nicholas Latifi, sporting a brand-new helmet livery for the occasion. A patriotic lid is also shown by Lance Stroll, even though the Aston Martin driver had already taken part in his home race, where he even scored his first points back in 2017. On Friday, Ferrari announces the definitive failure of Leclerc’s engine n. 2, which will force the Monegasque driver to change his power unit and then receive a penalty, whose entity will only be determined by Ferrari’s decision on how many components to change on Leclerc’s F1-75. It is the Mx Verstappen who sets the fastest lap of the first free practice session, held under a bright sun on the Île Notre Dame, with a 1'15"158, after a small problem with his rear and some complaints about the ‘clipping’ of his car. However, the Red Bull driver has already shown an impressive pace, and in the classification he is followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, 0.246 seconds behind. Third is Fernando Alonso, the only driver to set his best lap time with medium tyres. Sergio Pérez is behind the Alpine and is followed by Leclerc, who is differentiating his work ahead of a probable penalty for new mechanical components. At the moment, Tsunoda is the only one who is already sure about starting from the back of the grid.
Pierre Gasly is accused of blocking by Valtteri Bottas: the Flying Finn had to slow down after finding the Alpha Tauri in his way at Turn 6. A similar behavior was shown by Pérez: like Gasly, the Mexican impeded Latifi on a flying lap by going slowly at the entry of the last chicane. Fortunately, nobody hits the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ in this FP1, even though some drivers run wide approaching the last chicane: among them there are Albon, Schumacher, and Magnussen. The only one to experience mechanical problems is Esteban Ocon: a paper towel obstructs the unlucky Frenchman’s brake duct, setting the brake on fire and forcing him to pit. Finally, it would not be the same in Canada without groundhogs: in FP1, the drivers already had some close encounters with these cute but brave animals, who recklessly cross the track, without minding the world’s fastest cars sweeping behind them. Luckily, no harm or damages for the moment. Several drivers including Verstappen, Leclerc, and Alonso already begin their race simulation, as a higher chance of rain forecasted for FP2 can disrupt the teams' work. A dry track welcomes the drivers again for FP2 and witnesses Max Verstappen top again the classification with a time of 1'14"127, followed closely by Charles Leclerc (+0.081s), who however will have to reset his mind for the rest of the weekend after Ferrari decides to install a new turbo on his F1-75 after facing some issues with a used one, which will cost him ten places on the grid:
"It’s really good to be back at this track! It has a lot of character, and it’s always fun to drive on circuits where you have to ride the kerbs so much. It was a positive first day overall. We did a good job improving our set-up from FP1 to FP2. Track evolution is usually quite big at this track, which was also the case today. The wind was quite strong, but it didn’t affect my running much. Our main focus going forward will be in preparing our race in the best possible way".
Leclerc is followed by his teammate and the two are separated by slightly more than a tenth. Sainz is generally satisfied with his Friday:
"It’s great to be back in Canada, at a circuit that is demanding, bumpy and full of kerbs, so it’s definitely a challenge for these new cars. I’ve enjoyed the first practice day and we have been able to progress well through the two sessions. It got very tricky at times due to the strong and gusty wind, but we managed to complete all our programme without any issues. Understanding the tyres will be very important come Sunday and we gathered good data with today’s run plan. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s qualifying".
Two World Champions place behind the two Ferraris, with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso claiming fourth and fifth position. Both remarkable results, which are counterbalanced by Sergio Pérez’s dull FP2, as the Mexican struggles to find the right feeling with his car and is not able to go further than 11th place, over a second behind his teammate. A couple of unsafe releases characterize the session, with first Vettel and then Sainz risking the collision respectively with Magnussen and Norris. Both drivers, however, do not receive grid penalties. Finally, Valtteri Bottas skips almost the whole session due to some technical issues with his Alfa Romeo, a situation which is far from ideal for the Flying Finn:
"It’s disappointing to miss out on FP2 today: we had an electronics issue and, every time I downshifted, the car would go into neutral. We couldn’t find a reason during the session so we had to stop: of course, we will find a fix for it but it’s not ideal. We need clean days of running and to minimise the issues, and I know everyone in the team is working as hard as they can for this. Hopefully we will be able to make up for the lost time tomorrow. Earlier in the day, in FP1, we focused mostly on the mechanical set-up: there are still some old bits on the car and we are going to put the new ones tomorrow, so there’s more to be found there, but so far we achieved a good balance, something to build on. Having missed FP2, it’s hard to talk much about times: we will see what tomorrow brings. The weather conditions could be mixed, which would make everything more exciting and create some opportunities: we will need to make sure our car is fixed and that we are ready, whatever the weather, to be in the fight".
His teammate Zhou Guanyu, instead, remains positive after a 17th and a 16th place:
"It wasn’t a bad Friday for my side of the garage, but I feel there’s plenty more to come for tomorrow, once we put the new package on the car. This is a good track, I really like it: it’s quite bumpy, especially with the new cars, and the kerbs are not easy to tackle. In a sense, it reminds me of Melbourne, it’s quite challenging. It was quite slippery out there at the beginning of FP1, but it’s mostly a matter of getting into a rhythm and finding out the best way to attack the kerbs without losing the car. We have a bit of work to do tonight, but I feel we can make a big step before FP3. The whole field is very tight, I reckon qualifying will be really intense: I am quite happy about our pace as we are closer to the guys ahead compared to the usual on Friday. Once again, it will be a matter of putting everything together tomorrow: the car is there, the performance is there, we just need to deliver".
Another difficult day in the office for both Mercedes drivers, especially for Lewis Hamilton: the seven-time World Champion has suffered a lot of bouncing which has prevented him from finding performance in his car. And despite FIA’s new technical directive, his situation has gotten worse. Not even a new floor has helped Hamilton, who defines his car “undrivable” while talking on the radio with his engineer. The Brit reflects on what seems to be a standpoint for the Anglo-German team, apparently lacking of effective technical solutions to their problems:
"It was pretty much like every Friday, experimenting with lots of things. We tried a new floor on my car this morning which didn't really work and it seems a lot of things we try on this car struggle to work. We experimented with very different set ups on the two cars in FP2 just to try and see if one way works and one way doesn't. Whatever we do on this car to improve it just makes it more unhappy but we have to keep working, it is what it is. One touch of the kerbs here and the car goes flying, it's so stiff and here in Montreal, you really need to ride the kerbs. It's not the Montreal that I'm used to and that I've driven throughout my career, it's the worst I've felt any car here so I'm hoping we make some solid progress overnight. You are putting on a momentous fight just to keep it out of the wall, you're catching a car that's jumping, it definitely keeps you on edge - we raised the car but it didn't make any real difference".
The seven-time Montreal winner closes his day in 13th position, around four tenths off the pace of his teammate. George Russell tries not to lose his smile, after consistently placing in the top ten (6th and 7th) and not too far from the leaders in terms of lap times, but at the same time cannot help but acknowledge the same problems that are hindering his teammate and the whole season for the Silver Arrows:
"It's fun to drive around this circuit, it's old-school and very challenging, with the cars bumping over the kerbs. Our performance wasn't where we wanted it to be, we're quite a way off the pace to the front two teams and there's also a couple of guys - Fernando and Seb - who look very strong, so we've got work to do. It's still very bumpy out there, the stiffness of these cars is pretty brutal. We can't run the kerbs as much as we used to, we got the car as soft as we can but there's something about this iteration of cars stopping us really doing that. In FP2, that was probably the biggest deviation in set up between Lewis and I, we went in completely different directions, so we'll be able to find a happy medium between the two overnight. We need to qualify ahead of the mid-field, we have a strong race car which is probably the third-quickest but if we allow one or two cars in front of us, that could make things tricky".
Andrew Shovlin sums up Mercedes’s work on Friday:
"We tested a few modifications to the cars to help the issues that we had in Baku and we'll continue to analyse that data, but the picture here is similar to that in Monaco and Baku where the ride is really unsettling the car both in low and high speed corners. We swept through the settings available to us but we're just finding different compromises on ride and downforce without adding significant performance overall. The balance hasn't been great both on low and high fuel and whilst the ride issues are compounding that, we can probably make a bit of progress on it overnight. We're mainly lacking rear grip which is likely something we can improve with the normal setup tools. Whilst it's been one of our more challenging Friday's we'll continue to work hard tonight to optimise what we have as we've shown in recent races that we can still score strong points even with a difficult car".
An excellent Fernando Alonso closes the first day of practice in the top five, showing a good pace and thus being able to look at Saturday and at Sunday with a certain level of optimism. The Spaniard explains all the new sensations while driving his Alpine through the streets of the Île Notre Dame:
"I think it was another decent Friday for us today. The car seems to be performing quite well at this challenging track here in Montreal. We haven’t raced in Canada for a number of years and it does feel a bit different than in previous years. Things like riding the kerbs gives a very different feeling with the ground effect cars. Overall, it was a good experience today. It looks like it could be a mixed weather forecast tomorrow, so we tried to get as much data as we could in preparation for the race".
A long absence from the Canadian circuit and a new car are two great challenges for Esteban Ocon, who however recognizes the potential of his A522, after witnessing his teammate perform so well, and aims to improve the 15th place he claimed in both practice sessions:
"It feels good to be back in Montreal and drive here after four years away for me. Today was all about getting back to grips with the track and understanding it. It’s important to tune the car and optimise it as best as we can for a track like this and I think we used both sessions well for that today. We were a bit unlucky early in FP1 with the plastic bag getting stuck in my front right brake and losing time, but it was a productive day nevertheless. We missed the rain by minutes today but looks like it will be wet tomorrow and we might see a bit of a shuffle in the order of cars, which could make it interesting. From the looks of it, we have a competitive car, so hopefully we can make the most of the opportunities".
Pat Fry, Chief Technical Officer for Alpine, looks back at a generally satisfactory Friday for the French team, who can still improve tyre management apparently:
"It’s been a relatively productive Friday for the team today across both practice sessions The track, as expected, was a little low on grip to begin but once some rubber was laid down it improved quite a lot and we were able to progress through our run plans straight away. Unfortunately, Esteban caught some debris on-track during the session, which forced his front right brakes to overheat. We were able to clean the part to get him back out for some of the session before making further amends over the interval. Fernando enjoyed a smoother afternoon and was generally happier with his base set-up from the get-go and that’s probably reflected on the timesheets. Esteban, after the misfortune in FP1, was able to grow into his running as the day progressed. Our long runs looked quite sensible with both drivers running Hard tyres towards the end of the second practice session. We’ll be keeping a close look on the weather as rain is forecast throughout the weekend here in Montreal and we could well see a wet Qualifying session".
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer at Alpha Tauri, describes a busy day for the team:
"It’s great to be back in Montreal after a few years - it’s such an amazing circuit, which can throw up many surprises and this weekend seems to be doing the same with the weather! After the torrential rain yesterday, we have experienced two sunny sessions with full dry running today. Therefore, we were able to cover an extensive test programme across both cars, with a number of mechanical items and aero test items. Being a street track, the grip started quite low in FP1 which made the balance quite open. Based on the data gathered, we made some reasonable changes for FP2 and clearly improved the package. For Yuki with the PU penalty, meaning he will start at the back of the grid on Sunday, the focus was on the long run, so his short run pace is less representative. Pierre’s pace is a better representation of the car performance. Tomorrow is looking wet, even in Qualifying, whilst it’s predicted to be a dry race on Sunday, so we need to work through the data gathered tonight for a dry race and then understand how best to adapt for the wet tomorrow".
At the moment, the best car for the Faenza-based teams is Pierre Gasly’s, with the Frenchman being able to claim a solid P6 at the end of FP2, which however seems more the result of an exploit rather than the proof of a consistent race pace:
"It was extremely difficult today, the performance in the end on one lap was good but I’m not feeling great at the moment in the car. I’ve really struggled with the balance, as well as tyre degradation in the long runs, so it’s been quite tricky. We’ll look to see what we can do for tomorrow, the weather conditions for Qualifying look like they will be wet, which could make things interesting. It’s encouraging that the pace is there on the timing screens, but the field is very tight, so we’ve definitely still got some work to do ahead of tomorrow".
Yuki Tsunoda was already conscious of having to endure an uphill weekend in his first time at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The Japanese driver will start from the back of the grid on Sunday after changing his power unit, so he has decided to focus his attention on finding a good race set-up and covering as many kilometres as possible in a track which is completely new for him. Therefore, a 14th and a 17th place are not that indicative of his real performance. Tsunoda says:
"It’s the first time I’ve driven here in Canada, and I must say I really like this track. I’ve enjoyed it so much, it’s been really fun. Quickly in FP1, after just three or four laps, we’ve been able to be on the pace so that’s been positive. It’s bumpy here, but also quite technical, so I just need to continue to build up the pace in the next practice session and learn more about this track. We’ve obviously got the penalty here this weekend, so we’ve been focussing on longer runs to prepare us for Sunday’s race and hope we can make our way forward".
Ups and down at McLaren racing. Lando Norris goes straight to the point:
"Tough day. I’d say positive, because we got through a lot of what we wanted to, but not everything. We had a couple of issues, so I didn’t get as much running as what I wanted to. We’re a little bit on the back foot with a couple of things, especially in the long run. Apart from that, the car’s in a reasonable place. We’ve definitely got some work to do with some much quicker cars ahead. But, apart from that, positive, and we’ll continue to improve into tomorrow".
Daniel Ricciardo seems much happier about the set-up of his car. The Aussie is trying to straighten up his season after a start which might have been harder than he thought. Very close to his teammate whole Friday, the Aussie might begin a positive streak in the Canadian Grand Prix, held in a track he enjoys very much:
"I’ve definitely missed this track after not coming here for a few years. It’s so much fun. I’ve just enjoyed it. Enjoyed driving. It’s awesome - one of the best for sure in my opinion. I think we got into the groove pretty quickly and we showed good signs. We’ll see what happens with the weather - I think we were quite lucky to get a dry day today, but we’ll see what happens for tomorrow. It could be completely different, but I think today was a solid start. Hopefully we can do a bit of fine-tuning and then find a little bit more speed overnight now. Overall, it was just an enjoyable Friday. So, I’m happy to be back".
Andrea Stella adds himself to the list of people in the paddock who indicate the instability of weather on Saturday as what could be the turning point of this Canadian weekend. However, with his drivers finishing their Friday practice in the top 10, the Italian racing director can look with optimism at the upcoming challenges in the following days:
"We managed to get in two dry sessions today at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. This is good preparation for the race, which the forecast suggests will be dry, whereas tomorrow, the weather could be quite changeable. Aside from a small issue on Lando’s car at the end of FP1, we didn’t experience any problems today and could gather quite a lot of information to inform our car set-up on this very bumpy circuit. Coming here for the first time since 2019, we also generated a lot of tyre data, which will be useful in planning a strategy for what looks like being a very interesting race. As has been the case for the last few races, the midfield once again looks very competitive. We’ll do our learning overnight and come back tomorrow to do our best to get into Q3, giving ourselves the best chance to score good points on Sunday".
Sebastian Vettel stays grounded as he reflects on what Aston Martin Racing has been capable of doing so far in 2022 despite a very comforting P4 at the end of the second free practice session:
"This is a tricky circuit to get right, especially after a couple of years away - I lost the car a couple of times on the approach to Turn One - but, overall, the car was pretty well behaved. Still, I think we need to be realistic about qualifying tomorrow; we’re improving all the time but we still have some work to do. I think Saturday could be tricky - the conditions have been unpredictable all weekend and it looks likely to be another wet-dry day. But I’m looking forward to whatever the weather throws at us".
Lance Stroll seeks a good result in his home race after soaking in all of the local support. Unable to improve his position in FP2, the Canadian is well motivated to well already from Saturday:
"It is great to return to Montreal - my home race - because we have not been here for a few years. The energy from the Canadian fans is always very special and the grandstands were full today, which is great to see. I am pleased with the work we did, even though my final run in FP2 was impacted by traffic, which held us back a bit. Overall, though, we took some useful steps forward with the set-up and I think we have done some of our homework for the rest of the weekend. We just need to wait and see what happens with the weather now".
A telegraphic Kevin Magnussen sets his attention on a probably rainy qualifying, after a day of practice which has witnessed him improve a disappointing last position claimed in FP1. It seems all part of the schedule for the Danish driver:
"It’s good to be back in Canada. We had a pretty normal Friday, no big issues. As usual there’s lots to look at tonight, lots to study. I’m looking forward to tomorrow - I think with the weather it could be interesting".
Mick Schumacher follows his teammate very closely in 15th position (the two are separated by just 0.017s) after a pleasant first outing on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, despite the usual problems which hit the cars of the new generation:
"It was good fun - the fans were amazing out there, being here the whole day. We had a tough FP1 but a good FP2 in the sense that we got through everything. The car is quite stiff again, so we’ll see how that affects my back at the end of the race but overall the car felt pretty good. The track felt quite slippery, I don’t know if that’s normal, so we’ll see next year if that’s the case but it’s good to be here, good to get the experience and I’m looking forward to tomorrow".
Guenther Steiner is satisfied, despite some issues which have slowed down the work a little bit:
"FP1 wasn’t ideal, it was a little bit difficult, but it was still a good session because we learned a lot. We struggled on the soft tire in FP1 but made progress in FP2 getting closer to where we want to be, still not there, but progress was made in the two sessions with very little trouble. We had a small problem with Mick’s rear wing but we got it sorted so we didn’t lose any running time. Now, let’s see what comes tomorrow - does it rain, does it not, we don’t know - but we made good progress and therefore we welcome tomorrow".
Williams is still struggling: the two cars from Grove occupy the last two real positions (Bottas has had mechanical issues) at the end of FP2, and even though the day has been quite smooth for the British team, a lot of performance is still to be found. Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, states:
"We had some concerns over the weather forecast for FP2 and so changed the plan for FP1 to ensure that we completed the most important race preparation. However, with FP2 ultimately remaining dry, we were able to do the tests that we postponed in the morning and explore some of the finer setup options. We didn’t improve the pace as much as we hoped in FP2, but we have some good directions to work on overnight. Overall, we’ve had a productive day and have started to tune the car to the characteristics of Montreal, and especially the bumps, which are quite severe at T8".
Alex Albon confirms his boss’s words:
"Not a bad day actually for us - we did a good job and we do have a bit to find. I think in FP2 we possibly went the wrong way, but we’ve got some good data to look at and we’ll find a good place in between the two cars that we had but we’ll see".
Nicholas Latifi is the other Canadian driver who does not want to disappoint his home fans. However, the warm welcome does not distract the former F2 winner from the problems of his car, with which he has been consistently at the back so far, and that is not an easy situation:
"In general, it was trouble free first day. Obviously a very special feeling to start the weekend at my home grand prix and drive in front of the home fans. I honestly felt a lot of support in the build up to this and it’s carried over to this weekend. On track it’s been difficult with the pace of the car. We’re lacking performance and I still need to try and extract a bit more. So, we’ll keep working overnight to try and make some gains for Saturday".
As rain threatens qualifying, as usual Mario Isola analyses the work the team have done on Friday to extract the best from the tyres while having to deal with this weather uncertainty:
"It was interesting to see many teams doing long runs in FP1, which was probably down to a combination of reasons. Firstly, there was a need to gather data in case FP2 was affected by rain. Secondly, experiencing a surface that had been ‘reset’ by heavy rain was relevant, as these are also the conditions that the teams will face tomorrow and perhaps also on Sunday. The soft was very much the focus of the running today: even on a slippery track this morning, we only saw some very light abrasion on this compound. The hard was used much less, perhaps due to teams saving it for the race. As we’ve seen already, the weather has been extremely unpredictable so far, and we expect that to continue for the rest of the weekend".
On Saturday, the teams are ready for the last free practice session and the qualifying. The weather is wet, it rains a bit and air temperature is 11 degrees with 83% of humidity, while that of the track is a little hotter with 16 degrees; the wind has picked up massively. It seems that the wet weather will persist throughout the qualifying so the intermediate tyres will be crucial but tomorrow it might be good so the situation can change rapidly. When the green light is given, Magnussen, Schumacher, Bottas and Zhou are out. The track seems highly slippery: The conditions are quite *** out here, to be honest, says Schumacher to his team radio. Magnussen completes his lap and scores 1'43"014, taking P1 while his teammate is in P2 with 1'45"596. Leclerc and Sainz get on track for their warm lap. The Spaniard drives through the second sector and scores a purple -1.223 but, before completing the last, raises his foot from the pedal and goes back to the box to try again later. Magnussen goes long in the grass but luckily manages not to lose the car. Vettel climbs into P2 (1'43"997) beyond his friend Mick. It lasts a few as Mick takes back the P2 with 1'43"226. Stroll is in P5 with 2'41"754 while Tsunoda takes P3 (1'42"030): he the fifth driver to try to race in these conditions in the last 11 minutes. Vettel tries again and scores -0.222 compared to Magnussen’s 29.077 in the first sector. He risks losing his car as the vehicle starts to slide on the track but he manages to hold it. He scores +0.049 compared to Magnussen’s 1.01.104 and completes in 1.39.606 in P3. While he was ending the second sector, Tsunoda takes P2. Norris starts his first lap and gets 1'42"900 in P5. His teammate gets +1.805 in the first sector, +2.959 in the second, and completes in 1'42"491 in P5.
The two Alfa Romeos are driving throughout the second sector. Zhou scores +2.603 in the second sector and steals P5 from Ricciardo with 1'42"553. His teammate Bottas starts straight after Zhou. Valtteri scores +2.110 in the second and completes in 1'41"172 in P5, making Zhou slip one place. Ricciardo tries again and scores 1'39"806, taking P5. Verstappen is in the Red Bull box, chatting with Helmut Marko while Checo starts his first lap at 42 minutes until the end of FP3. He scores +2.471 in the first sector and +3.061 in the second. His car slides a little bit in the third sector, but he raises the foot from the pedal and decides to go back to the box. Zhou drives through the third sector and scores 1'38"924 in P3. His teammate Bottas takes the lead with 1'37"909. Stroll improves and gets the best first sector with 28.076. He crosses the finish line in 1'38"143 in P2. Tsunoda complains with his team that the front left is so easy to look up. Charles Leclerc is in the box and has not a time yet, although he completed two laps on the track. Sainz tries again: gets a purple in the first sector with 27.864, -0.411 in the second, and -1.708 in the third, taking the lead with 1'36"831. But the Spanish driver decides that it is not enough and tries again: scores two purples in the first two sectors and completes his lap in 1'35"858, improving his previous time. Alonso starts his first lap at 33 minutes. He gets +1.258 in the first sector compared to Sainz’s time, +1.517 in the second, and he goes sixth (+2.480). Verstappen is getting into the car to start his first lap. Latifi starts his lap but raises his foot straight after completing the first sector. The track is getting better. Gasly sets his fastest time and takes P3 in 1'37"579. Albon is driving throughout the second sector, gets +1.800, and crosses the finish line in 1'39"006 in P9.
"It’s so sketchy".
"Complains the Williams driver on his radio. Russel starts his first lap and scores +2.216 in the first sector, +2.745 in the second, and completes in 1'39"796 in P12. Verstappen starts his first lap. He scores +2.500 in the first sector, but his rear slides a little bit and scores +3.254 in the second, so he decides to raise the foot from the pedal and go back to the pit lane. Vettel completes a new lap in 1'35"821 and goes to the top of the rank. Hamilton starts his first lap and scores +0.376 in the second sector. He drives through the final chicane and finishes in P6 in 1'36"917, just behind Gasly. Stroll scores 1'36"710, taking P5, while his teammate scores a purple in the second sector (-0.270), and finishes in 1'35"870 without improving. At 19 minutes to the end of the FP3, only Leclerc and the two Red Bulls have not a time. The Monegasque driver gets on the track but does not complete a lap and decides to go back to the pit lane. Alonso tries again, scores +0.914, +2.175 in the second, and +2.668, taking P3 (+0.253). Magnussen takes P7 at +0.898 gap to Vettel’s time. Alonso gets a new best with 1'34"836, overthrowing Vettel. Sainz from P3 tries again and starts to push: he scores -0.074 in the first sector, +0.027 in the second, takes P2 in 1'35"547. Alonso scores a purple in the first sector, -1.068 in the second, and completes -0.607 in the third and improves his best. Stroll goes second with +1.302. Verstappen is driving through the last sector of his first real lap but he raises again the foot and goes back to pit lane to work on the car’s balance. Vettel completes a new lap in 1'33"891 in P1, overthrowing Alonso (+0.338). Ten minutes to go and Leclerc is still out of the car in the garage. Alonso completes a new lap in 1'33"836 taking the lead in the rank. Ricciardo tries again, gets +0.180 in the first sector, +0.500 in the second, and completes in 1'35"305 in P4 between Sainz and Gasly. However, Russell climbs to P4 with 1'34"831, making Ricciardo slip one place. Norris from P15 tries again. He scores +1.108 in the first sector, but then the car slides a little bit and he gets +2.307 in the second sector and approaches the third sector together with Russell. The yellow flag appears as Magnussen gets out of the track, fortunately with no damages. He gets back to the track slowly and the green flag appears.
"What happened there".
Says the Haas driver.
"That’s what we were asking".
Replies the team.
Sainz goes long out of the track but he does not damage the car. Hamilton completes a new lap in 1'38"613 in P11. Finally, Perez scores his first lap in 1'39"077 in P19. At three minutes to the end of the session, the only driver who has not set a time yet is Leclerc. Suddenly the yellow flag appear again in sector one, as Verstappen slipped away and went on the grass as Magnussen did earlier. His car does not have damage and he comes back to the track. At two minutes to the end of FP3, Perez tries again and completes his last lap in 1'35"425 in P5, while Ocon gets P3 in 1.34.186. The two Mclarens are approaching the finish line when the checkered flag is out. Ricciardo scores 1'34"110 in P3, while Norris goes fifth from P13 in 1'34"248. Verstappen crosses the finish line in 1'34"616 in P7. Ocon scores a purple in the first sector, scoring the fastest first sector for the session. He completes the lap in P3 +0.167. At the end of the session, there are two Alpines in the top three. Hamilton is the last driver to cross the line and improves a bit his time with 1'35"692 in P15. The FP3 session stops. Alonso is in P1 (1'33"836), followed by Vettel (+0.055), Ocon (+0.167), Ricciardo (+0.274), Norris (+0.412), and Russell (+0.423). The two Redbulls are in P7, Perez (+0.662), and in P8, Verstappen (+0.780). Gasly is in P9 (+0.892), followed by Sainz (+0.942), Bottas (+1.180), Zhou (+1.377), Stroll (+1.695), and Magnussen (+1.807). Hamilton is in P15, followed by Albon (+1.925). At Albon’s back, there is Tsunoda in P17 (+2.425), Schumacher (+3.552), Latifi (+4.558), and finally Leclerc with no time in P20. At the end of FP3, arrives a news regarding the Monegasque driver: he will start the race from the back of the grid following power unit penalties on the engine, Turbo charger, MGU-H, MGU-K, and control electronics. It is time to get serious. The cars have been tested under these track conditions and drivers are ready to try their best to conquer the best place on the grid for tomorrow’s race. At 4:00 p.m., the green light starts the Q1 and all the cars are out on track.
Hamilton’s radio team warns the driver that there could be a high risk of yellow and red flags during qualifying. George Russell goes fastest with 1'36"688 in P1. Verstappen starts his first lap: he gets 28.616 in the first sector, 59.778, and completes his lap in 1'37"435 in P2. Vettel takes P3 with 1'38"279, followed by Ocon with 1.38.308. Perez gets a purple in the last sector and completes his lap in 1'38"545 in P6. Alonso with 1'36"866 takes P2. Leclerc gets 1'01"074 in the first sector, +2.528 in the second, compared to Russell’s time, and finishes in P18 with 1'46"638. Verstappen gets a purple in the second sector and completes in 1'35"830, he takes P1, followed by Ocon, up to the second place. Alonso gets two purple in the first two sectors and completes in 1'39"694 in P8. Sainz takes the lead in the rank with 1'35"812. Russell is in the final sector and crosses the finish line in 1'34"984. Magnussen time (1'36"658) has been deleted as he crossed the track limits at Turn 10 on lap 4. Perez and Sainz try again. Checo crosses the finish line in a fog made by water in P7 at ten minutes to go, while Carlos completes his lap in 1'35"165 in P2 behind Russell. Magnussen gets a purple in the first sector and improves in the second sector, so crosses the line in 1'34"893 in P1. Norris completes in P5 in 1'35"619, while Russell gets a purple in the first sector,-0.752 in the second and completes his lap bouncing on the straight and takes back again P1 in 1'33"925. Verstappen gets a purple in the second sector and crosses the finish line in 1'33"200 overthrowing the Mercedes driver at 7.30 minutes to the end of Q1. Alonso loses some time in the second sector but seems fast enough to exit the drop zone. He approaches the final chicane and crosses the finish line in 1'33"136, establishing the pace in Q1. However, Sainz gets a purple in the first sector, -0.367 in the second, completes in -0.355 compared to Alonso’s time, and steals P1. His teammate Leclerc completes his lap in 1'34"802 up to P7 behind Hamilton. Perez tries again but only goes P13 with a gap of +2.756. Leclerc crosses the line in 1'34"172 in P7. Russell gets a purple in the first sector with 26.811. He completes his lap in 1'33"160, placing his car in P3.
Three minutes to go. Zhou is struggling to change the setting on his screen due to the heavy rain, and Verstappen says to his radio team that the main issue is the traffic. The drivers at risk are Perez in P16, followed by Allbon, Tsunoda, Stroll, and Latifi. Gasly scores a +2.910 compared to Sainz’s first sector but he decides to raise his foot from the pedal to try again later. Leclerc scores 1'33"008 in P2 at 1.30 to the end of Q2. Russell from P4 gets a purple in the first sector and scores 1'35"111 in P5. Verstappen from P5 gets a purple in the second and third sectors. He is quicker than the others and takes the lead in Q1 in 1'32"219. Carlos Sainz goes long into the first sector at Turn 3, but manages not to damage his car so he can come back to the track. The FIA noted this incident as an unsafe re-join. Perez, who managed to exit from the drop zone in P13, scores 1'33"292 in P12. Vettel improves but not enough to save himself from the drop zone, as he takes the P16. Gasly steals P16 from Vettel with 1'34"492, making the Aston Martin driver slip to P17. Ricciardo manages to save himself from the drop zone, in P8 with 1'33"636. Latifi remains in P19. Q1 stops and Verstappen went quicker with 1'32"219, followed by Alonso +0.058, the two Ferraris of Sainz +0.562 and Leclerc +0.789. Ocon is in P5, followed by Russell (+0.941), Magnussen (+1.329), Ricciardo (+1.417), and Bottas (+1.470). His teammate Zhou is in P10 (+1.473). At his behind, Schumacher (+1.488), Hamilton (+1.622), Perez (+1.710), Albon (+1.828), and Norris, the last driver to qualify with 1.34.066. The drivers who did not manage to get through Q2 are Gasly (+0.426), Vettel (+0.446), Stroll (+1.466), Latifi (+1.594), and Tsunoda (+2.509). Pierre Gasly is disappointed with today’s result, as FP3 went smooth:
"I’m extremely disappointed with that Qualifying, it’s very frustrating. FP3 was great for us so we knew we had the potential to do well this afternoon, but we just completely missed the mark in Quali. The start of Q1 was going well for us, and I was quite happy with our performance, but we came in to box and after that I had an issue with the brakes, which made it really difficult and I couldn’t get through to Q2. It’s obviously tough right now, but we’ll look at everything tonight and see how we can move forward tomorrow".
Yuki Tsunoda finds that the conditions of Q1 were bad if compared to FP3:
"It was always in the plan today to head out for just two laps, due to the engine penalty that I’m taking this weekend. The conditions for Qualifying were extremely bad, even compared to FP3 and there was definitely a lot more standing water, so we didn’t want to take any risks. Our plan has always been to concentrate on tomorrow throughout the practice sessions, so hopefully we’ve set-up the car in a strong way to allow us to overtake as much as possible in the race".
It is AlphaTauri’s technical director Jody Egginton to explain what happened to Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly:
"Yuki was purposely limited to minimal running in Qualifying due to the grid penalty he received for introducing a new PU. However, in the case of Pierre following a solid FP3, the expectation was that a competitive Qualifying would follow. Frustratingly, a fairly large issue with one of his front brakes during Qualifying meant he suffered with inconsistent braking performance with a large amount of front locking, preventing him from extracting performance from his car and as such we have gone out in Q1. We need to investigate the root cause of the issue. On top of that we are well out of position for tomorrow’s race, so we will need to take as many opportunities as possible to get our cars moving forward and into the midfield fight, in order to recover the situation as best as we can".
Nicholas Latifi found the qualifying extremely tricky:
"A very tricky qualifying session with the conditions being extremely poor. Having to use the Wet tyre is a bit of a challenge for everyone as they offer little to no grip. Whenever you can, you’d prefer to be on the Inters but there was a bit too much standing water. I was having a lot of issues under braking that we need to try and understand. When you don’t already have the grip in the corners and then you don’t have the trust that the car is going to stop makes it a very difficult session. It was better this morning in FP3, but we had limited running after hitting a groundhog which meant we had to make a couple of repairs. It’ll be challenging tomorrow but we’re hoping to move forward and maximise any opportunities".
After Q2 says Sebastian Vettel:
"I do not know where our pace went. We did not change much between FP3 and qualifying - but we were too slow and we do not understand it. It is a pity, because we could have gone very well in these conditions. Given how the car felt out there, our lap times are not a surprise. The car was very difficult to drive - it was sliding and had a very poor rear end. We need to have a look at the data because something clearly did not work. Still, I am optimistic for tomorrow’s race. Today’s result puts us on the back foot, but we showed good pace in Friday practice, and we can come back from this".
Lance Stroll is disappointed that they could not make it in Q1, as during FP3 they were competitive. He explains that he had issues with the track and the yellow flag did not help him to improve the performance:
"We were pretty competitive in FP3 this morning, so it was disappointing not to follow that up in qualifying. In Q1, there was just no grip in the car, which meant we ended up stuck at the back of the pack. The yellow flag towards the end of the session also meant we could not further improve our lap-times - just when the track was one second per lap quicker as it dried out. It will be tough to start towards the back of the grid, but free practice showed our car has good pace, and we will try our best to get points tomorrow".
Team Princpal Mike Krack is of the same mind:
"After showing such strong pace in FP3 this morning, our performance in qualifying this afternoon was a disappointment - and we need to thoroughly examine the reasons for the difference in pace between the two sessions. Throughout Q1, both Lance and Sebastian were struggling for grip. And, despite a change to fresh tyres, neither driver felt they had the car beneath them to deliver a quick lap when the track was at its fastest at the end of the session. We did not do a good enough job this afternoon. We will go away and look at precisely what happened, but we know this is a circuit where overtaking is possible, we have two highly motivated drivers and a good car for tomorrow’s predicted dry conditions".
The weather is getting better for Q2, but there is still water in some parts of the track. Some teams opt for the inter-mediate tyres while the others are still on the wet. Hamilton starts his first lap in Q2: he gets 26.843 in the first sector, 56.798 in the second, and completes in 1'33"060, taking temporarily P1. Russell gets a purple in the first sector (26.726), 56.900 in the second, crossing the line in 1'32"960 taking P1 from Hamilton. Magnussen goes fifth with 1'34"540. Alonso goes quickest and takes the P1 in 1'30"510. Verstappen scores a purple in the second sector, and takes P2 behind Alonso (1'31"457). Suddenly the yellow flag starts to wave in sector two as Albon, the only Williams driver still in the run for qualifying, locked up and almost crashed into the wall in Turn 6. He manages to reverse back his car and go back to the track. However, in the first sector, Perez locked up as Albon crashed into the wall and the yellow flag appears again. This time it turns into a red flag at 8 minutes to the end of Q2. While Perez’s car is taken off from the track, the other drivers go back to the pit lane and intermediate tyres are mounted on the cars. At 5:43 p.m., the session resumes. George Russell starts his lap, gets -0.113 in the first sector, compared to Alonso’s 26.383, -0.928 in the second, and completes his lap in 1'29"464 in P1, overthrowing Hamilton who had just taken P1. Sainz scores -0.390 in the first sector, compared to Alonso’s time, -0.808 compared to Magnussen’s 55.410, as Magnussen manages to take the lead in Q2. Sainz scores -0.311 in the last sector and takes the lead of Q2, before the two Mercedes. Verstappen scores -0.814 in the first sector, -1.699 in the second, and crosses the finish line in 1'27"764 being the quickest at five minutes to the end of Q2. Alonso completes his lap in 1'28"952, straight behind Verstappen in P2.
However, Magnussen manages to steal P2 from him with 1'28"788. Sainz gets a purple in the first sector and completes his lap in 1'26"588, taking P1 at 3.36 minutes to the end of Q2. Verstappen tries again and gets a purple in the second sector, crosses in 1'26"270, taking P1 from Sainz. Ricciardo manages to save himself from the drop zone in P5. Alonso crosses the finish line in P3 (+0.761). Hamilton goes up to P5 (+1.199), behind of Zhou (+1.075). Almost two minutes to the end of Q2. Norris sets no time, while, at the end of Q1, Leclerc left the pit lane. Norris starts his first lap in Q2. He gets +1.455 in the first sector, +1.868 in the second, but he raises his foot from the pedal and he has no chance to qualify for Q3. Ocon completes a new lap but he does not improve and remains in P10. Alonso crosses the finish line and goes first in 1'24"848. Bottas climbs to P7 in +1.940. Magnussen is in P5 (+1.406). The two Mercedes are approaching the finish line: Russell gets P2 (+0.102) and his teammate Hamilton goes P4 in 1'25"543. Sainz climbs to P3 with 1'25"197. Verstappen tries again and takes the lead in Q2 with 1'23"746. Ocon is doing a decent lap. He completes in 1'26"135 and pushes Bottas down to the drop zone. The countdown stops and Verstappen is in P1, followed by Alonso (+1.102), Russell (+1.204), Sainz (+1.451), Hamilton (+1.797), Schumacher (+1.938), Zhou (+2.370), Ocon (+2.389), Magnussen (+2.508) and Ricciardo (1'26"375). The drivers who will not run for the top ten positions in the grid are Bottas (+0.413), Albon (+0.483), Perez (+6.752), Norris, and Leclerc. It is the first time that neither Perez nor Leclerc qualify for Q3. Valtteri Bottas explains that he was among the first drivers to cross the line before the track improved:
"I felt we could have been even higher than P11, but I got unlucky with the timing: I was among the first to cross the line at a time when the track was improving almost one second a lap. Everyone behind me had a big advantage so I wasn’t lucky with that, and I had a small lock-up at turn one that cost me a bit of time: it’s a pity as the car felt good in mixed conditions. The track was quite tricky, especially in Q1 when visibility was close to zero; in Q2, the surface improved quickly and it felt like a big improvement. Conditions tomorrow will be completely different, it’s something we kept in mind with our setup, and I expect us to be competitive: we can fight with both cars for some good points. It’s good to have both Zhou and me up there, he did a good job today to get in Q3 for the first time".
Alex Albon is overall happy with today’s results:
"We had quite good pace in the car today with our best qualifying of the year. We made some changes to how we approached qualifying and that paid off for us, so I’m happy with today and think we did a good job. Despite running into the barrier at turn 6, I only damaged the front wing. Normally our race pace is better than our qualifying, so think we’re in a better starting position to do a good job tomorrow. Points are obviously my goal and it’s satisfying that we’re near P10 so that’s my focus".
Williams' Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, highlights the difficulty they had during Q1 and Q2, that were related to the track conditions:
"It was a difficult day with tricky conditions throughout. What we learnt in FP3 was useful ahead of qualifying, which allowed us to do a good job this afternoon. Conditions in Q1 were tricky and finding some clear track with good visibility was tough but Alex managed it well and made it to Q2. The track dried very quickly in Q2 and the lap times tumbled, especially after the red flag. On his final lap Alex lost some time at T1 but otherwise completed a good lap to take P12 on the grid. Nicholas found the conditions in FP3 challenging and he went into qualifying a little on the back foot. However, he did a solid job in Q1 but couldn’t find enough of a gain to progress to Q2. Conditions look likely to be completely different tomorrow and so we will find out whether people made compromises for today or not".
Sergio Perez apologises to his team for the elimination from Q3:
"I think we had the pace to be a lot further up the grid so today is a painful one. It was a mistake from my side, I messed up and I am very sorry for my Team because I let them down today. I was struggling with the brakes a little, they were cold and I locked up at turn 10 on the lap before and flat spotted. That probably meant I was out of shape going into turn three. I could have maybe waited and took things more cautiously at the time but I was just trying to get temperature into the tyres and unfortunately I went over the limit, locked up and became a passenger. I am already looking ahead to tomorrow and I am hopeful we are able to recover and get into strong points. I will attack from lap one and see where we end up, we have a very quick race car".
Lando Norris: explains that he had a few technical problems with the car:
"Unfortunate to end the session, with a few technical problems and issues with the car. So I didn’t get a shot at trying to get into Q3, which is frustrating - but we’ll try to fix the problem and go into tomorrow. It’s a lot of laps, a track you can overtake on, and race on, so we’ll do our best to try to gain some positions and at least get into the points".
Charles Leclerc finds that today’s result was the best they could get this weekend:
"That’s the best starting position we could secure this weekend. What’s important is that the feeling in the car was good and I could do a few more laps ahead of the race. We gained a place by qualifying ahead of Yuki (Tsunoda). It’s only one position, but every little detail can help on a weekend like this. Our focus is on giving it our all tomorrow".
Q3 starts at 5:00 p.m.. Hamilton opens the dances: he gets 24.266 in the first sector and 51.424 in the second. He bounces through the straight in the third sector and, after the final chicane, he completes his lap in 1'24.360 in P1. Russell is quicker than his teammate in the first sector with 23.976. He gets 50.919 in the second, and improves by three tenths than Hamilton with 1'24"006, taking P1. Verstappen gets a purple in the first sector, 50.229 in the second, and crosses the finish line in 1'22"701, overthrowing Russell. Sainz completes his lap in 1'23"812 in P2 before Russell and Hamilton. Alonso is in P3 with 1'23"849. Ocon stays eighth with 1.25.347. Schumacher gets a second place before Russell. Sainz tries again and takes P2. Alonso gets a purple in the first sector and completes his lap in 1'23"097 in P3. Russell tries again but does not improve and remains in P5. Zhou completes his lap and gets P8 (+1.889). Five minutes to the end of Q3. Magnussen starts a new lap. He scores -0.044 compared to Verstappen’s first sector (25.856), +0.168 compared to 50.229, and completes his lap in 1'22"960 in P3. Verstappen gets a purple in the first sector with -0.433 compared to his previous time, -0.804 compared to his previous second sector, and scores a new best with 1'21"620 in P1. Russell damages the rear of the car as he slips outside the track on the grass and crashes the rear into the barriers. Hamilton climbs to the P2 (+1.271) while Carlos Sainz tries one last time but in the last sector he meets a little traffic jam so decides to raise his foot and gives up the lap. Hamilton takes another chance for a new best. He is driving through the second sector and gets +0.718. However, he decides to raise his foot from the pedal and does not complete the lap, as is not improving. Verstappen and Sainz are trying for the last time. Max improves in the second sector, while Carlos goes faster in the first one and gets -0.184 in the second. Max crosses the finish line, improving his time of -0.321. Carlos tries his best but he completes the last sector in +0.797 in P2. Alonso is the last driver to cross the finish line. He is flying in the last two sectors and places his car in P2, overthrowing Sainz. The countdown stops and Q3 ends. Tomorrow Verstappen will start from P1.
"Not bad then. But it was a tricky condition".
Says to his team radio. Alonso (+0.645) is in P2, followed by Sainz (+0.797), Hamilton (+1.592), the 2 Haas, Magnussen (+1.661), and Schumacher (+2.067). Ocon is in P7 (+2.230) and at his behind, there is Russell (+2.258), Ricciardo (+2.450), and Zhou (+2.731). Verstappen jumps out of his car and goes to start his interview. A standing ovation starts for Fernando Alonso from the participants. Says a happy Max Verstappen:
"Today was simply lovely. The conditions were very tricky out there, it was very slippery, but we stayed calm, we made sure we were there at the right time and we managed to put in some solid laps. It's been a nice day and overall we're having a good weekend, it's a shame for Checo but hopefully he can make up the places tomorrow during the race. Tomorrow, we need to focus on the first lap and then concentrate on our own race, I still expect there to be a good battle. It's been a while since Fernando and I have been alongside each other on the grid, I used to look up to him as a young kid watching Formula One, with him being up there winning races and championships, so it's great to be sharing the front row with him".
Christian Horner finds Max’s performance in these conditions impressive, and explains what happened to Checo that made him to lose the chance to get through Q3:
"It was a very impressive qualifying from Max today and despite the conditions he was on top of the circuit through all three sessions. With the track drying out and ramping up like that towards the end it can be very tricky to make sure you get the best time in the bag, so it was a good job by the whole team to make sure we finished on pole. It was unfortunate for Checo, I think he just misjudged his breaking and ended up in the barrier. The car was wedged under the barriers and he just couldn't reverse out to get started again. But this is a track you can overtake on, so hopefully he can secure the team some solid points. It was a fantastic qualifying from Fernando and I'm sure he's going to be motivated for tomorrow, but Max has just got to focus on a clean start, getting ahead into the first corner and then pushing on. We are expecting a dry day tomorrow, so hopefully it should be a good race".
Fernando Alonso is extremely happy for his P2:
"It’s an amazing result for us to take second place today, so I’m feeling very pleased. It was impossible to know the grip levels on each lap in those conditions and that made it even more challenging. In the end, I think it’s a little bit unexpected to be on the front row, but it will be very nice to line-up there tomorrow. Let’s see if we can fight with Max [Verstappen] into turn one, though, that said, aiming to score strong points will be our main goal. The team deserves a big congratulations as they have been working flat out on updates and this is an example of this. It’ll be a long race in different conditions again, but I’m confident, so let’s see what we can do on the day".
Esteban Ocon is happy for the team’s results today, especially for Alonso:
"First of all, I’m delighted for the team and for Fernando today. He deserves to be starting on the front row after driving very a strong weekend so far. On my side, I feel slightly disappointed as more was probably on the table today in those conditions. We weren’t able to extract the performance that we know is there and I’ve felt a little bit off the pace all weekend. As always, we’ll continue the hard work with the engineers to find the marginal gains. Nevertheless, we have both cars in good positions on the grid for tomorrow and we’re in contention to score strong points for the team, which is most important".
Says Alpine’s Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, congratulating to Alonso for his P2:
"We can be very pleased with our Saturday effort today with both cars in the mix to score good points in tomorrow’s race. Congratulations to Fernando on securing second place in Qualifying. He’s driven superbly all weekend so far and now he’s fully focused on delivering a solid race to ensure he scores strong points for the team. Whenever there is rain in Formula 1, there’s always a chance for some drama, but, equally, that also brings big opportunities. The team and both drivers did a great job in executing a plan for all three qualifying sessions, making sure the cars were on track at the right time with the right tyres on in order to fight for high grid positions. Today, we’ve achieved that with Fernando’s front row and Esteban in seventh place. Tomorrow, we must remain focused on the race, plan a sensible strategy and put ourselves in contention to have both cars well inside the points".
Lewis Hamilton is extremely happy for today’s P4:
"Honestly, I feel amazing, so happy! P4! P4 has never felt so good to be honest. Maybe when I was like in my first year of racing, my first year here in 2007 when I got my first P4 in quali, it felt great then. I think this kind of feels like that, but particularly because it's been a really, really difficult year. We did a lot of work on the car overnight, we went in two different directions yesterday just to try and get the information. We have slightly different set ups for the race still, but we're in a great position so hopefully I can try and hold position at least. With this car you need everything, and more, to come together. You know what, I think this car works... I like to think that I've got rhythm and at this track, and particularly in this session you need to have rhythm. I feel like this car works on a completely different beat. It doesn't work on a normal beat and that's been difficult to get used to. The rain always open up opportunity and I love this track, while it's been a struggle so far this weekend and there's still a lot of work to do tomorrow, I hope all the team are feeling positive. My message to them is: please continue to push. We need you. I need you. We all are working as hard as we can, and I believe in them so much. I hope at some stage we can stop this bouncing and move forwards".
The teammate, George Russell, adds:
"Today was high risk, high reward - switching to Slicks was our only chance to get pole position today. It was literally just turn 1, had that been as dry as the other corners we could have been in a really good place. We showed some really strong pace today but as I said on the radio, I'm not here to settle for P4/P5, we need to try things and at the end of the day, points are tomorrow and I'm glad we tried something different. In Sochi last year, I made a similar gamble and it paid off to get P3 for Williams so I'm always open to making the switch, particularly as we've had worse qualifying sessions this year in normal circumstances. For tomorrow, we should be able to pass the cars around us, starting P8, and move back up to P4/P5. Obviously, we have Checo and Charles behind us fighting their way back through so I just need to make sure I get up there as soon as possible tomorrow".
Mercedes' Team Principal Toto Wolff recognises that today the equipe was highly competitive and they achieved the best they could - P4 and P8. On Hamilton, he finds that he made a good job but was unlucky as in Q3 he did not get the best condition of the track:
"We were pretty competitive in the wet conditions today and finishing P4 and P8 is below what we could have achieved. Lewis did a great job in Q3 to take P4 but unfortunately he was out of phase with the other cars and set his time one lap earlier, so he didn't get the track at its best condition. So potentially it could have been P2 when we look at the relative performance across the field. As for George, I loved the call he made today and it was worth rolling the dice. This is the moment when we can take risks and I'm up for bold calls like that - it could have been a hero moment but today it didn't work out. Looking to the race, we have a mixed up grid and a forecast of warmer, dry conditions - so there's going to be plenty of opportunities with the strategy and cars around us out of position".
Trackside engineering director at the Mercedes, Andrew Shovlin, explains that they struggled a bit with wet condtions during FP3 but both drivers are satisfied with their results:
"We had a tough time in wet conditions in the final practice session but both drivers seemed much happier with the car in qualifying itself having made some changes. Wet sessions are never straightforward and even less so when your car is off the pace, so we're pleased to be starting P4 with Lewis. We could have found a bit more time on the last run by saving the tyres for one big lap at the end but you never know if there is going to be a red or yellow flag so we can't be disappointed as it's a solid place to start from tomorrow. George took a bit of a gamble going to slicks, it was definitely a brave choice and whilst it didn't pay off today, it's great that he's prepared to take a few risks to get a shot at pole position. Conditions are expected to be very different tomorrow with hot and dry race. We were struggling with a lack of grip on Friday but we've changed a lot on the car so hopefully that's improved and we can have a strong race".
He expects dry conditions tomorrow. Since the team has worked on the lack of grip issues that they had yesterday, he expects a solid performance during the race. Daniel Ricciardo finds to be more competitive in wetter conditions and as the track dried, he struggled to use the rear tyres:
"Another Q3 is nice. When you get into Q3 and the top ten, to leave with ninth, part of me thinks it could have been better, but as the track dried we lost just a little bit of our advantage. Weirdly, I felt a bit more competitive in the wetter conditions, and then as it dried, trying to use the rears, we struggled maybe a little bit more to lean on the tyre. With that being said, I think it’s been a positive weekend so far. It’s definitely been a step in the right direction again. We really hit the ground running in both dry and wet conditions and we’ve been on the pace, showing some good signs. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when hopefully we can get a bit deeper into the points and end the weekend on a high. There’s maybe a few cars out of position as well, and you never know how that could sway the race. There’s potentially slower cars in front, but to be honest, there’s also a couple of quicker ones behind with Charles [Leclerc] and Sergio [Perez], so it could be an interesting race. I’m looking forward to it".
McLaren's Team Principal Andreas Seidl finds that today’s qualifying in mixed conditions was highly tricky:
"Qualifying at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was tricky today in mixed conditions, with rain at the start of Q1 and then a progressively drying track as the sessions went on. Unfortunately, we lost Lando early in Q2 with a power unit issue that prevented him setting a time – we are still investigating the cause. Daniel, however, did well to progress through to Q3 and will start the Canadian Grand Prix from ninth. Our focus now switches to tomorrow. We’re expecting a dry Sunday and, given the order after qualifying, everything is set for an exciting race. Our aim will be to progress and score good points with both cars".
Kevin Magnussen is extremely happy with team’s results, as both cars are in the top ten on the grid:
"It’s what we had hoped for. We’ve seen before in Imola that we like these conditions and we got the job done today. It was all about continuously putting in a better lap as the track was getting better and better, so you have to push all the time and it’s very enjoyable in these conditions. Mick did a great job as well to put it in P6, so we’re P5 and P6 tomorrow, that’s a great effort from the team and I’m very happy for them".
Mick Schumacher finds that even if it has been good result they still could have maximised their potentials:
“It was pretty good although we still didn’t maximize everything as that last set of tires turned out to be a bit more difficult in terms of positioning - we had to abort one lap due to traffic and everything got a bit cold, which I didn’t want. I’m still very happy with P6 and it’s a good position to start tomorrow’s race. I don’t envisage us going further forward, only because of the pace the other cars have around us, but we’ll try our best and see where we end up. It’s our best qualifying up to now and I’m very happy for the team".
Haas’ Team Principal Guenther Steiner feels pleased with P5 and P6 results:
"A very good day for the team today. As a team I think it’s our best combined qualifying position - both drivers did a good job - as did the whole team in very challenging and changeable conditions. Everyone kept calm and we got the best out if it, everything worked smoothly. A big thank you to the crew who worked during the night also, we broke curfew last night because we had to fix an issue on Kevin’s car - but that all worked out well. Now we really look forward to tomorrow and hopefully we can bring some points home".
Carlos Sainz is overall satisfied with today’s pace and result:
"Today we had good pace and overall it was a good qualifying given the tricky conditions. On the very last sector I felt it was a bit of an all or nothing situation and I pushed a bit too much at the last chicane. Unfortunately, it cost me the front row, but I’m not too disappointed, as it was a great battle to the very last moment, I had to go for it, and P3 for tomorrow is not a bad starting position on this track. The pace has been there all weekend and tomorrow we’ll give it everything we’ve got. It should be an interesting race and I’m really looking forward to it".
Laurent Mekies agrees with the general feeling that today was extremely complex due to evolving track conditions and the lack of Leclerc’s car in Q3, so with less information:
"It was a complex qualifying, because the track conditions were evolving all the time and, as from Q2, we were down to one car which meant we had less information to work from. Carlos drove well and, as a team, I think we made the right choices in terms of strategy and tyres. It was a shame he missed out on second place by a tenth, but track conditions were really tricky and it was difficult to put together a perfect lap. Well done to Max (Verstappen) who was simply quickest today. As for Charles, his day was less complicated but possibly rather more frustrating, as we called it a day after Q1 given that he starts from the back of the grid tomorrow. We decided to introduce new elements on his car - control electronics and power unit - thus incurring penalties, because we felt it was the best way to react to what happened in Baku. Here in Montreal, overtaking is less difficult than at other tracks, even if we saw on Friday that it’s not that straightforward".
In contrast to Baku’s circuit, overtaking is less diffucult on this track.
"Also, there are often incidents in this race such as Safety Cars or stoppages which could provide opportunities to move up the order. Charles is fired up to make up a record number of places".
Finally, he gives congratulations to Schumacher
"Finally, we would like to congratulate Mick Schumacher, from our Ferrari Driver Academy, for his excellent qualifying, the best of his Formula 1 career to date".
Zhou Guanyu is extremely happy for today’s qualifying session:
"I’m extremely happy to get into Q3, especially as it was my first time having a fully wet qualifying session on only my third rainy session overall, after Imola and FP3 today. From the moment I woke up this morning and saw the conditions, I knew that anything could happen. We’ve been often close to Q3 in the past, but I was not expecting to reach it here in Montreal, which is a completely new track for me".
He explains that they have been close to qualify in Q3 in the past races and he did not expect to do it today in Montreal, a track he has never driven on:
"Nevertheless, we’ve showed good pace and good progress during the season so far and this is the result. I enjoyed driving in these conditions, and with the added pressure for us drivers, because every little mistake could affect your performance. It was really tough out there today, the track was slippery and it was almost impossible to see the other drivers in front. I’m happy to have been able to give everything I got, my laps in Q3 have been a bit messy but I am glad to have extracted the full potential from the car. In terms of race pace, we have always been quite strong in the past in dry conditions, so we will try to give our best tomorrow and fight for a top ten finish".
Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur is overall satisfied with today’s performance, which will allow the team to score points with both cars:
"Today we delivered a good team performance in tricky conditions, and we have placed ourselves in a good position to score points with both cars, which is our objective every weekend. Zhou claimed his first Q3 with some really good driving, even more impressive given the track conditions. His was a display of maturity, proof of his continuous progression, and he can hopefully go on to have a good race tomorrow. Valtteri was unlucky with the timing in Q2: he was the first driver to start the final attempt and, with the track improving very quickly, the cars coming after him had a clear advantage. Still, we are starting with both drivers straddling the top ten: we are expecting drastically different conditions tomorrow, but our race pace in the dry is traditionally strong so we are confident we can fight for points with both cars".
Finally, Mario Isola explains that due to the regulations, the teams had an extra set of intermediates for FP3 in this weather conditions:
"With the risk of rain today identified, the drivers had an extra set of intermediates allocated for FP3 per the regulations. In qualifying, the track was ready for intermediates at the end of Q1, although the crossover point between full wets and intermediates was somewhat higher than we had anticipated. While the track dried reasonably quickly, it was inconsistent: with some parts fully wet, some parts damp, and other parts dry - leading to an exciting qualifying that really tested the skills of the drivers. As we have just one specification of full wets and intermediates homologated for the entire year, these tyres obviously have to be extremely adaptable to a very wide range of circumstances, including the unique conditions we saw here in Canada today. The wets and intermediates did exactly what was required here, with only one driver trying the slicks in Q3, but conditions were still too wet. It should be a very different story tomorrow, so now the teams have to make the most of the information obtained on Friday".
It Is Sunday and the sun shines at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, the temperature is 20 degrees and the track temperature 40 degrees. This means that the day is perfect for racing. This race is different from the others for the Ferrari team, as Charles Leclerc will start from the last position due to a Power Unit change. The Italian team will still try to earn the podium with Carlos Sainz, who starts from P3. Good for the Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton in fourth position after the struggles in Baku. Great performance in qualifying for Mick Schumacher who took the sixth position on the grid. Fernando Alonso, who on Saturday took the second position after an eccellent qualifying, said to the journalists that he wanted to lead the first lap of the race. But, when the race starts, Red Bull's Max Verstappen refuses to let it happen, immediately taking the lead over the Alpine. Behind them, Mick Schumacher loses his position and moves down to eighth, as he was quickly overtaken by Esteban Ocon and George Russell. Lewis Hamilton goes side-by-side with Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, causing wing damage to the Dane and bringing out a black-and-orange flag that forces him to enter the pits. Back to the front, Carlos Sainz manages to pass Alonso on lap 3 and is now ready to do the same with the leader Verstappen. But Red Bull Mexican driver Sergio Perez pulls up on Lap 8 with what probably is a gearbox issue, so is forced to retire and put an end to his unhappy adventure in Canada.
The Virtual Safety Car is enabled, so Verstappen pits to swap from medium to hards, emerging third, behind Sainz and Alonso who stayed out. Also Hamilton, Tsunoda and Latifi chose to do a pit stop. Meanwhile, Verstappen overtakes Alonso on lap 15 and takes the second position, while another Virtual Safety Car is called because Schumacher has pulled up in the same spot as Perez on Lap 20. This allows Sainz, Russell, Zhou, Ocon, Vettel and the two McLarens of Ricciardo and Norris to pit. Bad pit stop for Mclaren: the team is slow with Ricciardo, and the fact to let both the drivers in worsens the problem, as Norris’s tyres are not ready and he emerges last. On lap 21, Charles Leclerc is up to seventh position after passing Valtteri Bottas’s Alfa Romeo into Turn 13; he also opted not to pit under both Virtual Safety Cars after starting on hards. It Is to add that the Monegasque complained of a lack of grip, and the Ferrari team had trimmed the rear wing off his car to improve his straight-line speed. Carlos Sainz pits under the second Virtual Safety Car, and by lap 25 the order is Verstappen, Sainz and Hamilton, while Fernando Alonso Is now fourth ahead of Russell. Verstappen runs in the lead with a comfortable detachment from the others of 8 seconds, while Alpine let Alonso in on Lap 28, and he emerges behind Leclerc in seventh position. On Lap 35, Verstappen leads Sainz by 8 seconds, who was himself 8 seconds ahead Hamilton in third place. Russell is 10 seconds back ahead of Ocon, who is managing to keep back Leclerc, with Alonso and Bottas running in the top eight. Behind, there is an exciting battle between Stroll, Zhou, Tsunoda and Ricciardo.
Almost everyone, at this point of the race, is experimenting tyre degradation. Only Leclerc, Stroll and Bottas are yet to stop, while those who stopped under the Lap 8 VSC are having difficulties and the teams wonder if they can run with the same tyres until the end, or is required another stop. Verstappen is called to pit again on lap 43, emerging side by side with his 2021 rival Hamilton, and passes him taking the second position. Hamilton then immediately pits, followed by teammate Russell a lap later. Leclerc finally pits on Lap 41, but the team is slow, so emerges behind the Stroll-Zhou-Tsunoda-Ricciardo fight. With new tyres he makes short work of those drivers. Tsunoda is called into the pits on lap 47. But when he emerges on hard tyres, goes straight into the Turn 2 wall, bringing out a Safety Car. ThIs is favourable for Sainz, who is able to take a stop and hold his second position. Double pit-stop for the Alpines of Ocon and Alonso, the Alfas of Bottas and Zhou, and Ricciardo and Albon. The Safety Car goes out on lap 55, and the leader Max Verstappen runs away after Turn 13. He quickly tries to pull a gap to Sainz to escape the DRS range, while Hamilton is still third, showing good pace in that Mercedes W13 who made him unhappy during Friday’s free practice. Lap after lap, Sainz tries to overtake Verstappen’s Red Bull. The Spaniard tries everything but fails to stop the reigning World Champion, who sweeps across the line at the end of Lap 70 for his sixth win of the season. This is also his fifth win in the last six races, while Red Bull won the last six Grands Prix.
After a difficult start to this season, it is to say that Carlos Sainz has done a good race in Canada. The same for Lewis Hamilton, who takes the third place, gaining the first podium of the season, while teammate Russell ends fourth, mantaining his record of finishing in the top five in the opening nine races this year. Leclerc has done a great work: he started last and ended fifth, while Red Bull's Perez failed to score. Fernando Alonso was passed by his teammate in the closing stages of the race, but was told by the team he has been 100 times faster this weekend. However It was Ocon himself who gave Alpine the best finish of the year. Fernando Alonso is given a five-second time penalty after the end by the stewards, dropping him from seventh to ninth. In fact, he was seen to be weaving on the straight on the penultimate lap, as he defended from Bottas’ Alfa Romeo. The Spaniard was found to have changed direction more than once while defending a position, so the stewards decided to penalise him. Bottas takes the eighth position, one place up on Zhou Guanyu, while Lance Stroll gives the home fans something to cheer about with a point earned for his tenth place. McLaren ended outside the point area: Ricciardo P11 and Norris P15. Vettel is twelfth ahead of Albon and Gasly, while Haas’ Magnussen has been unable to recover from the early pit stop that ruined the team’s chance of taking points: they do not manage to do so since Imola. Verstappen led from the first lap. For a little he was behind Sainz after opting to pit earlier than him but soon regained the lead when the Ferrari driver pitted. At the end, he drove the last 10 laps without mistakes, gaining the victory:
"The weekend went pretty smoothly for me, and we can be happy with that. Overall the Ferraris were very quick and strong in the race. It was really exciting at the end; the last two laps were a lot of fun, I was flat-out racing and I was giving it everything I had. The safety car towards the end of the race of course didn’t help, Carlos had fresher tyres so that made it difficult, I would have preferred to attack than defend, but luckily it worked out. Also, this year we seem to be quick on the straights so that helps a lot. The next race is Silverstone, I’m looking forward to going back to the more traditional tracks. We have to keep focused as a team and find improvements wherever we can".
His team mate Sergio Perez had a bad afternoon. He parked up down at Turn 8 with a suspected gearbox problem for his second DNF of the season:
"We think it was a gearbox issue and I got stuck in gear unfortunately. Things were looking good, I had a good start, I was on the hard tyre and making progress. I had finally got Daniel in the McLaren out of the DRS zone and it should have been a race where I could have worked my way through the field, so it’s a big shame. I felt I had plenty of potential in my race to make up a lot of places and recover good points. We need to keep on top of the reliability because a zero, when you are fighting for the Championship, is very painful and costly. You go into new regulations and there is always going to be new problems to face. Today hurts a lot, it has been a weekend to forget for me, so I want to forget about today and move onto Silverstone".
It is satisfied the Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner, even if in his words there is a little bitterness for Perez’ race:
"Max was amazing today, he was under so much pressure, particularly at the end of the race, he’s been superb all weekend - every session through practice, qualifying and then the race. The Ferrari was very quick today, with the DRS zones the way they are here he couldn’t break it and Carlos was cruising up to the back of him and you could see them recharging their battery to have another go time-after-time, but Max kept his concentration really well and it was an absolutely amazing performance. It was a frustrating weekend for Checo and we think he had a suspected gearbox issue, so we’ll need to get the car back and have a look at what happened. It’s exciting to now head towards Silverstone".
After having overtaken Alonso, Carlos Sainz ran second. But then, a pit under the late Safety Car left him right on Verstappen’s tail in the closing stages. He followed the Red Bull driver very closely, never letting him escape but to he still came home second:
"That was a solid race and an intense battle with Max (Verstappen) to the line. The pace was very good during the entire race, but unfortunately we lost the lead after the last Safety Car. From there, I gave it my all to pass the Red Bull, but to overtake here you need a bit more than two or three extra tenths. Even though I’m disappointed at not getting the win, there are many positives to take from Canada. We were the fastest on track today and I felt much better in the car, being able to push constantly throughout the race. Now we need to build momentum and carry this feeling onto the next race. Next stop, Silverstone".
Leclerc started from the back of the field, but recovered some positions. He lost a lot of time behind Ocon and then because of a slow pit stop, but he came home fifth thanks to some good overtakes:
"I gave it my all. It never feels good to finish in P5, but considering where we started and the way that the race unfolded, it was the best result we could bring home today. The first part of the race was quite frustrating, as we were stuck behind a DRS train, so it was all about practicing patience. After our pit stop, we came back out behind another DRS train and started fighting our way back up. This part was much more fun, because I had to be quite aggressive to make it work. It was just one of those races where you had to maximize the points and that’s exactly what we did today. I'm looking forward to Silverstone now. It’s one of my favourite circuits on the calendar and hopefully we can score some big points there".
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s Team Principal, focuses on the reliability problems the cars had, which the team is going to fix:
"We came into this weekend knowing it would be a case of damage limitation, given we would have one car at the back of the grid and we came away from it having closed the gap slightly in the Constructors’ classification, after a race that demonstrated that reliability problems can affect everyone in the current Formula 1. We have some of these issues and, back in Maranello, we are working flat out to fix them definitively. Charles did his very best, making up 14 places from the back row to finish fifth. Carlos drove a great race, which demonstrated just how much confidence he now has in the car. Now we head to Silverstone, where we expect our rivals to introduce some updates, but we certainly intend to be competitive there".
Both Mercedes were quick in Canada. Russell climbed back through the field from the eighth position. He finds the car’s pace very similar to that of the Red Bulls and Ferraris:
"I had total confidence we'd have been able to carve our way past the Haases and the Alpines. We were certainly concerned that Leclerc and Checo would be able to come through and we were fortunate enough to keep them behind us. Ultimately our race pace was closer to Ferrari and Red Bull than we've seen all season, but we've had performance issues and they haven't. Everything is easier in hindsight and I probably would have liked to have pitted under the first VSC but at the end of the day, I don't think it would have changed my finishing result. The pace was really strong in the first stint, on the second stint it was strong, and the final stint after the restart, I don't know why but I just couldn't get my tyres working. So that was a bit of a shame, to drop back slightly and not be in the fight. Nevertheless, P4, good points for the Team and it's great to be back on the podium as Mercedes".
Lewis Hamilton took the second podium of the season, for which he thanks the team’s perseverance:
"It's quite overwhelming honestly, to get this third place. It's been such a battle this year with the car as a Team, but we continue to stay vigilant, focused and never giving up. That's something I'm so proud of and I remain inspired by my crew so thank you, to everyone who's here in Montreal and back at the factory. The guys are the front are a little bit quick for us at the moment, I was giving it everything, but we're getting closer. We've just got to keep pushing and keep pushing and hopefully we'll be in the fight with these guys. I could just about see them in the end thanks to the Safety Car! Honestly, our pace was quite good, particularly in the second phase of the stint. We did a lot of work, back in the simulator but also here to get the set up right. So honestly, I'm ecstatic. I think, as I said, I didn't expect this coming into the weekend. This is my second podium of the year, and it was really special. Especially where I got my first Grand Prix win! I love it here in Montreal so big thank you to all the Canadians".
Mercedes‘ Team Principal Toto Wolff is satisfied:
"Montreal has always been a happy place for Lewis and today he was really good, with a car that was a handful so we can be quietly satisfied. The race pace was good, particularly when the tyres started to degrade - Max and Carlos actually came towards us and that was nice to see. After a bold gamble yesterday which left him further down the grid, George made smart overtakes at the start and then showed good pace to bring the result home behind Lewis. The past two weekends have showed the collective spirit of the team to extract a solid haul of points, even if we lack the pace to be challenging the guys at the front".
Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin talks about the car’s pace and the good race done by the drivers:
"It's a good result for the team to come away with another third and fourth place and encouraging that the underlying pace looked a better than in Baku. Both drivers had a good race. Lewis had a very solid drive to the podium; we didn't quite have the pace of Max or Carlos but most of the time, it felt that we were just missing two or three tenths which will spur us all on to work to close that gap. George also surprised us with his ability to pick cars off in the first stint. We'd opted for a big wing on his car going into qualifying to see what we could do in the wet conditions yesterday but expected it to be a liability in the race. However, he was able to use it to attack into the corners and made good progress through the field back to fourth. It's really hard to know what to expect coming to each track with this car but we certainly maximised the opportunity today and we've learnt a bit more about the car. The team in Brackley and Brixworth will continue to push hard, there's lots to improve on the car but that can be translated into potential and the race today has given us more encouragement to keep pushing to close that gap".
As for Alpine, Fernando Alonso did not manage to pass Verstappen in the first corner. He ran second, but then became third then fourth, while the team chosed not to pit the Spaniard under the two VSC. For this, when he came in he dropped down the field:
"I think this weekend we deserved better than ninth position, but it’s still good for both cars to score points in the end. We ultimately lost a big opportunity to fight for a potential podium as I felt like I had the pace to do so. We were hit with a badly timed VSC just before our first stop. I was on the main straight when it was deployed, and then missed a pit-stop opportunity before it ended. We then had an engine problem from lap 20, which we were trying to manage. We didn’t retire the car and used the DRS to defend, as we were losing a lot of time on the straights. It’s disappointing especially after yesterday’s performance, but we’ll head to Silverstone, try to get on top of our reliability issues and score more points".
Ocon kept Leclerc’s Ferrari behind for a number of laps. After pitting under the Safety Car, the Frenchman found himself ahead of his team mate; they both lost out to Leclerc but Ocon dropped back to ensure Alonso had DRS in his fight with the Alfa Romeos:
"I’m very happy with the result today to score eight points. The team did a great job with the car and the strategy and it was all well managed overall. We leave Canada with some good points for the team and a big step up in the Constructors’ Championship. I’m glad I was able to help Fernando at the end there with DRS to keep Valtteri [Bottas] behind. There is still a lot to discuss and learn with regards to how the weekend unfolded, but the important thing is to keep this momentum going and keep delivering good performances in the next races".
Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal, after discussing about the drivers‘ performance, talks about his expectations fort he future and the Constructors‘ World Championship:
"The team leaves Canada feeling proud after scoring good points in today’s race with Esteban sixth and Fernando ninth after a post-race penalty. Even after such a strong Saturday, we entered the race today with a realistic mindset and we knew scoring multiple points with both cars and swinging the momentum in the championship was the absolute goal. Fernando was certainly very unfortunate with the deployment timing of both VSCs early in the race and he also had a small issue on his car, which held him back from making further progress. Esteban benefitted from a bright start to the race and executed his plan well to progress to sixth at the end, with his clever, team-minded driving to allow Fernando DRS in the closing stages, the key to cementing our final positions. We’ve demonstrated our ability this weekend and we look forward to the next string of car updates for the next round with the objective of fighting further up the grid".
Valtteri Bottas started on the hard compound tyre and made it last long enough to stop under the Safety Car. Both cars came home with points and pushed the Alpines hard in the fight for the Championship behind the top teams:
"We can be pleased with today’s race, especially with the pace we have shown throughout the afternoon. It’s always good to get double points, particularly after a couple of difficult races, but the most important thing was to see that we could fight the cars around us and that we are back at the level we had at the start of the season. My race was quite straightforward: I started on the hard tyre and then everything went perfectly for me. The timing of the Safety Car was ideal, I was like ‘happy days!’ It felt really good to be out there, and I’m happy for Zhou as well. He had strong pace and he can take a lot of confidence from this weekend".
Zhou Guanyu is happy for his race and is looking forward to continuing in this vein:
"It’s been a pretty good weekend for me and for the team, and I am really happy with P8 as it’s my best finish in F1 so far. Today we did everything correctly on track and with the strategy: we got stuck behind Lance for a while, but nevertheless we had clean, fast progress over the weekend. We extracted everything we could and got the full potential out of the car, and finishing in the Top 10 after a sequence of frustrating races is a nice reward. I obviously didn’t have much experience on this track, but we got the job done in tricky conditions yesterday and today we had strong pace: I knew that we would be able to fight for points, and we did. I am super happy for the everyone here and back at the factory, we really deserved this result for the work done and the progress achieved over the past few weeks. I’m really looking forward to continuing in this vein in the next races".
Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur is pleased with the team’s performance:
"We achieved a really good result as a team and we can be really pleased with our performance. Both Valtteri and Zhou executed their races well and were able to bring home their cars in the points, which is a nice reward after a few tough weekends. It shows the spirit of this team, we didn’t let our heads drop and we came back fighting here in Canada. I can’t fault either of the drivers for their races, they were solid and didn’t do mistakes: Valtteri was able to make the most of the timing of the Safety Car and Zhou delivered a very mature performance to get back in the points. The crew performed when they were called to the fore, such as with the double-stacked pit-stop - this is a true team result and it gives us a lot of confidence as we continue our fight in the midfield".
As for Aston Martin, Vettel stopped very early on for new tyres. Then, he pitted again but managed to make his second set of hard tyres last 51 laps:
"It just was not our day. We made an early stop to find some clear air, but then the Virtual Safety Cars came along at the wrong time. That really compromised my race. At the end, I was on very old rubber and I tried to hang on, but it did not work out. Lance was on fresher tyres, and the team asked me to let him past to attack Daniel, which I was happy to do. The result was frustrating – we had shown good pace this weekend and could have had a better result, but sometimes things do not go your way. Today felt like one of those days. Well done to the team for all their hard work and to Lance for scoring a point today".
Stroll followed a different strategy; he did not pit under the Safety Car and this choice was good for him, who one-stopped his way to the tenth position and came home with a point:
"We had a great strategy for this race and I am super-pleased to have been able to score a point. We did a great job deciding to go long on the first set of tyres to make a one-stop race work, managing to keep a string of cars behind me. The overtake on Daniel [Ricciardo] was a nice bonus - we were on fresher tyres so it was a pretty easy move. Things are certainly a lot more challenging this year, but I am pleased to have had a successful race today. Finally, a big thank you to all the fans for giving me such a fantastic reception all weekend - it has been incredible to race at home after such a long time away".
Mike Krack, Team Principal, expresses his thoughts about the race:
"On paper, 10th position for Lance feels like scant reward for a long, hard weekend and a race that was tricky to manage from start to finish. But that point does not tell the whole story: Lance drove patiently, managing an extremely long first stint on the Hard tyre to keep a train of cars behind him. He was unleashed at the end and deserved that final point – helped in part by Sebastian, who graciously moved aside to let him attack Daniel. Sebastian also drove a fine, measured race. Starting towards the back stacks things against you, and his strategy was not helped by the pair of VSCs in the early laps, but, ultimately, I think we worked well as a team today. We got the best out of a tricky set of strategic options, executed some solid pit-stops and we go home encouraged by the burgeoning pace of our car".
Bad day for McLaren. Ricciardo did a slow pit stop which dropped him out of the points area, and then second stop under the Safety Car could not help him recover through the field:
"Unfortunately, not the best Sunday for us. We simply didn’t have the pace, and then had to manage a few other things as well. That was tough, it just put us too far out of contention. So, otherwise, we’ve got to have a look, see where we can go better, and then just clean a few things up".
Also Norris had a slow stop, which dropped him to the back of the field:
“We were unlucky today in many places, and also just didn’t have the pace to race and overtake the people we wanted to race against. It was very difficult to overtake in general and that hurt our pace. We simply couldn’t get into the positions we wanted to be in. I think the pace wasn’t too bad, still not good enough, but not too bad, just the fact we couldn't overtake, hurt us badly today. We’ve got work to do. There were mistakes from my side, mistakes from the team’s behalf and we’ll just need to step back, refresh, go again and do a much better job in the next one".
Andreas Seidl talks about this disastrous weekend and then looks forward tot he home race in Silverstone:
"A very disappointing Sunday afternoon for us here in Montréal. It’s been a tough weekend in general, with the car lacking pace, having reliability issues and suffering an operational issue in the double-shuffle pitstop during the Virtual Safety Car period. We have to acknowledge our competitors did a better job and therefore we didn't deserve points today. We didn’t give Lando or Daniel the package they deserved today, so we have to offer them an apology. My thanks to our team here at the track, back in the factory and our colleagues at HPP for their efforts over the whole of this long-haul double-header. We also have to use this as an opportunity to learn, and come back stronger in two weeks for our home race at Silverstone".
Albon was running tenth, in the points area, but then he did not manage to keep quicker cars behind because of some struggles with rear grip:
"Going into this weekend, we knew this track was going to be difficult and despite our good qualifying, in the first 3-4 laps I could tell it was going to be a struggle. I think P13 was all we could have achieved today so at face value; I am quite happy with it. Going into the next stint of races, hopefully we can make these upgrades and continue to improve on this".
This was the home race for Latifi, but after a slow pit stop, he spent much of the afternoon being lapped:
"The overall experience of the weekend has been pretty special. It’s great to finally have my first home race and the support I felt from my family, friends and all the fans in the grandstands was amazing. In terms of on track, we were lacking a lot of pace and we need to try to understand why in both high and low fuel. We have two weeks now to try and do a bit of analysis before heading to Silverstone. Regardless of the result, this weekend has been one to remember".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, comments on the race:
"It was always going to be difficult to hang on to what we earnt yesterday, and we didn’t have the pace to hold off the quicker cars that started behind us. However, we did have a good race with Gasly and Norris and we were close to Vettel and Ricciardo at the end too. Like last weekend, the timing of the virtual safety car was not good for Alex, but he kept his head down and made the best of it. Similar to Alex, Nicholas struggled to find pace during the race despite his best efforts. As a team it was great to be a part of Nicholas’ first home race and experience the support from the fans. We needed a little more basic car pace to be able to really race for points and everyone in Grove is working very hard to deliver that to the track as soon as possible".
Pierre Gasly pitted very early, so found himself missing out on stopping in the VSC period; for this reason, he dropped to the back of the field and did not manage to recover:
"Starting the race out of position we thought we’d go for a different strategy, so we pitted a bit earlier, but it didn’t really make much of a difference. We were struggling a lot with grip, sliding around a lot in these conditions, and we just didn’t have the pace to fight in the top 10. We will have to analyse everything, but objectively we were just too slow in the race. Likewise, we didn’t get lucky with the Virtual Safety Car, but at the end of the day it wouldn’t have changed our end result that much. We need to use the gap now to work out what we could’ve done better, so we can arrive in Silverstone as best prepared as possible".
Bad race for Yuki Tsunoda who, exiting from the pits, went straight on into the barriers at Turn 2, because he was pushing too hard on cold tyres:
"I’ve already been to the garage to apologise to all the team, I just pushed too much on pit exit and unfortunately I went into the wall. The pace was good today, and we’d made a strong recovery up until that point, even if it was hard to overtake, so I’m disappointed with that ending".
AlphaTauri Technical Director, Jody Egginton, defines the race disappointing as the team lost some ground in the midfield battle:
"Starting from last on the grid due to the PU change, Yuki put in a strong stint for the first half of the race and managed his tyres well. He was able to get into a position within a shout of scoring points but unfortunately, he went off soon after exiting the pits, following his second stop, and ended his race on the spot. We opted for a very early first stop with Pierre, to try and give him some free air, this put him out of phase with some cars around him and additionally the VSC's did not fall well for him. This made his progress more challenging and, with the balance on his first set of hard tyres not being great, it was not possible to make enough progress to get into a point scoring position today. This result means we have lost some ground in the midfield battle and we need to come back strong in the next race to recover".
Kevin Magnussen damaged his front wing when he was running side-by-side with Hamilton on the opening lap, so went back to the pits for a new nose. This dropped him to the back of the field:
"We were forced to pit with the damage we had but it was nothing. The car was perfect to drive, there was no effect on the car. This is normal, you’ve got to be able to finish the race with some scratches on your car. We could’ve got back in, but we were forced to pit and then there was a virtual safety car and then everyone else pitted. It’s frustrating - it’s now four races or something where we haven’t scored points, so we want to get into the points again".
Mick Schumacher was in a strong position until he parked up down at Turn 8 with a mechanical issue:
"We had a PU issue which is obviously very unfortunate as I think we were having a good race up until that point - the feeling of the car was great and the pace was not too bad either. We can take away that the pace yesterday and even today was strong, so it’s all to play for in Silverstone. I feel like we built the cake but we just didn’t get to put the frosting on it".
Guenther Steiner is not satisfied about this Sunday:
"Not what we wanted today. Kevin’s race was over when he had to change front wing. Mick was fighting really hard and was getting into the groove but something on the PU let go and that was his day done. Obviously, when you’re dead last it’s just very hard to recover, so we ended up where we ended up".
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, talks about the teams’ strategies during the race:
"It was nice to see our new 18-inch tyres providing close competition in Canada all the way down the grid, delivering some hard-fought battles. The same strategy but slightly different timings for Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz set up a thrilling fight to the finish, in which they were able to follow each other right to the flag. The P Zero medium and hard tyres allowed all the drivers to push to the maximum from start to finish, enabling a duel for victory and a brilliant fightback from the bottom of the grid for Charles Leclerc".
Now it is Max Verstappen to lead the World Championship, 46 points ahead of team mate Sergio Perez. In third position, with three points of detachment, there is Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. All the eyes are now on Silverstone, site of the British Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday, June 3. Last year there was the famous controversy after Verstappen and Hamilton collided. So the question is: what kind of things will the 2022 British Grand Prix serve up?