Stage set for epic battle in Montreal after Silver Arrows edge tight qualifying battle. Lewis Hamilton took his 53rd Formula One pole position today – his fifth at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Nico Rosberg completed a fourth Silver Arrows front row lockout of the season in P2 – less than a tenth shy of his team-mate. Both drivers completed two runs in Q1, Q2 and Q3, using the UltraSoft Pirelli tyre compound throughout.
That’s not necessarily the way you want it to turn out, getting pole without a real battle on the final lap – but you take it whatever way it comes! I think there was more time to be found out there but I’m happy to have done enough on that first run. This always tends to be a good track for me. It’s all about braking and since I was a kid I’ve always been last of the late brakers, so I guess that’s why it’s always suited my style and why I’m strong in sector one in particular. It’s such a great track to drive – like a Formula One kart track, with the high speeds and the way you’re jumping over the kerbs. It’s always special coming back here as it’s where I won my first Grand Prix – plus the fans are incredible. Every year, without fail, they turn up in their thousands and create a great atmosphere at the track and in the city itself. In terms of the race, it’s going to be tight. I need to study hard tonight to get myself back to where I was yesterday, as I didn’t actually feel quite as strong in the car today. I was killing it out there yesterday – but I lost a bit of feel with the setup changes I made for today. I wasn’t always able to put the car exactly where I wanted, which means you have to step back and not quite push to the limit. Ferrari look strong on the long runs so we’ ll need to be on our toes.
Even if I just missed out on pole, the front row is still a good position to start the race tomorrow. Today, Lewis was just a little bit quicker on the first flying lap, so I gave it an extra push on the second run to close the gap – but I got it wrong and had a lockup at the first corner. With no time for a second lap, that was the chance gone. Nevertheless, there will be a few opportunities to overtake Lewis in the race. I’ve made some good starts recently which is a positive – and also with tyre strategy it could be worth trying something different. It should be exciting either way, as the weather forecast is interesting for tomorrow. I’m excited in any case. Canada is always a special one, so I can’t wait for the race.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
A very close qualifying session with less than a tenth between Lewis and Nico – and Vettel just a little more than a tenth behind them. Ferrari were ramping up their game through qualifying, we could see that, but our guys just kept stepping up as well. Sometimes on a Saturday, we see the results from FP3 and have some concerns about the pace – and today it took a while to understand how to best prepare the ultra-soft tyres for the timed lap. But then the boys both push each other to dig deeper and find the performance when it really counted. It was a mega performance from both of them and another great pole for Lewis. Looking to the race, if it rains then the result of qualifying is not really relevant for what will unfold. But, if it stays dry, I think we can expect a very close race with both Ferrari and Red Bull. Whatever happens, it’s Canada – so we know it will be exciting and unpredictable right to the finish.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1